Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Religion students…

  • Gain exposure to different cultural contexts in which the religions the student is studying are practiced
  • Improve and acquire foreign language skills
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Gain primary research skills from field studies or work with primary sources
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Religion department?

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with local students
  • Field study program with opportunities to engage in research with the local community
  • Program that offers an opportunity for independent study research
  • Program that offers an opportunity for an internship or experiential learning embedded in an academic course as part of the program

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Religion prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • Develop language skills
  • Build networks abroad and a foundation for post-graduate opportunities, such as Fulbright and other grants and fellowships
  • Engage in research projects that give the students ideas and possibly preliminary material for their senior theses
  • Provide opportunities for depth and breadth of study beyond what is available locally

Which requirements can Religion majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit
  • Research that can be used for Senior Thesis, if IRB approved
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Religion Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First-year students should take any 100 or 200-level religion course open to first-year students.
  • Religion majors should complete a significant amount of work in the major prior to off-campus studies including at least one course related to the religions of the country they intend to study.
  • Religion majors should enroll in at least one 300-level religion course at Whitman by the end of their junior year, regardless of whether they study off campus or not.

Credit Limitations

The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Religion major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Religion department?

There are many possible OCS programs that would be fruitful for a religion major.  The department recommends that you focus on a location where the religions of interest to you are practiced.

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.