When is the best time to start preparing to study abroad?

It is NEVER TOO EARLY to start preparing for your international experience.  We recommend starting to prepare at least two semesters before you travel.  This will give you enough time to talk to your adviser and professors to make a plan of the courses you wil need to take while you’re abroad.  We recommend sitting down with your adviser as early as possible to figure out not only where to go abroad, but when to go abroad.

How do I get started in the study abroad process?

The easiest way to start planning an overseas education experience is to look through our partner university brochures on Terra Dotta, our online application portal.  Click on one of the schools that looks interesting. Now, here is the hard part.

Figure out the qualities of your host university that are important to you.  Have you always been interested in a specific country?  Do you want to live in a city?  What do you want your housing situation to be?  Is your biggest concern staying on track for your degree?  When searching for a university, we suggest keeping these qualities in mind and weighing the pros and cons of each university.

When searching for a university, one of the most common difficulties is making your course schedule.  When you have found a potential university, go to the course catalog or course schedule sections of the University’s web page. Look for the courses you need to take and see if they are being offered at the time you wish to travel abroad. If there is a match, come to the Office of International Programs, located in the Ben Parker Student Center, and we will help you get started.

For a step by step process in how to go abroad, see the Steps to Going Abroad page.

Where can I find information about particular universities?
Our Partner Schools page contains a list of all of our partners, organized by geographic region. This page contains links to each University’s international page. On most of these pages, you can find information about their application, housing, activities, culture, courses, and more. These pages can be invaluable in your search for choosing a location.
Will Overseas Study affect my GPA?
No, all courses taken abroad are considered pass/fail and therefore do not affect your GPA. The credit earned replaces the Mines equivalent course (for example EGGN xxx).

See the following question for more information on the transfer process.

How do classes taken abroad transfer back to Mines?
Transfers are pre-approved via the Prior Approval Form. See the Applications & Forms page for more information regarding this from

To transfer credits from your host university, you will need to have an official transcript from the registrar of your host university mailed directly to the Mines registrar.  This transcript MUST come from your host university, you cannot mail it yourself.   You will only receive credit for the course if you receive an equivalent “C” or better and the course is applicable to your degree plan.  *If your host university has a different grading scale, check with the registrar to see what grade you need to receive credit for the class.

What is the difference between a study abroad program and an exchange program?
A study abroad program means that you would not pay Mines tuition. Instead, you pay tuition to the host university. Outside scholarships may or may not apply to this type of agreement.

An exchange program must be done through a Mines partner university. In an exchange program, you pay Mines tuition as if you were attending Mines. (All scholarships and financial aid apply.)

How can I ensure that I do not fall behind when I study abroad?
The best way to make sure you do not fall behind is to plan, plan, plan.  Once you have established what semester you are studying abroad, pinpoint the classes that are essential for staying on track.  These are classes that act as prerequisites to future classes that would cause you to fall behind.  (For example: In Chemical Engineering, a student MUST take Mass and Energy Balances before the fall semester.)
When is the best time to study overseas?
That depends on your vision for studying overseas. Do you want to study for a year or a semester? Do you want to become fluent in a language? How far are you in your Mines academic program?

The best time to study overseas also depends on your major.  Talk to your academic advisor to ask when a good time to study abroad.  For many majors, the best time to study abroad is in their sophomore year. Others choose to spend one semester during the junior yea, and even a few students have gone abroad in the semesters just before graduation.

The academic calendars of our partners do not always coincide with the Mines academic calendar. For example in the U.K. and Spain, exams are taken after Christmas and late in June, making either a year-long program or a second semester program the easiest for Mines students. The first semester in Australia and New Zealand begins in July and runs until late November so it could interfere with a field session a student needed to take.

The time to begin planning is during the second semester of your first year at Mines but it is hardly ever too late to include an education abroad experience.

Do I need to register for classes at Mines for the semester I am abroad?
YES!  Register for a full load at Mines, this will ensure that you are still a student of the Colorado School of Mines.  We will drop you from your classes before the start of the semester you will be abroad.
What about passports, visa, and travel?
It is your responsibility to obtain a passport, visa, and plane ticket.  It is important to be aware of the visa regulations for your host country in advance of your departure.  This information can be found on the consulate website for your host country.  In some cases, travel is required to obtain your visa.
What about scholarships and financial aid?
State and federal financial aid may be used for study overseas. Most scholarships can be applied to exchange programs. Contact Us for more specific information.


Mines International Office
924 16th Street
Green Center, Suite 219
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401

Office Hours
Monday through Friday, 9:00 - 11:30 and 1:30 - 4:00

David Wright, Assistant Provost for International Affairs
(303) 384-2120 /dwright1@mines.edu

Mary Cook, Director and Manager of Student Mobility-Outbound/Inbound
(303) 384-2121 /marycook@mines.edu

Main Office Phone and Email
(303) 273-3210 / abroad@mines.edu