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Study Abroad

Become a citizen of the world! Computer Science majors are allowed and encouraged to study abroad for a semester or a even a whole year.  Study abroad is managed through the Office of International Programs (OIP). See specifically the Study Abroad Program page. 

Planning Your Study Abroad

Study abroad comes in several flavors, each with a distinct application process. These are explained on the OIP page but here we give the basic details. 

Occasionally Princeton has a direct exchange program with a school in a specific subject. This type of exchange may involve an application to Princeton's OIP office or to the foreign university. This type of exchange is not common in Computer Science. Another option is to apply to a foreign university directly as a foreign student and then separately apply to OIP to approve your choice of university. A third option is to apply to a foreign university through a Study Abroad program which is hosted by another American school. This also involves a separate application to OIP.

Princeton Computer Science Majors have studied abroad recently at:

Brian Kernighan  (room 311 bwk@cs.princeton.edu) is the departmental representative for pre-majors, non-majors and study abroad.  Schedule an appointment with him to review your plan.

Course Credit

Courses taken abroad usually count towards your overall Princeton course requirements (31 courses for AB and 36 for BSE).  They can also replace Computer Science departmentals in some cases, if approved by the Computer Science departmental representative.

If independent work is involved (e.g., for AB juniors), you will need to find a faculty advisor here, either as the direct advisor or as someone to assess work done for someone at the far end.  

Other Considerations

If you plan to study abroad, it's best to start planning early.  Some upper-level computer science courses are only offered during either the fall or the spring, so going abroad during one of these semesters effectively means you cannot take the course during that calendar year.  In general, both OIP and the Computer Science Department try to be as flexible as possible in approving your curriculum, but it never hurts to get things figured out early.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Should I take a semester abroad?

Answer:Quite possibly. Princeton alumni 10 years past graduation look back on their study abroad as one of the best parts of their undergraduate experience.

Answers follow; you can infer the corresponding questions.


The list of schools above is only a sample; many others are possible.

The most common semesters are junior fall and spring; sophomore spring and senior fall are possible (though a senior AB would have to plan thesis work very carefully).

At most two courses can count as CS departmentals in a semester, and only one as a track (e.g., theory).

We do not give CS credit for courses that look like courses in other Princeton departments that we would have credited if you took them at Princeton. For example, you can count ORF 309 as a CS departmental, but not an ORF 309 lookalike at another school.

CS courses have to be pre-approved by the CS dep rep, but as a practical matter, what you find on the ground in a faraway place is often not what was in the catalog when you were choosing. We can almost always work through this. Non-CS courses have to be approved by the corresponding department at Princeton.

You can do IW abroad, and if you're an AB, you have to. You can either find someone there to supervise and give us a report at the end, or you can be supervised by remote control from here. The former is probably better if you can manage it. If you're a BSE, it might be easier to finesse by not doing IW while abroad, but don't let bureaucratic considerations stop you from taking advantage of a good opportunity.

Your grades are converted into "T for transfer" by Princeton, and are not used in computing GPA, honors, and the like.

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