Petition Information

Columbia-Approved and Columbia-Led Programs offer a broad range of learning opportunities. They meet Columbia’s standards for academics and student support services. Petitions for non-approved study abroad programs must meet the same standards and adhere to the principles that guide study abroad at Columbia. Petitions are reviewed as exceptional opportunities that could meet specific needs and interests that are not available on existing Columbia-Approved and Columbia-Led study abroad programs.

Petitioning a Semester or Academic Year Program

If you want to petition a program for the semester or academic year, you need describe the academic reasons why the program is interesting to you and why Columbia-Led and Columbia-Approved Programs do not meet your needs. You will also need to show how the program provides immersion into the local environment. The Office of Global Programs and Fellowships conducts a detailed review of the program’s:

  • academic quality
  • student services
  • housing
  • health and safety protocols

Petitioning a Summer Program

If you are a Columbia College or School of General Studies student, approved petitions for the summer are usually for programs with foreign language courses. If you take foreign language courses at the elementary or intermediate level, you will need to take a placement exam to determine your progress in the language upon your return. If you take advanced foreign language courses, you should discuss with your department how the courses may fulfill major or concentration requirements.

If you propose to take courses taught in English, each course must be approved by the department for major/concentration credit and also must be determined to be "in situ." In situ is defined as a course that offers a unique experience where the study abroad site functions as a constituent part of the course.


If you are a Columbia Engineering student, you may take courses in English or in a foreign language over the summer. You will work with the Office of Global Programs and Fellowships to determine how non-technical and technical courses transfer back to Columbia.

How to Petition

Once you have researched the approved options and found a new program to petition:
1. Meet with a study abroad adviser
2. Search for “petition” in the OGP program list
3. Click “start an application” for the region and term
4. Complete all questionnaires and forms by the following deadlines:
o For fall: March 1st
o For summer: April 1st
o For spring: October 1st

Remember that you can only petition for one program at a time. You should have a back-up plan from the approved list.