Students may receive credit toward the major for classes taken away from Williams. Regular department policy is to allow majors who study away credit for one class toward the major per semester away. This is, of course, conditional on the course not only falling within the discipline of political science, but also requiring an amount of productive intellectual engagement comparable to that demanded by courses here. Students have to get approval of the Chair or the department’s study abroad advisor before leaving Williams.
When we give a student permission in advance to receive credit for an away class, we are saying either that the class by itself appears to meet these standards, or that the two or three classes the student is taking on political topics together seem to qualify as a Williams class. To qualify for one class per semester gone, the academic work needs to meet the standard of “likely to be equivalent” or “close enough.”
If the student wants major credit for more than one class per semester, the evidentiary standard is higher. He or she will need to demonstrate that each class is definitely equivalent to a semester-long Williams class. For each of the courses, the department will need to see a course description and syllabus, grades, and copies of the written work handed in to achieve those grades.
In no case will the department give credit toward the major for more than three classes taken elsewhere. This includes classes taken before enrollment at Williams, summer classes, and away classes and internships.
Before you go away
Before you go away, make an appointment with the department chair or the faculty member designated as study abroad advisor. List the classes you have taken and the classes you intend to take in order to fulfill major graduation requirements, including those you intend to take away, so you can see how it/they fit into the distribution requirements. It’s a good idea to bring descriptions or syllabi of the away courses.
When you return
When you return, make sure your abroad-transcript reaches the department secretary, so we can log the approval in your file. The department gives credit after verifying successful completion with the passing grade(s).