Learn about Tibetan and Himalayan politics and religion and the issues faced by communities in exile.
Explore cultural transformation and preservation, identity and social change, religious revival, and regional geopolitics.
Discover contemporary Tibetan and Himalayan society, sciences, religion, and arts.
Conduct independent research or complete an internship in Nepal; Dharamsala, India; or another approved location during the last four weeks of the program.
Learn the Tibetan language and, if you choose, Nepali.
Live with a host family in bustling Kathmandu.
Enjoy access to isolated areas and connect with Himalayan people through SIT’s well-established regional networks.
Key Topics of Study
Varieties of belief and practice among Himalayan people
The politics inherent in processes of everyday life in an exile community and host country
Aspects of contemporary Tibetan civilization
History and politics of the region
Himalayan arts and sciences
Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Newar and Theravadin Buddhist traditions in Nepal
Religious tourism and pilgrimage
Meditation and retreat
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
There is no "typical day" on an SIT program. Activities may take place on any day of the week and at any time of day to be in accordance with according to local norms and to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunities. Thus, the schedule and structure of the program are likely very different from what students are used to on their home campuses. The semester progresses in phases:
The program begins with a thorough orientation.
During the first two and a half months of the program, students are engaged in foundational coursework, including:
thematic seminars, including education excursions,
language instruction focused on improving practical communication skills, and
a field research methods and ethics course that prepares students to conduct independent research.
For the last month of the program, students conduct an Independent Study Project (ISP) on an approved topic of their choosing.
Finally, students present their project, participate in program evaluations, and prepare to return home.
What Makes SIT Unique
SIT Study Abroad offers a field-based, experiential approach to learning.
Each program has a small group of students (typically 10–35).
On an SIT program, students gain high levels of access to many different stakeholders and experts relevant to the issues the program is examining.
While some learning will be conducted at the SIT program center, extensive learning is done outside the classroom — in host communities, field stations, NGO headquarters, ecological sites, health clinics, and art studios.
Many students go on to use their Independent Study Projects as a basis for senior theses on their home campuses. Others use their undergraduate research and overall study abroad experience to successfully apply for fellowships such as Fulbrights and Watsons.
Franklin & Marshall Academic Policy
F&M requires all students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution or off-campus study program. You can typically find this information on the program partner's website. In many cases, this will be four or five courses for a semester. Many programs grant course credit in U.S. semester credit hours. Franklin & Marshall will award four F&M course credits for a total of 15 or 16 U.S. semester credit hours. If the total number of credits for your program is more than 16 or less than 15, divide the total number by four to find out how many course credits you will receive (this includes summer study).
Courses on off-campus study programs must be taken for a letter grade, not on a pass/no pass basis. Grades from off-campus study program courses will appear on your Franklin & Marshall transcript, but they will not be calculated into your cumulative GPA.
Courses taken off-campus may be able to satisfy major, minor, language or distribution requirements (Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Non-Western Cultures or Natural Science Lab) in addition to general elective credit. Courses may fulfill more than one requirement. Please note that Franklin & Marshall cannot issue transfer credit for a course taken in a department that is not represented at the College. If a course does not clearly fall under a department, the off-campus study advising staff can help you determine whether or not it can be accepted for credit.
Franklin & Marshall Housing Policy
Housing options during your off-campus study program will vary by program. Some programs may allow students to choose their housing option; other programs require all students to live in a certain type of housing. Typical housing arrangements may include apartments, homestays, or on-campus housing at a local university. Please visit the program homepage to determine your program's housing options or requirements.
Please note that some programs may offer students the option to pursue independent housing (outside of the regular housing options provided by the program). F&M does not allow students to choose independent housing unless there is a significant academic or cultural reason (such as wanting to live in a homestay when only apartment housing is provided). Independent housing carries many risks and F&M and the program provider cannot provide any support to students who pursue independent housing. Students who are interested in pursuing independent housing will need to contact their off-campus study adviser to petition for approval to pursue this option.
Financial Policy, Financial Aid and Scholarships
During the academic year, students will continue to be eligible for financial aid during a term of off-campus study. This includes federal and state loans and Franklin & Marshall merit scholarships and need-based grants. In general, eligibility for financial aid is based on Franklin & Marshall tuition, cost of housing and meals from the off-campus study program, and an allowance for books and personal expenses. Your annual estimated family contribution as generated by your FAFSA will remain the same regardless of program costs. Students who receive Grant-in-Aid benefits will continue to access these benefits for the semester off-campus. This benefit is only available to students of eligible full-time F&M faculty and staff.