Exchange + travel study program

ACAD students can study for a semester in the UK, continental Europe, Australia, or elsewhere in North America.

How does it work?

ACAD partners with post-secondary institutions worldwide to offer cross-cultural experiences for students. The program is designed to allow ACAD students to continue their academic progress while attending the host institution. Eligible students complete their full-time complement (15 credits) of 300-level major courses and electives for one semester at the host institution and return to ACAD for the following fall semester to maintain their spot in their selected major. The exchange and travel study program is for one, full-time semester of study in which students earn transferable credits toward their ACAD program. Exception to one semester of study may apply to students who earn extra credits that can not be applied directly to their program of study.

Who is eligible?

At the time of travel study, students must have completed a minimum of 60 credits applicable to their ACAD degree requirements, have no First Year Studies deficiencies, have a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher at the time of application and before departure, and have officially declared a major. You can make educated projections about your GPA status as of December 31st by using the ACAD GPA calculator tool.

Students must apply to participate in the program on December 31, the year prior their proposed travel study. (After completing their first term of 200-level required coursework.) There is only one annual intake of applications to participate in this program. Students who transfer to ACAD in the third year are not eligible to apply for the Program.

Are there any special criteria?

Students may be required to have a basic knowledge of the language of instruction of the host institution.

Where can I go?

With over 40 participating institutions around the globe, the hardest choice will be where to go!

What is the deadline for application?

  • DECEMBER 31 is the application deadline for ACAD students applying to study abroad (there is one annual intake of applications)
  • Incoming students from partner institutions who wish to study at ACAD must apply by April 1 (fall semester) or November 1 (winter/spring semester). Incoming exchange travel study students apply here.

How do I apply?

  1. Research the host institution that you wish to attend and be ready to answer why it is your first choice.  Also, have an alternate school in the event that there is limited space for your first choice school.
  2. Complete and submit one PDF document by email to no later than December 31.  Your PDF must include the following elements:
  • Personal Statement / Letter of Intent (500 words max.) with subject header at the top that includes Your Name, ACAD ID#, exchange institution of choice, semester and year of exchange (ie. Smith, #33222, RISD, Winter'18)
  • A scanned copy of the photograph page of your valid passport. Your passport needs to be valid for six months following your return from the Exchange + Travel Study program.
  • Resume / Curriculum Vitae (The College Art Association has an excellent guideline for creating your CV) 
  • 3 images of work with dimensions and titles (use still images of sound or video pieces)
  • Course titles and descriptions of proposed courses at the host institution(s). Please note: While on exchange you will be enrolled as a full-time student and will be required to complete 15 credit equivalents; ie. five courses or 24 instructional hours, such as two 300-level studios plus three 200-300-400 level studios; or two 300-level studios in combination with Studio and Liberal Studies electives.
  • When your PDF applicaiton is submitted to a $100 non-refundable application fee (plus an additional $50 if you wish to submit a separate application for a second institution) will be added to your account. Payment will be due by the tuition fees deadline, Jan 20, 2017.

What happens after I apply?

The Exchange + Travel Study Coordinator/Student Academic Advisor will:

  • Ensure that all applications are forwarded to the Exchange and Travel Study Committee.
  • Notify all applicants of the Exchange and Travel Study Committee results by the end of January
  • Send Letter of Nomination and Official Transcript to host institution(s) for those students selected to participate in Exchange + Travel Study program
  • Meet with participating students to review academic plan and to provide instructions for preparing their host institution application(s)

ACAD Students who are nominated to participate in the Exchange + Travel Study Program are required to:

  • Meet with the Exchange + Travel Study Coordinator/Student Academic Advisor (set up an appointment to follow up on completion of your application to the host institution. This will occur AFTER you receive an official notice of approval to participate in the Exchange + Travel Study program.
  • Refrain from contacting the prospective host institutions directly.
  • Contact to arrange health & dental coverage, obtain study visas (when required), make travel and accommodation arrangements.
  • Copy all documents sent to host institution to ACAD's Exchange + Travel Study Coordinator/Student Academic Advisor.
  • Follow up on transfer credit procedures* upon completion of the program.


Independent Off Campus Study: ACAD students may be eligible to earn transfer credits toward their ACAD degree by completing courses independently at other institutions as a visiting student. There is no minimum GPA requirement and Independent Off Campus Study may occur at any year of the student's program of study for potential credit toward junior level coursework. Students are responsible for all tuition costs and fees of the host institution and must make arrangements for the host institution to forward to ACAD an official transcript confirming completion of a minimum final C (65%) grade for the course. Each course transferred toward the student's ACAD degree through the Independent Off-Campus Study will be processed at a fee of $30. Students often enroll in SOSC or HUMN courses, as well as other academic subject areas (see list below).

Applicants must research the courses and institutions they wish to attend, identify the ACAD equivalent course they wish to earn transfer credits toward, and submit a completed Transfer Credit Request/Letter of Permission form to the Registrar's Office. Course outlines may be required to support the request. When the course is approved, a Letter of Permission will be issued to the student confirming that their proposed coursework as a visiting student at another institution will be accepted for transfer credit per transfer credit criteria*.

Academic Subjects that students receive Letter of Permission to study at another institution include:

HUMN (Humanities) Art History; Classics; English Literature & Composition; Dance History & Criticism; Dramatic Literature, Criticism, History & Theory; History; Languages; Music History & Literature; Philosophy; Religious Studies; Romance Studies

SOSC (Social Sciences) Anthropology;** Archeology;** Canadian Studies; Communications Studies; Economics; Educational Psychology, Sociology & History; Gender Studies; Geography;** Linguistics; Political Psychology;** Sociology

NASC (Natural & Applied Sciences) Anthropology;** Archaeology;** Astronomy; Biology; Botany; Biochemistry; Chemistry; Computer Science; Geography;** Geophysics; Mathematics; Physics; Psychology;** Statistics; Zoology

CAREER RELATED SUBJECTS Art Therapy; Business; Management; Engineering; Law; Medicine; Nursing; Social Work

STUDIO COURSES Introductory and intermediate studio courses may be eligible for transfer credit. Students must present course outlines that describe assignments and learning objectives for review and approval by ACAD subject matter experts.


*HOW TO TRANSFER CREDITS FROM COURSES EARNED AT Exchange + Travel Study Program or Independent Off-Campus Study:

  • Only those courses completed with a minimum grade of “C,” 65%, or better will be considered for transfer credit
  • Only those courses completed at the university or transfer level, as approved through the Office of Student Academic Advising/Registrar’s Office, will be considered for transfer credit
  • Students are required to make arrangements with host institutions to forward official transcripts showing completed coursework final grades directly to the Office of Student Academic Advising. Please note: Students may also be required to provide supporting documentation (course outlines, assignment rubrics, examples of coursework) for transfer credit subject matter experts' evaluation.

Failure to follow the application procedures or any evidence of misrepresentation on any document related to the study program, as well as any evidence of illegal acts performed by the student while on the study program, will result in the immediate cancellation of ACAD’s support for that program and the cancellation of any related credit transfers to the student’s academic transcript.


CLOSURE Spring (Winter) 2017 of The New York Studio Residency Scholarship Program: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - The Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) announced today the impending closure of the New York Studio Residency Program (NYSRP).

“It is with a heavy heart that I share that the Board of Trustees has determined that the Spring 2017 semester will be the final one for the NYSRP,” said AICAD President & Executive Director Deborah Obalil. “The program has provided truly life-changing experiences for the hundreds of students who have participated over its 25 year history.” The NYSRP, currently located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, is a semester-long, off-campus study experience for junior and senior fine arts majors from schools across the US and Canada. It provides a primarily independent studio practice experience within the context of the New York City arts community, allowing students to experience the life of a working artist in a cosmopolitan city while earning credit toward their undergraduate degrees. The combination of the ever increasing costs of New York City real estate and decreased flexibility for BFA students at AICAD member institutions have created an environment today in which the NYSRP is not sustainable.

The NYSRP will accept a full cadre of students for the Spring (Winter) 2017 semester, providing the same high quality experience for them as all the students in prior semesters.

Spring (Winter) 2017 NYSRP Scholarship recipients are responsible for the same ACAD tuition and mandatory fees as all Exchange + Travel Study program students. The scholarship pays a significant, additional tuition stipend directly to the host institution on behalf of the scholarship recipient. NYSRP students also pay all additional costs associated with travel, residency costs, books and materials, and supplementary fees of the host institution. Students are required to follow up with the Exchange + Travel Study Coordinator/Student Academic Advisor on preparing host application materials and providing documentation to complete transfer credit on completion of the program.

Program requirements

Participating institutions

Check out the list of participating Exchange + Travel Study Program schools around the globe and go where the spirit takes you!

Travel funding

Apply for awards and scholarships to help fund your study and travel program.

Student travel stories

Our Exchange + Travel Study Program students have travelled far and wide to pursue their craft. Read their inspiring and interesting stories and then plan your dream educational trip!

How to study at ACAD as an incoming exchange student

Looking to study at ACAD for a semester? We welcome applicants from across North America and from international schools around the world.

Independent off-campus study

Alternative travel study option.