Carnegie Mellon University

Status of Study Abroad & Exchange Programs for Fall 2020

As a global institution, Carnegie Mellon values and supports students who choose to study abroad and their related opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth in a global context. The fall semester will be unlike any other, and while the university considers operations on our own campus, the Office of International Education (OIE) and our campus colleagues also have been researching the viability of CMU students engaging in study abroad opportunities this fall. This research naturally included global travel restrictions, risk analysis, and educational and public health infrastructures that have implications for institutional-level decisions, as well as personal choices. 

As of June 2020, a moratorium on university-supported travel remains in place, the U.S. State Department has a Global Health Advisory at Level 4 (Do Not Travel) for most non-U.S. destinations, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for many non-U.S. countries, indicating the need to avoid all nonessential international travel. Further, there are global travel restrictions, entry bans (for travel into or return to the U.S., as well as for U.S. residents to other countries, such as the European Union), and international travel logistical challenges. 

Given all of these factors, the university has made the difficult decision that Carnegie Mellon will suspend participation in study abroad for the fall 2020 semester and over winter break (between the end of fall 2020 and the start of spring 2021) and participation in educational exchange for the 2020-2021 academic year.  

All types of study abroad are included in this suspension including participation in sponsored or external programs, university-wide or departmental-exchange programs, as well as faculty-led or academic short-term trips abroad during the fall semester, and the winter break period. Unfortunately, the university will also be unable to accommodate incoming exchange students in the 2020-2021 academic year. Decisions about short-term and semester-long study abroad for spring 2021 are expected to be announced in mid-fall 2020, following a careful review process. 

OIE recognizes that the suspension of study abroad is disappointing news to students who had hoped to be able to study abroad this fall and presents yet another unwelcome disruption of exciting academic and personal plans. It is also disheartening news to faculty, advisors and others who support the value and goals of cross-cultural experiences as part of the CMU educational experience. We sincerely hope that students will be able to study abroad at a future time and we look forward to supporting their experiences.

Study Abroad Advisors in OIE will be available this fall to consult with students who are interested in planning ahead and considering future options.