Special Academic Programs

Hope College has long recognized the value of offering its students a wide range of off-campus study opportunities, both domestic and international. These are available to qualified students through exchange programs and the college's membership in a number of consortiums. These include programs run by the Associated College of the Midwest (ACM), Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad), the Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE), the School for International Training (SIT), the Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL), the Organization of Tropical Studies – Duke University, Creation Care Study Program (CCSP) and International Studies Abroad (ISA). Hope students also have opportunity to direct enroll in a number of overseas institutions which have a partnership with Hope College. Semester and year-long opportunities for off-campus study are available in virtually every part of the globe. May, June and July terms offer short term options.

All off-campus programs, independent of length, subject matter, or location, fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. Official Hope College Programs

Hope College exercises direct or indirect academic and administrative control over these programs. Students who participate in these are screened by the Off-Campus Programs Admissions Committee and they remain enrolled at Hope College. It is the responsibility of students to demonstrate to the Off-Campus Programs Admissions Committee that they have made prior arrangement with the campus administrator and/or the academic departments concerned for the awarding of credit. Once the student is off-campus, it is the continuing responsibility of the student to communicate any program changes to the chairperson of the department from which credit is expected. Students in these official programs continue to receive administrative support and will be regarded as regular Hope College students in all respects. They are entitled to retain financial aid and to have grades and credit earned recorded on their Hope College transcript.

  1. Non-Official Programs

Students may, of course, enroll in other programs over which Hope College does not exercise administrative or academic control. In the case of overseas programs, the International Education Office is ready to provide information. It is important to note that students enrolling in one of these programs are, in practical terms, withdrawing from the college. This means that they do not need the permission of the Off-Campus Programs Admissions Committee in order to participate. However, they also lose the right to use Hope College financial aid awards and any credit earned will be treated as transfer credit. Students considering participation in one of these programs should consult their departmental advisor in order to determine whether or not transfer credit is likely to be accepted. Upon completion of such a program, students who intend to return to Hope College need to apply for readmission.


As part of the overall program in International Education at Hope College, the International Education Office offers information and assistance to all students interested in study abroad. Applications and detailed descriptions of the programs outlined below are available from the Center for Global Engagement which is located in the Paul G. Fried International Center of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

Students planning to participate in either domestic or international off-campus study programs should note the following:

  • Enrollment restrictions apply to off-campus study programs during the spring semester but not the fall semester. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to participate in off-campus study during the fall semester. Planning to study in any off-campus program during either semester should begin, if possible, in the student's freshman year. Planning is especially important for students desiring to study off campus during the spring semester. Enrollment restrictions during the spring semester may mean that study in an off-campus program will not be approved for everyone who applies, so fall semester alternatives need to be considered. Such planning will normally enable qualified students to participate in their program of choice.
  • The college annually reviews its policy regarding the types and amounts of institutional financial aid (Hope scholarships and grants) that can be applied to the costs of off-campus study programs. Students should inquire at the Office of Financial Aid to determine which types of institutional financial aid are transportable to their off-campus study programs.

semester and year programs

Qualified Hope students can study in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, North America and South America. They can do so through a variety of exchange programs, direct entry into universities and at sponsored study centers. Hope has global partnerships with universities in England, Japan and Mexico. Each year Hope students study on campuses in Liverpool, Tokyo, Yokohama and Querétaro while students from universities in these cities study at Hope. Direct entry university programs are available in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Chile, England, France, New Zealand, Scotland and Senegal. Also readily available are opportunities to take courses in US sponsored study centers while taking one or two courses in local universities. Students may also participate in specialized programs in countries from Cameroon and the Czech Republic to Mali and Mongolia that focus on issues related to the arts, biodiversity, culture, development, gender, ecology, identity, resource management and social justice.


The International Education website provides a complete list of the official programs available.


Short-term study abroad programs are available during the four-week May, June and July Terms. Off-campus May and June term courses are generally announced toward the end of fall semester with registration and program deposits required early in the spring semester. Students should consult with the program leader for further information about these courses.


Established in 1956 as one of the first American programs in Austria, the Hope College Vienna Summer School annually offers a regular summer session in Europe designed specifically to meet the needs of Hope College students, but also open to qualified applicants from other institutions.

Academic Work in Vienna: The academic program consists of two consecutive three-week sessions which offer a choice of work in Art History, Communication, Senior Seminar, Economics, Austrian History, Music History – all taught in English – as well as courses in German language, taught in German. European instructors in the program emphasize those aspects of their respective fields which can best be studied in the European location. Attendance at concerts, visits to museums and field trips are included in the various course requirements. Students receive Hope College transcripts and credits for work completed in Vienna.

Residence in Austrian Homes: While in Vienna, students are housed with Austrian families, most of whom live in city apartments. Students are free to plan their leisure time and to participate in planned weekend excursions to places such as Salzburg, Budapest, Prague and the Austrian Alps.

Independent Travel: Students are free to make their own transatlantic travel arrangements allowing them to include free time both before and after the academic sessions in Vienna.



Through a reciprocal exchange program, Hope College and Liverpool Hope University exchange students for a semester or academic year of study. Students going to Liverpool Hope University have a full range of courses available to them in Management & Accounting, English, Environmental & Biological Studies, History, Information Management & Computer Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theatre and Theology. Liverpool Hope University students also have full access to all Hope College courses.


Since 1989, students from Ferris University spend a study-abroad year at Hope College, and opportunities exist for Hope students studying Japanese to study at Ferris University in Yokohama, Japan.


For 50 years Hope College and Meiji Gakuin University have been associated in a plan for international cooperation in education through mutual exchange of students and faculty. Founded in 1877 by the Presbyterian and Reformed Church missions of the United States, Meiji Gakuin University has a student body numbering approximately 14,000 at its Tokyo and Yokohama campuses. Through a summer program established in 1965, over 500 Japanese students have come to the U.S. to study "Contemporary America." Beginning in 1980 this program has since evolved into a bilateral exchange through which Hope students study at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and Japanese students study at Hope College.


Technos College of Tokyo, Japan, and Hope College have since 1992 offered special opportunities for the students of both institutions to learn more about each other's countries.


Since the mid-1990s Hope College has worked on a special relationship with the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro (UAQ) in Querétaro, Mexico. In the ensuing years, Hope students have attended both semester and May/June term courses at the UAQ for intense Spanish courses and to learn about Mexican culture, society and the arts.



The New York Arts Program offers rich opportunities for the student seriously interested in art, music, dance, communications, english or theatre. The program gives the student ready access to vast numbers of original works of art, to a variety of dramatic and musical events, and to special collections of research materials. Students participate, through apprenticeships or less formal means, in the milieu of the professional artist to better understand the intentions, the problems and the means of the arts.

Contact: Daina Robins, Department of Theatre


The Chicago Semester program offers students a distinctive opportunity to work in a large metropolitan city and to study problems and issues of metropolitan life in a fully accredited, supervised educational program. The staff of the Chicago Semester consists of people who combine academic training and experience with years of living and working in the metropolitan environment. The result is an unusual concern for college students and the metropolitan city.

Most students take an 8-credit internship and two 4-credit seminars. Past topics have included Arts in the City, Values & Vocations, Urban Planning, Religion and Urban America. Special internships tracks are available for student teaching, criminal justice, social work and nursing.

Up to 16 credits can be earned through the program. A large number of internships are available to students through the Chicago Semester. Students with almost any major interest can find work placements that are suitable to their vocational plans. The range of possibilities covers art centers, banks, churches, drama groups, ecology labs, social work, accounting firms, physical therapy, library work, museums, zoos, urban renewal and planning, youth recreation and x-ray technology. Work internships are supervised on the job and by Chicago Semester staff members.

The ten-week summer program provides the opportunity to live and learn in the Windy City, take courses for academic credit and work full time at an internship.

Contact:  Center for Global Engagement.


The Denver Urban Semester is a cross-culture experience in the heart of the city allowing students to move into a mature understanding of God's unique vocational direction for their lives. Service-learning and community development are the focus of the Denver Urban Semester, which provides experience with careers in nonprofits. Students spend 24 to 28 hours per week at an internship, take 2 to 3 classes, and live in community. Serving as the on-site hosts are staff of Mile High Ministries, a Christian organization that seeks to mobilize neighborhoods, equip leaders and empower the poor.

Contact: Center for Global Engagement.


The Newberry Library Program in the Humanities enables students and faculty to tap the extraordinarily rich resources of the Newberry Library in a semester-length fall seminar, several month-long seminars in winter, spring independent study at any time after December, and occasional internships. The Newberry Library, founded in 1887, is a privately endowed research library located on Chicago's Near North side. Over one million volumes and six million manuscripts comprise its strong general collection of Western history and the humanities from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. Special collections concentrate on linguistics, the American Indian, Chicago history and culture, the Renaissance, the history of cartography and printing, and the history and theory of music. The Humanities program is jointly sponsored by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM). Recent seminar topics have included Knowledge and Technology: from Socrates to the Digital Humanities; The Concept of Revolution; Cultural Ideals and Realities in History and Literature; and The History and Literature of Chicago. This program is an outstanding opportunity for students considering law school, graduate school in any branch of the humanities, as well as careers in publishing and library science.

Contact: Professor Marsely Kehoe, Department of Art History


This program allows qualified majors in the natural and physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, or computer science to spend one semester at one of the world's major research centers, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Students spend 30-40 hours per seek in research as assistants to Oak Ridge scientists. They also take one senior-level course and participate in an interdisciplinary seminary, led by the GLCA or ACM Resident Director. Each student receives 16 credits under Interdisciplinary Studies for participation in this p rogram which provides an opportunity to work with outstanding scientists, at world-class facilities on pur and applied research. This is on hiatus Fall 2019.

Contact: Professor Jonathan Peterson, Department of Geological and Environmental Science.



The Oregon Extension is a fall semester option for students seeking to earn 16 credits in the humanities and the social and natural sciences. During the course of the program, students participate in four one-month segments focusing on Contemporary Issues, Social Thought, Human Stories and Living Faith. The courses are interdisciplinary and the individualized, guided-study format allows maximum flexibility in meeting students’ true interests. Students live in community in a refurbished logging town in the southern Oregon Cascades.

Contact: Center for Global Engagement


The Philadelphia Center (TPC) was founded in 1967 by the Great Lakes Colleges Association. TPC is one of the nation’s oldest experiential education programs. Since 1967, TPC has helped more than 6,800 students from 90 colleges and 50 countries discover their personal and professional direction in life. Students earn 16 credits (8 internship, 4 City Seminar, 4 Elective) for this 16-week semester-long program. TPC also offers an 8-week summer program designed to accommodate students who are unable to attend the full semester program.

  • Mentored internships - With over 800 internship options, TPC offers 32-hour-a-week internship opportunities for almost any major. Students collaborate with TPC’s full-time faculty advisors and internship supervisors to create a structured yet individualized learning plan that directs and ensures meaningful experiences in the workplace.
  • Independent living - TPC’s guided housing process provides a unique opportunity for students to develop self-reliance and confidence as they live with peers in accommodations whey choose, while experiencing the difference and dynamics of city life in Philadelphia.
  • Academic seminars — At TPC, the experiential seminars and electives incorporate the city as both resource and subject and integrate program components to help students apply their liberal arts education and realize their personal and professional objectives, values and abilities.

Students from all majors are welcome at TPC. Student teachers can complete their student teaching in Philadelphia’s dynamic urban school district.

For more information about TPC, please visit www.tpc.edu or call 215.735.7300. Contact Linda Koetje, Department of Communication (Martha Miller 107) or Center for Global Engagement.


The Washington Honors Semester Program enables superior students from all disciplines to study in Washington, D.C., and to apply knowledge of their area as it relates to government and politics. Select junior and senior students will take a seminar on American government and politics; participate in group interviews with congressmen and legislative staff, executives, lobbyists, political party officials and journalists; intern for two six-week periods in Congress, the executive branch, or with political interest groups; and prepare extensive research papers upon their semester's work.

Contact: Professor Jeffrey Polet, Department of Political Science.



Students who come to Hope with exceptional academic backgrounds and/or exceptional high school academic performance may wish to consult with their advisors about ways in which their academic potential may be developed to the fullest extent. Credit by examination via AP, CLEP, or departmental exams or waivers of general education courses or introductory-level courses can be gained in order to avoid repetitive learning and in order to insure placement at the proper course level in fields where they may have advanced standing. Further, independent study and research, both at the underclass and upperclass level, may be pursued to fully develop a student's interest in a particular topic. In many departments, completely individualized study or upper level tutorials are open to superior students in either the junior or senior year.

In several departments, notably biology, chemistry, engineering, geological and environmental sciences, mathematics, physics and psychology, opportunity is provided for talented upperclass majors to participate in summer research carried on by staff members. Students chosen take part in important research and under foundation research grants receive stipends for this work.


The Phelps Scholars Program is a living and learning multicultural program available to first-year Hope students from all racial/ethnic backgrounds. Designed to facilitate an enjoyable transition to the college, it also provides the foundation for four productive years as members of our student body. Phelps Scholars aspire to Hope’s high standards of academic excellence; participate fully in the life of the college community; and develop skills, attitudes and values that prepare them for lives of leadership and service in a culturally diverse and global society.

Phelps Scholars accomplish this by:

  1. Living together in the same residence hall where they actively develop meaningful relationships with students, faculty and staff who represent a rich mix of cultural backgrounds (African American, Asian American, European American, Hispanic American, Native American and International).
  2. Taking the designated First Year Seminar course in the fall that focuses on global awareness and learning and then taking either Encounters with Cultures or American Ethnic Studies in the spring.
  3. Participating in workshops, group discussions and special events that focus on the practical aspects of living and working in a diverse community.
  4. Meeting guest speakers, taking culturally related trips and engaging with the campus in conversations on diversity and global issues.

While program participation is voluntary, students make a one-year commitment to be a part of a community that is intentionally designed to facilitate rich and meaningful interactions throughout the course of their first year.

For further information, contact program director, Kasey Stevens (stevens@hope.edu).

Non-Traditional Programs



TRiO Upward Bound is an educational program designed to assist 85 high school students from the Allegan-Ottawa Counties area. To be admitted, students must meet the low-income or first-generation criterion established by the Federal Government and have the potential – even though their grades may not reflect it – to undertake a college education. The main purpose of the program is to assist these students to successfully pursue a post-secondary education.

This year-round program consists of two phases:

  1. Residential Summer Session

An intensive six-week academic session offering two different programs:

  1. Non-bridge Program

Includes students who have completed grades eight-11. Emphasizes the mastery of basic and advanced skills in mathematics, English, foreign language and science. The above courses are complemented by electives in physical education, dance, drama, arts and crafts, and photography. High school credit is recommended. Approximately 60 students are admitted to this program.

  1. Bridge Program

Designed for students who have completed 12th grade. Up to eight college credits may be earned by each student. English 113 (Expository Writing I) is required for all the students who may complement their schedule with any other course from the summer offerings at Hope College. An average of 15 students participate in this program each year.

  1. Academic Year Session

During the school year, students in grades nine-12 attend afternoon tutorials twice a week, two and one-half hours each afternoon, for help in their current academic classes. Friday sessions are held every month to foster the cultural and social development of the students along with their career education; speakers, study-tours, films and group communication skills workshops are among the activities featured at these sessions. College testing and placement assistance (admission to college and financial aid) are provided to all the 11th- and 12th-grade students and their parents. Recreational activities are also part of the program.

Eligible students may participate at no cost; the Upward Bound Program is funded by the United States Department of Education, Hope College and other local private sources.

CASA – Children’s After School Achievement

CASA is a community program of Hope College that addresses the educational needs of 145 at-risk elementary school students annually. Since 1987, the program has worked with thousands of children who have been referred by Holland area school personnel for year-round sessions. During the summer, certified teachers and assistants lead small group classes for six weeks. The focus is academic and cultural enrichment, as well as site visits and service projects. During the school year, each student is assigned a personal tutor who works one-on-one with the child on homework, reading and math, as well as enrichment activities.

Hope College students mainly serve as volunteer tutors for the academic year program. Their consistent three-hour per week commitment is a large reason why CASA is successful. The tutors provide role modeling, academic support and mentoring. In exchange, they receive valuable volunteer experience, multicultural and diversity understanding, and community involvement. They also can use CASA for field placement and/or community service credit in a number of Hope College classes. As well, Hope students can interact with CASA on research projects, class assignments, internships and service projects for various student organizations.

For additional information, please contact the CASA office.