About Clarkson

Be an exchange student in Potsdam, New York, USA!

Geographic Location
  • The quintessential college town experience, Potsdam is home to two universities!
  • Clarkson University is 2.5 hours North of Syracuse, NY, 4 hours Northeast of Albany, and 6 hours North of New York City.
  • Gateway to the nearby major Canadian cities of Ottawa and Montreal.
  • Students often visit the 6,000,000 acre Adirondack Park and Lake Placid, New York, the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.
Academic Highlights
  • Majors in: Arts & Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Sustainable Environment
  • One of every five Clarkson graduates is a CEO, president, senior executive or owner of a company.
  • Research intensive
  • Top-Tier national university
Campus Life 
  • 100+ student-run clubs and organizations where you can easily find other students who share your interests and hobbies. Club sports are popular too - whether it's soccer, hockey or ultimate Frisbee just to name a few.
  • You can meet up with friends at the 56,000-square -foot Student Center located at the center of campus.
  • Listen to a lecture by day or enjoy live performances by night in the three-story atrium theater.
  • The setting lends itself to countless recreational activities including hiking on our own 640-acre campus.

All exchange students are guaranteed housing and required to live on-campus. Exchange students are assigned apartment-style housing in either Woodstock Village, Riverside Apartments, or Townhouse Apartments. Students will be housed with a mix of other international students and American students in order to provide the best cultural experience. Each apartment includes the basic furnishings: beds, desks, built-in wardrobes, dressers, refrigerator, stove, and living and dining room furniture. Students are responsible for providing their own kitchenware, cookware, bedding, and linens.  Students will know who their roommates are prior to arrival. We encourage exchange students to organize what they will contribute to the apartment with their roommates before arrival. Students may shop online and/or ship items right to the International Center so they will be here upon arrival. There are communal laundry facilities in Woodstock Village, Riverside Apartments, and Townhouse Apartments.

The Global Ambassador Program

Having contact with a current Clarkson University student prior to your arrival and during your stay can help ensure that you have the best time possible while attending Clarkson! Global Ambassadors typically have international experiences and are willing to be a resource for basic information about Clarkson and the surrounding area, help with acclimating to US culture and Clarkson University, and introduce you to other Clarkson students.

Virtual Sessions

Join us for a virtual session to learn more about Clarkson! They are held Tuesdays at 8:30 am EST. Click this link to RSVP.

Other Information about Clarkson

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How to Apply

If you wish to study at Clarkson University as an exchange student you must be enrolled as a full-time student at one of our partner institutions. The application process starts with your home university submitting your nomination. Once we receive the nomination, you will receive a link to the application. 

The application is open for:

  • Fall semester (late August-mid December): March 1-May 1
  • Full academic year (late August- early May): March 1-May 1
  • Spring semester (early January-early May): August 1-October 1

For a flowchart of the entire exchange student admission process, please click here.

Detailed Information About Coming to Clarkson

As a nationally ranked research university, we are the institution of choice for more than 3,400 enterprising, high-ability undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in 50+ rigorous academic programs of study. Our faculty are on the leading edge of research of international relevance. Across the institution and its campus locations across New York, faculty and students develop close, mentoring relationships and make lifelong connections that guide career success.  Learn more about Clarkson here .

Overview of Academic Colleges and Departments at Clarkson

Semester Dates

  • Fall Semester (semester 1) - end August through mid-December 
  • Spring Semester (semester 2) - early January through mid-May 

Academic Calendar  

Application Dates

  • Fall/Full-year: March 1-May 1
  • Spring: August 1-October 1

Arrival Dates

  • Fall 2021 non-MBA mid/late - August 25 & 26 (tentative)
  • Fall 2021 MBA - mid August (tentative)

Departure Dates

  • The residences will close by the morning after the last final exam. However, it is university policy that students leave within 24 hours after their last final exam. This exam schedule will be available late October for Fall Semester and mid-March for the Spring Semester. 

You may search for classes here, but before you search it will be helpful to know:

  • You must list 7 classes on your class request sheet from the link above that you are interested in taking while at Clarkson
  • Undergraduate students may take courses in the 100-499 range. You cannot take classes in the 500-699 range
  • Graduate classes are 500 and above. Graduate students may take undergraduate and graduate courses
  • When selecting classes to request to take, please be sure you are in the "search for classes" tab! The "browse course catalog" tab is a compilation of all classes past and present taught at Clarkson. Classes listed in the browse tab may no longer be taught
  • Most upper-level courses have prerequisite courses you have to have taken and passed in order to take that course. Be prepared to submit the course details from your home university you wish to submit as the prerequisite.
  • Classes for the fall semester are not available online until the end of March and spring classes are not available online until the end of October. You may search the previous semester's classes if these are not available yet. If they were offered in a previous semester, it does not guarantee they will be offered the next semester. Example, fall 2021 classes are not available until March 12, 2021. Search Fall 2020 classes. 
  • Make sure you are searching the Main Campus location only.
  • The "browse course catalog" tab is where you will find class descriptions to provide to your home university

Click here to view a list of business courses that are typically available every fall, every spring, or both semesters! 

University Housing

Living on campus is guaranteed and mandatory for exchange students (no exceptions will be given). Students live in self-catered apartment-style housing with Clarkson students. This allows you to gain the full American experience of studying abroad. You will complete the Housing Contract after acceptance through your student portal called PeopleSoft. Students who live in the apartment-style housing are not required to purchase a meal plan , but you can if cooking for yourself isn't your thing! You can also purchase declining balance which is money added to your account and you can pay for on-campus meals with your student ID card. You may also pay with cash and credit cards. Click here for an overview of the dining locations on campus.


Exchange students are eligible to apply for a J-1 or F-1 Visa. Click J-1 or F-1 to find out the differences! We will guide you through obtaining your visa, but you must know if you are applying for a J-1 or an F-1 visa when you fill out your application. Click on this website to learn more about US Visas. If you have specific questions about your visa, please email cuisso@clarkson.edu.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance coverage is compulsory. If you are coming as a J-1 there are specific coverage requirements. If you are coming in on an F-1 there are no specific requirements, but we recommend having the same or more coverage as a J-1. We encourage you to review different policies and pick one that is right for you. Some additional providers are listed on NAFSA's website. TRAVEL INSURANCE IS NOT HEALTH INSURANCE.

Students entering the U.S. under the J-Exchange Visitor program to study are required to meet minimum health insurance coverage requirements. We highly advise F-1 visa holders to meet these minimum benefits as well.These include:

•    Medical Benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
•    At least $25,000 for Repatriation of Remains
•    At least $50,000 for Medical Evacuation to your home country
•    A deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness

Estimated Expenses

Exchange students do not pay tuition. You pay for your living expenses (housing and food) as well as other entertainment types (travel, books, incidental, health insurance) of expenses. For an estimate of expenses from the 2021-2022 semesters click on this link.

What do you need to complete your application
1. Most up to date transcript in a PDF
2. Completed Certificate of Finances Form (COF) located within the application, saved as a PDF.
3. Financial documents that support the amount specified in the COF. All documents must be in English. Letters from a bank must be on bank letterhead, signed, and stamped. The documents do not need to support the exact total amount, just at least the amount in the COF. All must be in PDF format.
4. English Ability Form, located in the application or upload a PDF of TOEFL or IELTS scores. We recommend having a TOEFL score of 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, and 80 Internet-based or an IELTS score of 6.5.
5. PDF of a valid passport
6. Seven (7) classes that you intend to enroll in while at Clarkson. You will not be enrolled at this time, but this allows us to contact the academic department ahead of time. Your final class selections should be submitted on your class request form which you will receive with your acceptance letter.

Final Steps

Once your application materials are complete and accepted you will be emailed a username, email address, and pin so you can set up your student account as well as your acceptance letter. You will be assigned a "To Do" list. Some items you will need to complete in your student portal are:

  • Student Health Documents 
  • Photo for your Student Identification Card
  • Housing Contract
  • AssessAbility Form
  • SF Terms Agreement
  • Health Insurance e-form

Once you have set up your password, you will have access to our intranet site which will provide you with details for arrival. This course will provide you with all of the information you need to know for making your final class selections, prearrival shipping address, and more!

Please see the resources listed below and if you have any additional questions not listed here, please email internationalcenter@clarkson.edu