Getting Started with Study Abroad

Faculty Member Francis Kwansa stands looking at a large rock structure in Barbados

Getting Started with UD Study Abroad 

Thank you for exploring the possibility of developing and directing a study abroad or domestic travel study program! The following information is designed to help you think through the planning and proposal process. In addition, we encourage you to work directly with your department chair and to contact Matt Drexler, Associate Director for Study Abroad and other colleagues who have directed programs in the past. 

Proposal Deadlines

Winter Session Proposals: Deadline Extended to December 12, 2023

Summer Session Proposals: July 1

 Submit a Proposal


Get in the Mindset. 

Our faculty directors are adventurous, flexible and adaptable. Leading a study abroad program will often require you to maintain your composure, think on your feet and improvise if things don't go as planned.

In your role, you will spend lots of time with students in both academic and non-academic settings. You may have to help students as they navigate homesickness, lost passports, conduct issues, family emergencies, roommate or host family issues and more.

You will also put your organizational and accounting skills to good use as you gather cost information, develop a budget and stick to it. You will be entrusted with thousands of dollars of University funds and will have to properly account for how you spend them. At the same time you will have to teach your course(s) and grade assignments.

The commitment to your study abroad program will start well before departure and end after your return. Plan to invest time not only to go abroad, but to complete budget and itinerary planning, pre-departure meetings, financial reconciliation and the program reporting.

Take a look at what colleagues at other institutions are doing as they plan and design their programs. Explore this toolbox of resources provided by the Forum on Education Abroad.

Know Your Responsibilities.  

Once your program is approved, you will be assigned a program coordinator, who will serve as your connection to CGPS, help guide you through the process and be sure that you have complied with all protocols, policies and deadlines.


  • Establish a program itinerary.

  • Decide on your travel plans. 

  • Organize and plan all group excursions and events. 

  • Liaise with overseas agents and vendors. 

  • Establish preliminary and final program budgets to be reviewed by your CGPS coordinator. 

  • Attend CGPS pre-departure meetings.

  • Promote your program.

  • Organize and facilitate at least two interest meetings.

  • Interview and select applicants in compliance with UD's non-discrimination policy.

  • Organize at least two pre-departure orientation meetings.

  • Disseminate site-specific orientation materials to students, including a day-by-day program itinerary, faculty pre-departure and on-site contact information, and student housing information. 

  • Be informed about CGPS student pre-departure materials.

  • Distribute course syllabi to students (one for each course) with copy to CGPS.

  • Teach course(s) approved on your program proposal with the appropriate number of contact hours.

  • Obtain any necessary approvals from UD departments for courses taught by on-site instructors.

  • Collect copies of syllabi for courses taught by on-site faculty and submit to CGPS. 

  • Select and arrange for local guest lecturers to enrich course(s).

  • Oversee drop/add procedure where applicable.

  • If the program has a group flight, fly outbound with students. If you are not returning with your students, accompany them to the airport and through the check-in process, remaining at the airport until their flight has departed.

  • If the program does not have a group flight, provide students with detailed arrival instructions prior to departure, and monitor student arrival at the specified location.

  • Confirm arrival at program site with CGPS. 

  • Participate in group excursions and events.

  • Provide students with faculty contact information during program free periods; attempt to collect such information from students.

  • Proactively assist students as needed with logistical challenges.

  • Respond in a timely manner to students in crisis. Contact us with serious cases.

  • Monitor group dynamics and activities as is feasible and intervene as needed.

  • Promptly report and document any inappropriate student behavior of which faculty is informed.

  • Monitor spending against program budget.

  • Schedule time shortly before the program’s close for students to complete online program evaluations and DLE assessment. For programs in remote locations with no internet access, actively encourage students to complete online forms immediately upon return to the U.S.

  • As required by Procurement, reconcile cash advance with scanned, labeled receipts and electronic accounting of expenses within 30 days of program's end.

  • Submit a program report to CGPS within 30 days of the program’s end. 

  • Submit grades to the Registrar’s Office according to their deadline.


Assuming that your program meets its minimum enrollment goal, compensation will be provided through an S-contract salary paid by your department or college commensurate with number of credit hours taught. In addition, one administrative credit per program for administrative work associated with non-academic aspects of directorship, will be paid by your department or college when program responsibilities have been met. Credit may be split as agreed upon between co-directors.

Your program expenses will be paid as budgeted for the duration of the program. These normally include group airfare, U.S. and international ground transportation, per diem, lodging, group excursions and events.

Select a Destination. 

When selecting a host country, consider locations where you have already lived or traveled, where you have professional contacts and where you will feel comfortable leading a group of students. You should have a certain level of logistical expertise at your program site, and academic expertise will be necessary for sound and rigorous courses.

Choose a site that naturally connects with your discipline area. While students may be less interested in the area of study than they are in the site, don't force a fit. 

If you haven't traveled much and have few or no leads of your own, you may want to consider building on established UD connection. We have 200+ partners on 6 continents. 

Choose Between Winter & Summer. 

Take note of your various academic, professional and personal obligations when deciding between offering a Winter or Summer Session program. Your host(s) may also be able to recommend the best time to travel. Keep in mind that our most popular time for UD Study Abroad is during Winter Session. We typically run roughly 12 Summer programs versus over 60 Winter programs, yet more Summer programs are canceled each year due to under-enrollment vs. Winter programs. 

Faculty Director Bill Deering holds an umbrella and wears a British Flag across his shoulders.

Go with a Traditional Program or a Micromester. 

If you would like to opt for a program that does not span the entire length of a Winter or Summer Session, the UDmicromester may be a viable option. Micromesters are 3-week, thematically-based programs led by one faculty member and offering one course taught in one or two locations. Travel time to the site must not exceed 10 hours, and the program must fall in the middle three weeks of Winter Session.

Brainstorm Courses. 

Think about what advantages your program site might lend to your regularly-taught course material. Try to choose courses that:

  • Fulfill University breadth requirements, college group requirements or major or minor requirements for your target audience

  • Will allow you to get your students out of the classroom on excursions to see performances, visit companies, tour museums, explore the city, conduct interviews and observations or interact with locals; and 

  • Work well together so that out-of-classroom experiences can be used for both classes.  

If there is a colleague in another department with whom you might like to travel, you may co-sponsor a program by each offering a course. Co-sponsored arrangements work best when both faculty are recruiting from the same large pool of students and when they are equally committed to the program. If your department is large enough, both directors could also come from the same department. This is a good way to train new faculty directors. Please note that a co-directed program must enroll a minimum of 28 students, and perhaps more depending on your program’s budget.

Except for micromesters, your program must be built around all students enrolling in two courses. As a rule, 3-credit courses meet for approximately 35 hours (not counting breaks). Your courses abroad should hold to similar standards. Keep in mind that two to three hours of out-of-class instruction are approximately equivalent to one hour of traditional instruction.

If you wish to offer experimental courses, keep in mind that these must be put forward for permanent status after they have been offered twice. In addition, note that experimental courses do not fulfill any requirements, since they do not appear in the catalog. It is the faculty director's responsibility to obtain approvals from the appropriate college and/or University committees in order for experimental courses to fulfill such requirements. Since knowledge of the host location is critical, experimental courses that are designed to jump from one destination to another should be avoided.

Use the CGPS Course Development Tool



Include a Service Learning Component. 

Study abroad faculty directors are encouraged to add a service-learning component to the existing academic courses on their programs. These academic courses must include lectures, readings and reflective assignments that integrate academic theory learned in class with hands-on experience. The service component may count towards the minimum contact hour requirement, but with the weight of a lab or practicum (2-to-1 in most cases). Study abroad programs include two courses for a total of 6-7 credits, with the following rubric recommended for programs involving service:

  • 3 credit service-learning course with a minimum of 15-20 lecture or discussion hours and a maximum of 20-35 hours of service

  • 3-4 credit traditional academic course

For more information, check the Community Engagement Initiative website.

A girl stands overlooking an ancient Greek structure. She has a ribbon in her hair.

Define an Enrollment Goal and Target Audience.  

Programs generally enroll between 14 and 30 students. The CGPS policy for full faculty funding is a minimum 14 students per faculty member (for both traditional and UDmicromester programs). With at least 18 students, a program with one faculty director may request a program assistant. With 32 students (the maximum group size), a program with two faculty may request an assistant. In the event that a program with a single faculty director enrolls at least 28 students, two program assistants may be funded.

Apart from CGPS guidelines, consider capacity for transportation, housing, excursions and courses.  

Also keep in mind your own comfort levels. 

If your program is relevant to students in a specific major, minor or program, assess whether you will be able to meet the minimum enrollment goal. This approach can be risky, but we have many successful examples. 

Oppositely, consider whether your program is targeted to too wide an audience. If the program is not tailored, students may be less likely to see the value added beyond its attractive location. 

Make plans to recruit students from your target audience. We will help by posting your program in our Study Abroad Portal, producing a package of digital and print promotional materials and advertising your interest meetings. Emails, classroom visits to feeder courses and social media messages can be highly effective methods for you to use. 

Plan Your Excursions. 

Study abroad programs are not "educational tours" and should not involve students spending most of their time on a bus or plane together as a group. Most excursions should be directly related to your academic courses. Others should focus on the history or culture of the host site. Always also consider the value of the excursion considering its cost and time. Activities that are essentially tourism or that have nothing more than recreational value should not be included in the program. Students may choose to engage in such activities during their free time and with their own funds.


Account for Affordability. 

Students on UD's programs pay various charges including UD tuition, a program fee, airfare and miscellaneous living costs. To learn more about these costs, visit the Financing Study Abroad page. While you may have no control over tuition, airfare or miscellaneous living costs, you do have some control over your program fee. Keep in mind that many of the choices you make about your program’s design will impact this charge. 

If your program's budget is in the red due to under-enrollment, we will usually work with you to reach a compromise on your compensation (for example a reduction or relinquishing of per diem, ground transportation or other items.) On occasion, a faculty member's department or college has agreed to pay all or a portion of the budget shortfall. If no agreement can be reached, or if there are too few students to sustain the program, then the program will be canceled.



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Photo taken by Megan Lubin on the 15W Barbados HDFS/HOSP study abroad program.