Skip to Content

Study Abroad Courses and Programs Planning

The following are guidelines for the design, planning, and oversight of study abroad courses and programs established and administered by LSA faculty and departments for which students earn University of Michigan in-residence credit.

Academic Planning

All study abroad components that involve LSA credit, whether additions to pre-existing LSA courses or full study abroad programs consisting of one or more courses designed specifically for LSA students, must be reviewed and approved by the LSA Curriculum Committee. If the plan involves teaching an existing LSA course in a different location, particularly another country, departments need to submit a course modification request to the committee.

Study abroad components may be designed either as an addition to an existing course or as a stand-alone course or program. The LSA course approval form should include the following information:

  • Academic goals of the international experience
  • Contribution of the study abroad to the course and the concentration
  • Schedule and planned activities abroad
  • Process by which students will be selected for the program
  • Means of evaluation
  • Number of credits students can expect to receive

Financial Planning

The Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) recommends that students considering a specific study abroad program be informed before they apply as to the estimated total cost, and what it does and does not cover. Although it may not be possible to give exact costs at an early date, a preliminary budget consisting of both fixed and per-student costs should provide approximate figures. 

In preparing a budget, fixed costs are those expenses which the program must bear regardless of the number of students enrolled and which are divided among the number of participants. They include faculty salaries and benefits, faculty transportation and living expenses, and any costs of renting local facilities such as classrooms, equipment, etc. Per student costs may include housing and meals (some or all), excursion expenses, and tuition.

In dividing the fixed costs among program participants, it will be necessary to estimate enrollment for the program. Bear in mind that overestimating the number of participants can result in financial losses for the program, while underestimating the number may price the program beyond the means of most students. It is also useful to set minimum and maximum enrollments for the program. If the program enrollments are below the minimum, the projected financial losses may be more than the home department is willing to absorb, which may result in canceling the program. At the other end of the scale, it is important to consider whether or not the specific arrangements and design of a program mandate setting a limit on the number of students a program can accommodate.