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Faculty-led Proposal

Proposing a Faculty-Led Program

Thank you for your interest in leading students abroad; we look forward to discussing your plans and ideas and assisting you with your program development. To get started, let's make sure your program is a faculty-led program. Here are the three qualities of a Faculty-Led Program: 
1. For-Credit: This will be part of a course that participants will enroll in during their time abroad;
2. Costs: Costs related to participation will be billed to the student accounts;
3. Leader: An NDSU faculty or staff member will accompany the students abroad.
If your program does not appear to be a faculty-led study abroad program, then the process to register your group with Study Abroad Services is much simpler. All you'll need to do is complete the Group Travel Registration Form (Group Travel Registration Form.xlsx) and email it to Tanya Kramer.

The information provided on the related pages helps to provide a general guideline to help you get started, and the majority of the information on how to propose a program is found within the proposal itself. The entire proposal is online and includes detailed instructions to guide you as you work to create your program. Only fully completed proposals will be accepted for review. Any proposals that are received without utilizing the templates provided or that have missing items will not be considered. Proposals will be reviewed using the following rubric: Faculty-Led Proposal Rubric

It has been our experience that programs are more successful when they follow the following timeline for preparation. Both the faculty action timeline (bold), the study abroad office responsibilities (regular) and the student application deadline (italics) are listed below. 

Faculty-Led Proposal Timeline

December Call for Proposals for the next academic year
February 1st  Fall/Winter Break Proposals Due
February 15 - March 1st Marketing Materials Created for Fall/January Programs
April 1st Spring/Summer Proposals Due
May 1st Student Application Deadline for Fall/January Programs
May - July Marketing Materials created for Spring/Summer Programs
1st Thur. in September Study Abroad Fair (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
November 1st Student Application Deadline for Spring Programs
February 1st Student Application Deadline for Summer Programs

To begin, please click the "Start Proposal" button below and login using your secure NDSU login (the one you use for Blackboard). The proposal asks for an itinerary as part of the initial steps, please just put in any dates and any location to move past that point. It is a system feature that is not relevant to the proposal process used by our office. Please feel free to start an application to review the requirements as you can withdraw your application at any time.

You may complete the proposal in any order, but if you are working with a provider, it is recommended that you request a quote earlier rather than later because the quote process takes 4-6 weeks.


Please contact Tanya Kramer with any questions about the proposal or about leading a program.

Overview of the Proposal Requirements

Practical Program Information

The proposal asks for program specifics not noted below, such as which destinations are in the itinerary, which semester the course will be offered, who the program leaders are, etc. All other program information is accompanied by instructions in the proposal to help guide you.

Terms and Dates

Details about selecting the semester for when to run the program can be found on the Terms and Dates page

Course Title

The course/program title will also be the one used for marketing purposes. We have found that it is best to include the country or destination in the title to distinguish your program from others and for immediate recognition of where the program will go. Previous examples: Brazil: Intercultural Fusion; Discover Mexico: Perception, Passion, and Purpose; and South Africa: Visual Arts in the Post-­Apartheid Era. ­

Course Number

Faculty-led programs may utilize the 379/692 course number; the use of the 379/692 course number is approved through this Faculty-­Led Proposal process. Departments may also utilize their own course numbers. Non­-379/692 courses would follow the regular departmental procedures to be approved by the College Curriculum Committee.

Number of Credits/Contact Hours 

In determining the number of credits to assign to your course, bear in mind that study abroad programs have the same academic rigor as on­ campus classes. A good rule of thumb is that a week­long program is only worth 1-­credit, so for example, a spring break program can be 3-­credits, but only 1-­credit worth of in-­class contact hours can be counted abroad. The rest of the contact hours must be obtained on campus during course meetings.

Each credit earned in study abroad requires the equivalent of 750 minutes (12.5 hours) of direct faculty instruction, with at least 1500 minutes (25 hours) of additional work by students.
  • Each hour of a guided experience that directly contributes to the learning goals of the course is equivalent to an hour of a traditional classroom lecture. 
  • Experiences that are not guided, but that contribute to the learning goals of the course may be counted towards the out-of-class work.
Another consideration for the amount of credits to award is how the credit amount will progress the students towards their degree. A 1-credit course is less useful for students if they could take a 3­credit one that can fulfill an academic requirement. Also, how useful is this course towards the progression towards their degree? Does the course fulfill any major or minor requirements? ­This is not only important for marketing purposes, as students want to get the most value for their money, but it is also important to help move the programs towards curriculum integration. Most programs can count towards the (D) or (G) General Education requirement, but in what other way does this course fulfill degree requirements, if any? As an example, the Visual Arts South Africa program will count towards all AHSS and BA's fine arts requirements. In addition, the students can have the course "double count" towards a General Education requirement through the appeal process.

General Education

You may apply for general education course approval in any category that pertains to the course content (including diversity and global perspectives), but only if the program is offered with some regularity. Course approval requires a 1­-page rationale for how the tour addresses a GE outcome, plus a syllabus, and it should be sent to the Director of General Education for committee review. Students may also petition separately for general education credit using the GE student petition process.

Marketing Information

There are questions designed to gather information to help for the marketing of the program. The information is used to create marketing materials for your program (study abroad website, brochures, posters). The materials are created by the Study Abroad office, but marketing is also a large responsibility of the leader as you are the one that can enthusiastically talk to others about your program.

Target Market

Consider which group of students would directly benefit from participating in the program as you are planning. Perhaps it will be primarily students within your major, but it may also be a university-wide course offering that has more of a niche interest, e.g. Sustainable Energy or Anime. Be sure to indicate whether you are collaborating with any other departments to help make the program a success. For example, Global Retailing is currently a course that is cross-listed with Apparel and Business or perhaps the course counts towards upper-level requirements in AHSS.

Study Abroad Services conducted a "Design Your Study Abroad" survey in January of 2016 and then compared the results to the 2014 participant numbers. It's a good idea to align your program ideas with where student interests lie at NDSU. Design Your Study Abroad Survey Analysis.pptx


Some locations are more of a challenge to recruit for than others, but if you are aware of that in advance it can help you be succesful. Here's the location results for the "Design Your Study Abroad" survey that was conducted in January of 2016. Design Your Study Abroad Survey Location Results 2016.pdf

Course Syllabus

A copy of the syllabus is required. It will be utilized to answer student questions about the course and be posted on the program brochure page on the study abroad website. The course syllabus should include the following:
  • Minimum Syllabus Requirements: As required by NDSU Policy 331.1 and any college requirements. Sample is provided on the Academics page.
  • Course Objectives: Include program goals and learning objectives specific to the incorporation of components that will be learned abroad in addition to the discipline specific content. We recommend the use of one or more of the Faculty-led Learning Objectives (Academics page) that are based on the NDSU Undergraduate Learning Outcomes.
  • Course Objectives Mapped to Site Visits: All programs will map their learning objectives to the on-site visits. More details and an example can be found on the Academics page.
  • Evaluation Procedures and Criteria: The University of Kentucky’s Faculty Toolkit has some great tools (assignments and projects) that could be incorporated into the course with suggestions on evaluation methods for each tool. 
  • Course Schedule / Outline / Calendar of Events: In addition to the on­site contact hours, please include classroom time for preparation for departure. It is recommended that the group meet at least once as early as possible after acceptance to answer initial questions and for the group to begin to know one another. Depending on the timing of the portion abroad and/or the class structure, it may not be necessary to meet again until closer to departure. At least a portion of a class should be dedicated to health & safety, responsibilities of participants, pre­-departure preparations, etc., and you may invite Tanya Kramer to present on that topic or use the Faculty-led Orientation Video. Consider holding at least one course upon return to wrap-­up any course requirements and to allow the students the opportunity to talk about their experiences. This allows students an opportunity to connect their learning with the NDSU environment. It is also a good opportunity to encourage your returnees to become involved with promoting next year’s program.

Program Provider/University Information

Leaders are not required to work with providers or partner university, however many faculty find the logistics planning portion to be very time consuming. The cost to outsource the logistics is often more expensive for the participants compared to doing it on your own, but providers are able to guarantee costs early with no fluctuation once the contract has been signed. If you are working with a provider, they must be one that affiliates with either NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, or that is a Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partner as that shows they are committed to the best practices in education abroad. Exceptions can be made in cases where there are non-traditional locations (i.e. Haiti, Kenya, etc.) or experiences (Nursing practicums, choir or band performances, etc.).

Working without a Provider

Leaders who do not work with providers will work closely with their department administrative staff to purchase arrangements for the group in collaboration with the Study Abroad office. All funds for the programs are centrally located in the Study Abroad office, so the associated paperwork will be signed off by our office after being prepared by your department. If you do work with a provider or partner university that will be providing all logistics, the Study Abroad office will handle any payments. This includes any airfare arrangements made through a travel agent.

Provider Contacts

There is no company that you would have to work through, but there are quite a few options of providers that we've had people work with in the past or ones that we are affiliated with for our regular study abroad students. It is a good idea to get quotes from a couple of providers because each one has their own unique qualities and ideas about what works best for different groups. It’s nice to compare the quotes too because one may come up with something that you hadn't considered. If you are working with a provider, they must be one that affiliates with either NAFSA, The Forum on Education Abroad, or that is a Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partner as that shows they are committed to the best practices in education abroad. All of the following meet that requirement, but please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list:
  • The Asia Institute: Our representative is Bradley Feuling ( The Asia Institute specializes in quality programs in Southeast Asia. The College of Business has worked with this provider for many years and highly recommends their services for programs going to that part of the world.
  • Learn International: Our representative is Chris Lawlor ( Learn International began as an Irish based provider, but is expanding globally to include Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Iceland, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Japan, Korea, Australia, China, and Brazil. NDSU faculty highly recommend their quality services.
  • EF Tours: Our representative is Drew Pynchon ( EF has both package programs and custom programs. Custom programs tend to be pricier because they are designed specifically for NDSU. Often on a package tour, the NDSU group would be combined with other groups for site visits and tours if enrollment is not around 30.
  • IES Abroad: Our current representative is Katherine Jacobs ( IES has many offices on-site around the world where classes can be held or where students can live in dorm spaces.
  • ISA: ISA is one of the major study abroad providers and one that we send a lot of regular semester and summer students through. They are now combined with World Strides to offer more options around the world.
  • AIFS: Similar to ISA –another major provider for regular study abroad students, but they also work with faculty-led programs.
  • World Endeavors: WE has a larger focus on service learning programs and offers unique locations.

Airfare Arrangements

For programs where participants will depart and arrive together, it is recommended that this cost be included in the amount billed to the student accounts (included in the Program Cost on the budget sheet). If your program ends during the summer, it may be best to not arrange group airfare so that students can continue travelling upon completion of the program.


A tentative itinerary that will be made available to students as they apply to your program is required as part of the proposal. This tentative itinerary includes the approximate time spent at each location and what major activities they will be participating in on-site. This information is used for promotion of the program and acts as guideline to students as to what they will receive through participation in the program. Although minor details may change in the itinerary, the overall structure should be fairly set so that students are receiving what was promised as part of the application. Here's the template that will be used for advertising purposes, please feel free to use this template: Sample Itinerary.docx

A final itinerary should be submitted once the program schedule has been set, often closer to departure. The final itinerary that is submitted closer to departure should also include housing details that are used for federal Clery Act reporting purposes. Here's a sample as a sample of a final itinerary with dates and times Dubai Itinerary.pdf


The following budget template must be utilized as part of the proposal as this breaks down the per student cost of the program that is used for financial aid purposes: Faculty-Led Program Budget Worksheet. The budget that is due with the proposal is tentative, but should be accurately safe enough to cover any unintended expenses. Although the items in the budget itself may vary, the program cost that is determined through the initial budgeting process is fixed. Once the program cost has been advertised it will not be adjusted because the budget that we require is utilized by financial aid when they meet with students. If the program has a surplus at the end of the program, the participants will be issued a refund.

Most likely you will also have your own budget format that makes more sense for your use as often the per-student breakdown is not as useful for leaders who are making their own arrangements (rather than working through a provider). Since the budgets for all programs are being reviewed by a committee, the template must be used for ease of review by the committee.