Carnegie Mellon University

Faculty-Led Study Abroad

Faculty-led study abroad trips add an exciting real-world component to a course. These trips are usually short term, typically less than one semester in duration, and may be credit-bearing. OIE encourages interested faculty to work with a department head (or the department administrator most familiar with study abroad) from the early planning phases to ensure that the program adheres to department and university expectations and procedures for academic programming. Interested faculty should also notify OIE staff of their intentions. OIE's Guide for Short Term Programs (pdf) provides a framework for most aspects of planning a short-term faculty-led program abroad, including budgetary planning, logistical factors, curricular issues, and emergency preparedness.

Faculty-led study abroad trips provide an important piece of the overall study abroad picture at Carnegie Mellon. Each year, around 30 Carnegie Mellon students venture abroad on trips led and designed by faculty. Architectural studies and language and culture explorations form the backbone of these experiences at Carnegie Mellon, and several well-respected programs are long-standing and highly successful.

While faculty-led study abroad programs provide a valuable dimension to the student experience at Carnegie Mellon, it is important to note that faculty members who lead them accept responsibility for students’ well-being while abroad and spend significant time and energy in pre-planning and in carrying out logistical details while abroad. Even experienced faculty members who are accustomed to the role of classroom instructor may find the additional role of travel agent, bookkeeper, security guard, first aid administrator, confidante, social planner, and emergency responder to be a challenging task.
In support of faculty-led study abroad programs, OIE staff can advise faculty leaders, direct interested students, support administrative functions and conduct targeted pre-departure orientation sessions (required for all study abroad participants). All participants in Short-term Organized International Travel (STO-IT) are required to submit and sign electronic materials via the CMU Study Abroad Portal prior to departure. For more information or to arrange a pre-departure orientation session, contact a study abroad staff member.

Planning & Preparation

Create Program

After reading the Guide for Short Term Programs (pdf), faculty should plan, write and submit a program proposal. If this will be a credit bearing opportunity, faculty must follow the New Academic Program Process (NAPP).

Organize Logistics

Determine costs, establish a budget, set per-student cost, and plan travel arrangements, lodging, transport, etc.

Publicize & Inform

Publicize program, recruit students, establish deadlines for deposits, and finalize participants. Prepare comprehensive student and parent information packets and distribute in a timely manner. Be sure to carefully articulate risk issues and prepare student forms, including liability waivers.

Conduct Pre-Departure Orientation

Conduct group orientation with a study abroad advisor, or send students to OIE’s pre-departure orientation. Pre-departure orientations are madatory for all students wishing to travel abroad.