Faculty-led International Programs

Short-term faculty-led programs are those for which the academic instruction and guidance is provided by Rensselaer faculty in an international location. These programs are typically 2-3 weeks in duration and are part of a fall course, with the international instruction in December/January, or a spring course with the international instruction in May/June or over spring break. Faculty may also opt to develop a non-credit research or experiential program. 


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Getting Started

Thank you for your interest in leading a short-term program abroad.  The Office of International Programs (OIP) looks forward to working with you to throughout the process of planning and implementing a successful program.

In support  of faculty-led study abroad, the Office of International Programs (OIP) can advise and assist faculty leaders, recruit students, support administrative functions, assist with development of program fee,  coordinate application process, assist with site-specific  pre-departure orientation sessions, manage parent inquires and communicate with Procurement, Risk Management, and other Rensselaer offices.

Please take a few moments to review the information below.  When you are ready to discuss your program proposal, please complete and submit a Faculty Interest Form (see below).  Please note that it typically takes a year from initial planning to program implementation.

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Why Lead a Group of Students Abroad?

Faculty-led study abroad programs offer students the opportunity to participate in an overseas experience that is directly linked to their Rensselaer coursework, as well as the security of travelling with someone whom they know and respect. The short duration of these programs provides an opportunity for study abroad to students who may not otherwise be able to fit an international experience into their undergraduate years.  Faculty have the opportunity to interact with students in an engaging and meaningful way.  Faculty also may have the opportunity to integrate their own international research agenda with the delivery of a course abroad.


Program Structure

Short-term faculty-led study-abroad programs give Rensselaer faculty the opportunity to offer academic instruction in an international location. Programs typically range from 10 days to 3 weeks in length and are generally offered as part of a semester course. Faculty-led programs are custom-designed to meet the needs of the instructor and the goals of the course, and can include site visits, meetings with local students, volunteer experiences and other forms of academic and cultural immersion.

The Summer Arch will provide increased opportunities for faculty-led study abroad as part of the summer curriculum (for credit) or as part of the Semester Away experience (not for credit).

Program Logistics

Depending on the proposed program location and level of faculty familiarity with the host country, in-country arrangements might be made by the faculty member, by a partner institution or by a third party study abroad program provider.

Program Approval

Faculty-led study abroad proposals are reviewed by Institute Risk Management to ensure that certain conditions are met to ensure participant welfare.  Working with OIP staff, faculty will be asked to provide detailed information about program logistics.  

Program Cost and Faculty Expenses

Faculty travel and program related expenses are covered by the student program fee. The student fee will also include in-country expenses such as accommodation, meals, local transportation, activities and supplies. The program fee may also include international airfare and visas.


Faculty Responsibilities

In leading a study abroad program, faculty are responsible for managing both the academic and personal welfare of the students who participate in the program. Faculty responsibilities include:

Prior to Departure
  • Planning a comprehensive academic program which enhances the course to which it is connected
  • Assisting with the development of the program fee
  • Promoting the program and recruiting students
  • Participating in a pre-departure orientation meeting


While Abroad
  • Serving as the main point of contact for students while abroad, and providing students with a 24 hour emergency contact number which they may use to reach you
  • Communicating with Rensselaer in the event of an emergency and documenting the events
  • Travelling with the group from the U.S. to the host destination on a group flight or meeting the group at a designated in-country location
  • Remaining with the group and in-country until the official end date of the program
  • Keeping a record of all program-related expenses
Upon Return
  • Submitting an expense report
  • Submitting final course grade for each participant (when international experience is part of a semester course)
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Course Registration and Grading 

Typically, faculty-led study abroad is an optional component of a course, and students may register either for the campus course only OR for the campus course with the study abroad component. At the discretion of the faculty member, students who have registered for the SA section of the course may be released from the last several weeks of the course (i.e. the amount of time that will be spent abroad), as well as excused from certain assignments. It is expected that the study abroad component is an integral academic part of the course for those students who have enrolled in the SA option. As such, grades for students in the SA section should not be assigned until after the completion of the international component of the course.

File Collection

Faculty Interest Form

Proposals should be initiated at least a year in advance of the anticipated program date.  This will give OIP staff sufficient time to assist with the logistics and organization necessary for a successful program.