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Study Abroad
Proposing a Program

Proposing a Departmental Program

The Center for Global Education (CGE) encourages all academic departments to identify strong study abroad options that can be integrated into their undergraduate majors and/or minors.  We already offer over 160 programs in over 50 countries, and are happy to meet with departmental representatives to identify existing opportunities in a particular subject area.  We strongly encourage setting up a preliminary meeting with the Director and Assistant Director of CGE to discuss the feasibility of any new partnerships.  Please review the guidelines, program proposal forms, and review process timeline below prior to a meeting.  

There are two main options for developing a departmental study abroad program: semester or short-term.  Semester opportunities will be with a partner university or program, and should provide courses that will count towards departmental requirements so that majors and/or minors stay on track with their curriculum.  Short-term programs are either led by a department faculty member or members, sometimes with the help of graduate student assistants, or are a partnership with a foreign university or program.  A departmental short-term program should count towards a specific departmental requirement or requirements.  Such programs may take place in the Summer, Winter, or as an Embedded Program during either the Fall or Spring semesters.  

Semester programs
CGE already has partnerships with many top-ranked universities all over the world, so please consult with us before moving ahead with a new university partner.  If a new partnership is warranted, it should be determined – usually in consultation with the partner – whether it will be a reciprocal student exchange, a study abroad fee-paying program, or a third-party provider program.  

Reciprocal student exchange
In the case of a reciprocal student exchange, the departments at both schools commit to sending a specific number of students to the partner university for a certain period of time, typically either for the fall or spring semesters.  RU students pay home tuition and fees as well as a study abroad administrative fee.  Room and board expenses are usually paid directly to the partner university.  While this can often be a more economical option, it is usually capped at a certain limited number of students.  It also often works best for independent-minded students, as they will be enrolling directly into a foreign university.  

It is critical in the case of an exchange program to identify a set of courses that will fulfill requirements for students at both institutions.  These courses should be vetted to ensure that they are at the appropriate level, that any pre-requisites can be met, and that they are available in English and in the appropriate semester for RU students.  Please note that CGE covers the cost of tuition for the incoming international exchange student with the expectation that the outgoing RU student’s tuition will offset that expense.  If the pathway for RU students to go on the exchange is not clear and easy, they will not participate, and the exchange cannot go forward.  Examples of discipline-specific reciprocal exchanges are the programs in Business and in Engineering with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.  

CGE manages the application, enrollment, and advising process for both outgoing and incoming exchange students.  Sponsoring departments are asked to actively support and advertise the exchange, help recruit students, assess course equivalencies, and – when necessary – review application transcripts.  Departments should make an effort to welcome incoming international exchange students into the life of the department, and should be willing to give them priority in course enrollment.  

Study Abroad Fee-Paying
Many universities have a visiting student program that allows foreign students to enroll in courses for a semester outside of the parameters of an exchange.  In such a case the partner university charges their visiting-student tuition and fees, which would be billed to RU students through CGE, in addition to the study abroad administrative fee.  The cost of this option should be compared with RU tuition and fees; if the visiting-student fee is less expensive, this option will be more cost effective than a reciprocal exchange.  This option also allows for greater student mobility, as there is often no cap on the number of students that can enroll.  Examples of discipline-specific study abroad fee-paying programs are the Trinity Laban School of Dance and the Trinity Laban School of Music.  

Third-Party Provider
Another opportunity is to work with a third-party program provider that either mediates a student’s enrollment in a local university or offers a set of its own courses taught in English.  This option is often the most expensive, but provides the greatest amount of student support on the ground.  This may be necessary if a program is sought in a country where the local universities do not teach in English and/or do not provide adequate support.  Many providers offer generous scholarship packages to participants, so this should be factored in when looking at cost.  Examples of such programs are CIEE Liberal Arts in Sao Paolo, Brazil or AMIDEAST in Amman, Jordan.  

Short-Term Programs
Short-term programs are typically faculty-led, though partner university programs are also a possibility.  Such programs can be the easiest way to integrate study abroad into an academic curriculum, as the threshold for participation is lower than for semester programs.  Departments should think carefully about how best to embed such a program into a major and/or minor in order to ensure healthy enrollments.  Short-term programs can be offered in summer term, winter term, or during either the fall or spring semester as an embedded program.  

When developing short-term programs, it is best to have several faculty members involved so that the program’s continuity does not rest on only one person.  Consideration should also be given to meaningful ways to integrate the host country into the academic program.  In addition to traditional classroom-based programs, CGE offers the possibility of developing service learning programs abroad that emphasize community involvement and work with NGOs (see the section on Service Learning Programs below). 

Summer and Winter Term Programs
Summer term programs range in length from 2 weeks to 8 weeks, and usually offer from 3 to 8 credits.  Please note that a minimum of 6 credits is needed in order for students to be eligible for financial aid during the summer, and for a summer study abroad program to fulfill one course towards Core Group A: 21st Century Challenges.  Summer term programs can begin at any time after the end of the spring semester.  It is best to coordinate program dates with the Summer Session calendar, so that students can opt to enroll in one of the summer session programs before or after returning from abroad.   Winter term programs range in length from 2-3 weeks and typically offer 3 credits.  Programs will start late December or early January.  Some limited scholarship funding is available through CGE; departments are strongly encouraged to offer scholarship funds for their majors/minors.  Examples are the Art History department’s summer programs in Rome and Paris or the French Department’s winter language program in Aix-en-Provence.  

Embedded Fall or Spring semester Programs
CGE now offers the possibility of a 1-2 week program as part of a semester-long course in either the fall or the spring.  During the fall semester, the abroad component would take place during the winter break, and during the spring semester the abroad component could take place during spring break or after the semester is over in late May or June.  This option requires advanced planning as the program cost must be linked to the course as a course fee.  It is also possible to develop this option as a 1-credit seminar that can be linked to an existing 3-credit course.  The benefit of embedded programs is that there is no additional credit charged to the students, as there is for Summer and Winter programs.  Examples of this type of program are the SAS Honors Program seminars in Ireland and Mexico, both of which run over spring break.  

Service Learning Abroad Programs
Service Learning Abroad programs combine aspects of study abroad with community-based learning, research, and service.  These programs place unique emphasis on experiential learning, engaging students beyond classroom walls in collaborative community settings with local partner organizations.  Through community engagement paired with regular guided reflection, students are compelled to make meaning of their experiences, acquiring course-specific content but also reckoning with challenging questions of power, injustice, and inequality in a global context. 

While semester-long service learning opportunities do exist, Service Learning Abroad programs generally follow the short-term faculty-led model of study abroad.  Examples are Culture and Community Health in Oaxaca, Mexico and Research in Action in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Center for Global Education has developed a conceptual framework to guide the design and delivery of Service Learning Abroad programs at Rutgers.  Faculty interested in proposing new service learning programs should familiarize themselves with the core principles and learning outcomes outlined in this framework. 

Program Review and Approval Process

After a preliminary meeting with CGE, the appropriate Departmental Program Proposal Form should be submitted as early as possible.  Please download the appropriate form below:

Semester Program Proposal Form
Short-term Program Proposal Form
Service Learning Abroad Program Proposal Form 

A preliminary syllabus and itinerary should be submitted along with the Short-term or Service Learning Abroad Program Proposal Forms for any faculty-led programs.  Please be aware that program review, approval, and development require a minimum of six months before the program is formally launched on our website, and an additional six months for advertising the program and enrolling students.  For this reason program proposals are due over a year from the program start-date.

All proposals go through an internal CGE review process.  During this stage, CGE will go through a detailed checklist, and will likely come back to the department and/or proposed program partner with questions or issues.  Once the necessary information has been collected, the proposal is brought forward for review by the Study Abroad Faculty Committee.  Please note that the Committee meets only once a semester, so it’s important to plan ahead.   Depending on the findings of the Committee, a site visit and/or additional information may be required.  

Successful proposals will address:
  • Integration into specific major and/or minor programs through fulfillment of specific requirements
  • Integration into other University requirements, such as the Core
  • Opportunities for meaningful cultural immersion, including unique opportunities to connect with institutions and specialists in the relevant subject area, opportunities for service learning, internships, language practice, volunteering, and/or research
  • Any safety and health concerns in the city, country, and region
  • Contacts with reputable universities, programs, or providers
  • Possible financial incentives, such as student scholarships or program subvention
Program Proposal Review and Approval Timeline