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Guidelines for Proposals

The President of Indiana University has authorized the Overseas Study Advisory Council to approve or disapprove all proposals for any type of study abroad or international activity organized for IU students, whether or not for credit. The major criteria applied in evaluating proposals for new programs are academic quality, cultural enrichment, student costs, impact on existing programs, administrative efficiency, financial solvency, and student health and safety. Proposals are usually prepared by one or more faculty members with assistance from the Office of Overseas Study, the campus international programs office, and their home department(s).

In cases where the IU unit is making arrangements for research, short-term conference attendance, brief performances or visits, use a modified version of the proposal outline and guidelines available here

Please note, if students are traveling abroad alone, based on a faculty or staff members' recommendation or encouragement but without their direct involvement, no proposal is needed, even if the students have IU funding to support their travel.

All proposals should follow the rest of the instructions below.

The Approval Process

Draft proposals for new programs are first submitted to the Office of Overseas Study for a preliminary review by an experienced staff, who can answer questions about program organization, budgets, credits and university regulations. They can help identify problems or ambiguities so that the proposal is clear and complete. IUPUI International Affairs and IUSB international programs offices also provide assistance for their campuses and require approval of proposal drafts.

Most proposals for new programs will be reviewed by the Overseas Study Advisory Council (OSAC), or a subcommittee thereof. The faculty sponsor may be asked to meet with the members of the Council to discuss the proposal. Programs are approved with the proviso that the sponsor must adhere to the monitoring process in order to receive reauthorization for the program.

Program designs can vary significantly, and could include short-term, stand alone programs (during a summer term or a semester/winter break), semester-long courses with some component overseas (spring or fall break or after the end of term), long-term (semester or academic year) study abroad, or other models. Courses could be designed for limited audiences (a select group of pre-determined students) or open to students across schools or campuses; offered as non-credit or for credit. If the proposed program involves a bilateral exchange, please follow these instructions regarding the application process for partnership agreements before submitting a proposal for consideration by the Overseas Study Advisory Council. Demonstrating approval for the institutional partnership is a necessary component of your proposal.

Deadlines for Submission of Proposals

Proposals may be submitted to the Office of Overseas Study at any time. They should be submitted via the iAbroad portal; under Program Management, select "Start New Program Proposal". (New users should use the Departmental Access Request Form to request access in advance of initiating a proposal.) Estimated time for completion of the review and approval process is a minimum of 30 days.

Advance planning is essential. The Overseas Study Advisory Council must approve all proposals before any recruiting, advertising, or scheduling for the proposed program begins. Organizers should recognize and consider the time required to obtain necessary course approvals, guarantees of financial support, and to make the necessary logistical arrangements both here and overseas.

Ideally, the planning process should begin 12 to 15 months in advance of an academic program’s projected start date. Non-credit international activities (conference attendance, research project, internship opportunity, music performance, etc.) should begin the proposal process as soon as the activity has been identified.

Preparing the Proposal

Completed proposals must include a clear description, following the guidelines outlined below.

Supporting Letters

Proposals should be accompanied by two letters, addressed to the IU Associate Vice President for Overseas Study: one from the chairperson or division head, and one from the Dean (IUB and IUPUI) or Chancellor (other IU campuses) of the sponsoring faculty member. These letters should confirm:

  1. that the proposed program has been approved by the faculty member’s academic unit and by the relevant college, school or campus;
  2. that the proposal is considered a valuable academic program which will enhance their course offerings;
  3. that the faculty member has demonstrated strong leadership, been a good role model and would be capable of responding to a crisis on site, with examples that would speak to these skills (see description of the position responsibilities); and
  4. what the department’s financial contribution to the program will be, if any. (The salaries and reasonable travel-related expenses for accompanying faculty directors/instructors may be provided by the home department/school and/or included in the budget based on student fees.)
After the Program is Approved

Once OSAC approves the program for its first occurrence, the resident director or coordinator should contact Overseas Study to obtain IU student Agreement and Release Forms and for access to appropriate student insurance while abroad.

Continuing Program Authorization

After each program occurrence, the program sponsor must submit a written report (see Guidelines for Resident Director Reports) and evaluations from all student participants to Overseas Study so that continuing program approval can be considered. For more information about OSAC's program evaluation policy and continuing program authorization, please see the Overseas Study Program Evaluation Policy.

Resource Materials

Indiana University is a member of The Forum on Education Abroad and supports its Standards of Good Practice. Forum members developed these standards for the field so that there would be an agreed-upon set of best practices on all aspects of study abroad, including student selection, academics, policies and procedures, health and safety, ethics and integrity, etc. These can guide you as you develop your program.

IU has created an abbreviated outline of the Standards. For the full set of Standards and queries, see the Forum on Education Abroad Web site.

Proposal Outline

Follow detailed instructions to prepare a proposal. Consult the Office of Overseas Study for assistance and guidance.

Our daily lives are so different from people across the globe. To learn about how other people live their lives, it makes you think about how you want to live your life. It’s character building.”

-Maggie Brinley, IU Overseas Study Participant, Spain