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Developing a Program Abroad

The Study Abroad Office (SAO) partners with academic departments and faculty to offer high quality, academically relevant study abroad programs. These options offer UNC courses taught by UNC professors to a group of UNC students. While most current faculty-led programs run during the summer, semester and spring break programs are also feasible. Faculty-led study abroad programs enrich the curriculum, create global opportunities for students, and provide assurances to students, parents, and the campus community that the program will be of high quality.

Faculty-led programs are intended to expand study abroad opportunities for Carolina students in a wide range of academic disciplines and locations. Faculty-led programs frequently are a student’s first experience abroad, allowing faculty to serve as mentors, role-models, and resources as students explore their host country and culture. These programs provide many benefits to both students and faculty.

  • UNC courses taught in an international context while fulfilling major or minor requirements
  • Smaller, more intimate classes
  • Additional support, especially appealing to students who may not have traveled before
  • Opportunity to teach abroad
  • Using the location as an extension of the classroom
  • Smaller class size enables getting to know students more and tailoring content and pace as needed
  • International networking opportunities for future research and scholarship opportunities

The Role of Faculty

Our experienced staff work collaboratively with faculty throughout the process, from program development through return. While the Study Abroad Office coordinates the administrative components of the program, faculty program directors play an important role in ensuring the success of their program. Leading a program abroad is more than just teaching a course! Faculty program directors have the opportunity to expand learning outside the classroom through the types of courses and excursions included in the program. While faculty are already experienced as instructors on campus, many find that their role is significantly different while abroad, as students look to them for support in dealing with homesickness and the process of cultural adjustment. In addition, there are many specific processes, requirements, and liability issues program directors are responsible for. Prior to departure, our staff will offer a workshop to help prepare you for the time abroad and understand all the activities associated with leading a program.

Faculty wanting to teach abroad on a faculty-led program have three options:

  1. Develop a new program
  2. Add a course to an existing program
  3. Teach an existing course on an existing program in rotation with other faculty

Workshop: Developing and Leading a Study Abroad Program

A workshop for prospective faculty program directors. Faculty interested in leading a program abroad should attend an informational workshop. Click here for more information on the workshops and upcoming sessions.

Proposing a program

  • the academic connection to the potential host location.
  • level of student exposure to the host culture.
  • costs: faculty-led study abroad programs are self-supporting, meaning that all cost associated with the program are passed along to the student as a program fee.
  • minimum enrollment: in order to maximize resources and provide affordable programs for students, a minimum enrollment of 10 students will be required.
  • health & safety: it is vital to keep in mind the health and safety of both students and faculty while abroad. The University’s Policy Concerning Global Study, Travel, and Research does not permit travel to certain countries and areas based on the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory system.
Programs offered during the Summer term have the following options:

Academic Credit:

  • Varying options of 3 credits (3 – 4 weeks) to 6 credits (5 – 7 weeks)
  • 12.5 contact hours per credit, which includes class time and course related activities

Program Structure:

  • You can serve as the sole professor leading the program
  • Co-teach with other UNC faculty or from the host location abroad
  • Paired with a course taught at the host institution
  • Can include experiential opportunities such as internships, service-learning, or research

Program Timing:

  • Programs abroad can be offered at any point during the summer term and do not have to fall during UNC summer terms.
  • focus on unique curricular needs not met by current study abroad programs
  • meet academic department curricular requirements and priorities, allowing students to fulfill major or minor requirements towards graduation
  • contribute to the goal of increasing diversity in participation by drawing students from underrepresented populations that have not traditionally considered studying abroad, such as athletes, first-generation, students of color, non-traditional majors, or veterans
  • accessible for those students facing financial or personal constraints (family obligations, etc.) that prevent them from participating on longer duration study abroad programs
  • create opportunities in non-traditional locations or other options abroad not currently a part of the Study Abroad Office portfolio

Proposal Submission Process

Faculty interested in proposing a NEW program are invited to complete a full Program Proposal through our online portal. The Proposal consists of the following components:
  1. Faculty Program Director Agreement: outlines the roles and responsibilities of leading a study abroad program
  2. Program Info: dates, location, rationale, and learning objectives for the program
  3. Academics: details regarding the proposed academic offerings for the program, including itinerary, number of contact hours (classroom and experiential), excursions & activities, and a draft syllabus
  4. Location Information: details and rationale about the proposed location(s) of a program
  5. Faculty Background: info and bio about faculty program leader
  6. Health & Safety: addressing any potential safety, risk, and health issues that exist in the proposed location
  7. Letter of Support: from department chair detailing how the proposed program meets departmental curricular requirements and priorities

Faculty interested in proposing a course to be added to an existing program are invited to complete an abbreviated Program Proposal through our online portal.

Review Process

Steps in the review process:

1 Program Proposal submitted by the following deadlines

New Programs (for consideration for summer 2025)

May 1: Applications open

November 1: Proposals are due

Adding a course to an existing program (for consideration for summer 2024)

May 1: Applications open

March 20: Proposals are due

2 Study Abroad Office staff review and select viable proposals

3 Selected proposals forwarded to Study Abroad Advisory Board for review and approval (new programs only)

4 Approved programs submitted to the College of Arts & Sciences Administrative Board for review and approval (new programs only)

5 Study Abroad Office and faculty program director finalize program development

View the Faculty-led Program Development Timeline for more details.

Please note the following:

  • This is a competitive process based on the items posted above, and not all proposals will be accepted.
  • Incomplete or incorrectly submitted proposals will not be considered.

Academic Year 2022-23 update

We are not currently accepting faculty-led study abroad program proposals. Please complete the short form below to notify us of your interest in developing and leading a study abroad program. We will send you some preliminary information and we will contact you when we are once again accepting proposals.
Submit Interest Form

More Information

For more information, please contact Ken Nesbett, Program Director via email ( or 919.962.7002.