Led Study Abroad Programs Policy

New: January 26, 2004

Subject:                                      Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs Policy                           

Policy:                                        Guidelines for Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs for Montana State University-Bozeman

Introduction and Purpose:

Participation in faculty-led group study abroad programs has been growing dramatically over the last decade at institutions across the United States and at MSU-Bozeman.  National survey data on study abroad participation reveals a five-fold increase in these programs since the mid-90s.  Montana State University encourages academic departments and individual members of the faculty to provide study, research and other academically relevant opportunities involving international travel for students through programs organized and led by MSU faculty.  Such programs can provide valuable learning opportunities for students as well as giving faculty the opportunity to further their own international expertise, research interests, etc. 

Given the growing importance of these programs and increasing attention being placed on health and safety in education abroad, it is essential for the University to have appropriate mechanisms to monitor these programs.  It is not the intent of these policies to limit or curtail faculty from conducting student international programs.  Indeed, it is MSU's intention to encourage and expand faculty involvement in leading groups of students abroad for academic purposes and the University has implemented steps to make such programs more desirable from a faculty perspective. 

The following guidelines apply to all programs involving faculty members or staff leading student groups abroad for educational purposes:

100.00       Policy

All faculty-led programs sponsored by Montana State University must meet the highest standards of academic integrity.  It is the responsibility of each academic department conducting such programs to ensure that these standards are met.  However, taking groups of students abroad also entails risks and the University must ensure that programs are conducted so as to protect the health and safety of students to the greatest extent possible.  The following policies have been established for these purposes.


Academic departments and faculty are strongly urged to conduct their programs involving international student group travel in cooperation with the Special Programs Division of the Office of International Programs.   The Special Programs staff will support compliance with these policies and will provide valuable assistance to faculty group leaders in the conduct of such programs, enabling faculty to concentrate their attention on the academic dimensions of the program.

200.00     Procedure

Faculty intending to lead a group of students abroad must complete and submit a Request to Lead a Student Group Program Abroad form to the Assistant Vice Provost for International Education.  This request must be submitted:  1) no later than 60 days prior to departure, or 2) before final travel or other non-refundable commitments are made, whichever is earlier.


Any program involving groups traveling to or through any country for which a U.S. State Department or a Centers for Disease Control Travel Advisory is in effect must be reviewed and approved by the MSU International Travel Safety Review Committee, comprised of the Assistant Vice Provost for International Education, the University LegalCounsel,  the MSU Risk Manager, a representative of Student Health Services, and a faculty member appointed by the Provost.  The Assistant Vice Provost for International Education may require other programs to seek approval from this Committee if there appears to be substantial potential risk to participants (e.g. programs involving potentially dangerous physical activities or programs which do not appear to have made adequate preparations to ensure the safety of participants).


Faculty intending to lead a student group abroad must provide a pre-departure orientation for participating students which includes health and safety precautions and information on access to medical and other emergency assistance during the trip.


Prior to departure, the following information must be submitted to the Assistant Vice Provost for International Education:

  1. A detailed itinerary providing contact information at all destinations,
  2. Documentation that all participants are covered by appropriate health insurance which includes emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage,
  3. A list of all participants, including emergency contact information, and
  4. A copy of the page from each participant's passport which includes their picture and passport number.