University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of ACES
ACES Academic Programs
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For Faculty & Advisors

Propose a New Program

Faculty-Led Program Proposals

ACES faculty who are interested in developing and leading a new course abroad are strongly encouraged to meet with ACES Study Abroad staff as well as their unit's executive officers to discuss their proposed course before submitting a proposal.  This process should begin 9-12 months in advance of the proposed program dates.

Faculty should keep the following in mind when designing a new course or adding an international travel component to an existing course:


All ACES faculty-led study abroad programs must provide students with clear academic goals and learning objectives that are tied to the study abroad location.

Global competency: While many humanities and social science courses naturally provide students with global perspectives and cultural context, it is equally important for science and other STEM disciplines to incorporate these into any study abroad course. Course instructors should ensure that in addition to field or lab work, STEM courses include instruction, excursions and cultural activities both on campus and abroad that will allow students to contextualize their studies and increase their global competency.

Course set-up: Most faculty-led courses are set up as a first or second eight-week fall or spring course, depending on the travel dates and academic goals of the course. For example, most courses that travel over winter break are set up as second eight-week fall semester courses so that the class can meet on campus throughout the second half of the semester leading up to the time abroad. ACES Study Abroad staff will work with each faculty member to determine how best to set up the course, depending on whether the bulk of the on-campus work should be completed before or after the time abroad.

The ACES Study Abroad office invites ACES faculty and staff members to work with their departments to develop short-term study abroad courses that will be listed under their department’s rubric. These courses should have a specific disciplinary focus and must be approved by the department head.


Program dates: Faculty-led courses travel abroad for anywhere from one week to one month over fall, winter, spring, or summer break.

Program leadership:  Every faculty-led study abroad program should aim to have two leaders or staff present for the entire duration of the time students are abroad. Faculty leaders may choose to co-lead a course with another faculty or staff member, employ a teaching or program assistant (usually an advanced graduate student) to accompany the group, or hire an in-country program assistant. ACES Study Abroad staff and academic advisors may accompany a group and can serve as the second leader.  Preferably, program leaders will be able to offer subject matter expertise and location expertise for the program proposed.

Candidates with a current instruction and/or advising appointment with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus in one of the following employment categories are eligible to lead short courses abroad.

  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty
  • Specialized faculty (PhD preferred)
  • Emeritus faculty
  • Academic professionals (master’s required, PhD preferred)

Graduate students are not eligible to direct a program abroad, although co-teaching may be considered.  

Working with in-country agencies and partners: Many faculty choose to work with institutions based in-country. These agencies can be travel agents who arrange in-country transportation and logistics for the group, third-party providers that provide logistical and program development support in-country, academic and research institutions that provide classroom or lab space, or Illinois partners (usually universities we have exchange agreements with) who may provide some combination of classroom space, logistical support, housing, and more.

Program Proposal

Faculty and Staff who are interested in running a program over the winter break, spring break or summer must complete an online pre-proposal planning form by August 1 for the following academic year. It is strongly encouraged to set-up a meeting with the Assistant Director of Study Abroad early on in the planning process. We recommend a minimum of 12 months advance notice to run a program.

Selection and review process

All ACES Study Abroad course proposals are reviewed by an appointed college-level international programs committee. ACES departmental proposals are reviewed first by the department head and by ACES Academic Programs leadership. All proposals must be reviewed and approved by International Safety & Security and ACES Study Abroad.

International Safety and Security staff review all in-country program logistics and may advise on changes to itineraries based on travel warnings and security concerns.

Proposal selection criteria are as follows:

  • Clear academic learning objectives tied to the program location
  • Course should provide same academic standards and rigor to equivalent on-campus courses
  • Program director has strong connection to and knowledge of the program site

ACES Study Abroad support services

ACES Study Abroad will assist with student recruitment and course promotion through the creation of flyers and informational materials, hosting study abroad fairs and advising sessions, and email announcements to students and advisors. While ACES Study Abroad can assist in recruiting students, it is generally the case that the faculty member is more persuasive in the recruitment process. Therefore, we will work with you to create a plan to promote your course widely and make sure eligible students are aware of the opportunity and have all the information they need to apply.

ACES Study Abroad also manages the application cycle for you. Our staff creates the study abroad course application within the campus-wide My Study Abroad system and manages student inquiries throughout the process. 

For faculty-led courses abroad, the faculty leader is responsible for reviewing all complete applications and selecting a final list of accepted students. If appropriate, ACES Study Abroad will request a ranked wait list for a course. Each course is different and has different prerequisites so each faculty leader may set their criteria accordingly.

Pre-departure activities and resources

ACES Study Abroad staff works closely with each faculty leader to arrange program logistics and ensure faculty have the resources they need to lead a group abroad. Our office offers pre-departure workshops for students that cover country-specific information, safety and security, and identity discrimination abroad. ACES Study Abroad staff also offer pedagogy and instructional design consultations to assist faculty best adapt their courses to a short-term study abroad experience.

International safety and security

All faculty and program leaders are required to attend a pre-departure safety & security workshop with the Office of International Safety and Security. For more information on upcoming workshops, please contact Andrew Collum.

All faculty members should review the comprehensive international safety & security resources located on the Illinois International website. There, you'll find information on insurance, training, and resources, as well as emergency information for while you are abroad.


Semester Study Abroad Program Proposals

  • Criteria (Student to Student Exchange).
  • Quality and prominence of the partner school.
  • Is this a school we should consider being affiliated with?  We need to consider the reputation/activity of the school so we are comfortable aligning courses and students together.
  • Geographical distribution around the world.
  • How many agreements are currently in the same country, region, city? Do we need another one?
  • Level of activity w/possible exchange school (grad/u-grad/faculty).
  • Current faculty involvement w/school (department or admin).
  • Course/research related?
  • Potential interest of ACES students. How will balances be maintained i.e., interest in ACES students going abroad?
  • Are there any existing formal relationships? Can they be joined (why/why not?) What is the difference from the existing relationship?
  • Uniqueness of program. What will be offered to students to make the program stand out (to students and college)?
  • Scope of proposed agreement. What ACES areas/departments will it accommodate?
  • When considering an exchange, ACES typically prefers to be able to invite students from all disciplines to participate. Priority or a set number of slots can be given to the specific department requesting the exchange. 
  • The advantage to ACES Faculty of the proposed activity.

Process to Establish an Exchange Agreement

Please note that student exchange agreements are legally binding documents, and require us to commit finances in terms of tuition and partial fee waivers. They differ from the Research MOU which does not commit financial resources.

  • Submit proposal to the Director of Study Abroad Programs in ACES that includes the above information.
  • After submitting the Director will respond with questions and to suggest a meeting for further discussion.
  • If proposal is accepted, the Director will follow-up with questionnaire regarding specific information for host site.
  • Once all information is received, the Director will initiate the process to establish the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
  • A draft of the MOA will be distributed to ACES faculty and requested partner to verify content.
  • Once approved a final MOA (with any suggested changes/updates) will be sent to host institution for signature.
  • ACES Study Abroad will then set up a program application in the application system for students to apply.


Arlys Conrad International Teaching Enhancement Award Program

The purpose of the ARLYS CONRAD International Teaching Enhancement Award program is to encourage the teaching faculty of the College of ACES to integrate international content and education abroad experiences, into new and existing curricula. Awards ($500 to $10,000) will be provided to develop and implement unique and promising international education enhancement activities by faculty members. This program is funded by the ARLYS CONRAD Endowment gifted to the College of ACES in 2009.

Begin the Application Process

Note: All applicants must ask their department or unit head to endorse their proposal and provide information on how the department plans to offer and sustain the course.

Timeline *The Arlys Conrad Teaching Enhancement Award Grant has been suspended for fall 2019; watch back in spring 2020 for an RFP announcement.

RFP is announced

  October 1

Proposals are due

  November 1

Proposals are reviewed

November 1-20

Notification of awards

  December 2

Proposals must be submitted (electronically) no later than 5 p.m. on the due date. The number of proposals funded will depend on the quality of the proposals and the overall level of funds available. Please email with any questions.


Advising Students on Study Abroad

Students studying abroad are required to obtain course approvals from their departments and College prior to departure. Students in the College of ACES may study abroad (or participate in an international activity) from 1-2 weeks to an academic year.

There are a large number of courses (2500+) that have been taken by students who have studied abroad during a summer, semester, or academic year. These courses have been reviewed by faculty and staff across campus and are approved for various usage from open electives, degree and general education requirements.

For a listing of previously approved and taken study abroad courses, log in to the study abroad course database at My.ACES Portal . This section will provide you information on courses that have been approved for study abroad. Please read directions carefully.

Faculty/advisors will also have an opportunity to make comments or notes on specific courses on this site.

General Rules in completing the Course Approval Summary Form (CASF)

Specific instructions and rules regarding the course approval process can be found by clicking HERE.

Education Abroad & International Travel Policies

Campus Policies

International Safety & Security

International Insurance Enrollment Options for faculty/staff, graduate students, and undergraduates traveling abroad on independent research or conference travel: