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University Policies

Development & Operation of Study Abroad Programs

Policy Purpose

PDF Version for Print

The purpose of this policy is to specify requirements related to study abroad activities.

Policy Statement
  1. ETSU’s international educational programs will follow policies and procedures consistent with the best practice standards established through the Forum on Education Abroad as recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as the standards development organization for education abroad. ETSU’s International Advisory Council (IAC) must approve ETSU faculty-led programs.

    Regardless of the provider, global study opportunities should be comparable in contact hours to those expected of students taking courses on ETSU campuses.

  2. Programs abroad should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when possible. Issues related to reasonable accommodation should be resolved after a student with a disability is accepted into an international educational experience but before the student departs on the trip. ETSU may, however, restrict participation in an international program for students or faculty determined to be at excessive medical risk or with serious physical constraints.

  3. All students and faculty participating in study abroad must show proof of medical insurance that covers medical treatment outside of U.S. borders at a minimum of $500,000 per accident or sickness as well as evacuation and repatriation insurance at a combined minimum of $50,000.

  4. ETSU faculty teaching abroad have the right to take disciplinary action, including expulsion of students, using the same Code of Conduct and processes of action and appeal as those in place on the ETSU campus. Complaints of disruptive behavior, harassment, or discrimination must be reported to the Office of International Programs and Services. Faculty teaching an ETSU course abroad have the right to review student records prior to approving the class roster.

  5. If an ETSU course is taught abroad by an instructor not employed by ETSU, or hired as part of a consortial arrangement with an institution outside the U.S., the ETSU faculty member proposing the course and his/her department chair must ensure that the instructor meets the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) credential requirements.

  6. Students engaging in international programs that are not part of agreements in place with ETSU must secure transfer agreements prior to taking courses. Teaching faculty must meet SACSCOC credential requirements.

  7. Admission to all ETSU –led International Education Programs/Study Abroad courses is based on a minimum GPA of 2.5 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students; faculty leading ETSU courses may post other requirements for eligibility and limit the number of participants in the class. International study opportunities outside ETSU may have different requirements.

  8. Participation in ETSU study abroad programs (credit only) is limited to students enrolled in the program and to ETSU faculty or academic staff. The IAC does not recommend allowing family members to accompany a faculty/staff member on study abroad.  In special circumstances, faculty members may request that the Office of Human Resources approve that spouses, domestic partners, or minor children accompany them on the trip. In this case, the faculty must submit an “Assumption of Risk” form to the International Advisory Council (IAC) along with the course proposal for approval. Minor children are permitted to accompany the faculty member only  if

    • there is a second faculty/academic staff member participating in the program,

    • there is a secondary 24-hour caregiver for the minor (may be a spouse), and

    • the caregiver is maintained throughout the duration of the program.

      The following restrictions also apply.

    • If both parents are ETSU employees in service to the study abroad program, their children are not eligible to accompany them unless there is a secondary 24-hour caregiver for the minor.

    • Accompanying family members should not advise or counsel students during the program.

    • Travel arrangements for any accompanying family member will not be made by ETSU.

    • ETSU employees must comply with the travel policy for family member expenses. Travel expenses, including but not limited to, insurance, transportation, lodging, meals, or registration fees, etc., for spouses, minor children, or secondary 24-hour caregivers will not be reimbursed.

    • Spouses, domestic partners, and children cannot accompany students in the class.
  9. ETSU Faculty
    1. Must complete the Office of International Programs’ online orientation/training for faculty with international program responsibilities.

    2. Are governed by the same policies that define faculty and academic staff rights and responsibilities on the home campus.

    3. Must act in accordance with the laws of the host country and should make themselves aware of the local customs.

    4. Shall adhere to all applicable contracting requirements, including appropriate contract approval and legal review.

    5. ETSU faculty teaching abroad for TnCIS must submit an Adjunct Faculty Contract and travel authorization at ETSU to be forwarded to the TnCIS Office.
  10.  Financial
    1. Out-of-state students pay in-state tuition while on study abroad.
    2. Faculty compensation for summer sessions and intersession international education programs are not subject to ETSU’s policy on Faculty Compensation during Summer Session, Winter Session, and Intersessions
    3. Students cannot be charged for faculty travel expenses or salary outside of tuition-generated revenue.

In addition to ETSU faculty-led programs, students may enroll in other study abroad opportunities, including TnCis and ISEP. 

Tennessee Consortium for International Studies Programs (TnCIS)

TnCIS represents nineteen colleges and universities devoted to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education throughout the state of Tennessee. Their courses are taught by faculty in SACSCOC accredited Tennessee colleges/universities. ETSU accepts transfer credit for these international courses with prior approval. See policy on transfer credit.

International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP)

ISEP is one of the largest study abroad networks in the world, offering semester abroad programs (including summer) to member organizations like ETSU in over 50 countries. Students who meet the 2.75 GPA requirement and are interested in one semester or longer programs should work with the ETSU Study Abroad Coordinator and their academic advisor to choose an international program that fits their academic goals. ETSU accepts transfer credit when applicable. See policy on transfer credit.

Policy History

 Effective Date:  March 24, 2017
Revision Date:   September 21, 2018 (Board of Trustees)

  1. ETSU Faculty-led Programs

    1. Faculty-led programs are designed and approved for location in a country outside the U.S.

    2. Courses are approved by the faculty member’s department chair and given a specific course number (“Independent Study” and “Special Topics” courses are not approved for study abroad).

    3. The program proposal includes course logistics, budget, student costs, and course sustainability.

    4. The faculty member’s dean approves the budget.

    5. Course proposals are due to the International Advisory Council in September before a course takes place the following summer and by April 1 for winter session.

    6. The International Advisory Council (IAC) approves course logistics, student costs, and course sustainability.

    7. The IAC recommends that faculty teaching an ETSU course abroad receive compensation; however, it also realizes that the ability to cover salary is based on enrollment revenue and travel expenses.

      • Faculty compensation and payment of faculty expenses are based on course enrollment and tuition-generated revenue.

      • Faculty members and their department chairs and deans should discuss compensation before the course takes place, including course cancellation if the course revenue is insufficient to cover faculty compensation.
      • Faculty provide orientation for students participating in their faculty-led programs abroad.
    8. Faculty provide orientation for students participating in their faculty-led programs abroad.

    9. ETSU charges tuition and fees, receives student payments, administers financial aid, and registers and reports grades for ETSU faculty-led international programs in the same manner as for domestic programs. 
  2. Student Application Process 

    1. Students interested in study abroad should visit the ETSU Office of International Programs Study Abroad office for advice on international education opportunities and on eligibility requirements. 

    2. Students apply for study abroad through ETSU’s study-abroad online application system; there is a minimal application fee. 

    3. Students may apply through the Office of International Programs and Services for scholarships funded by International Education Fees. Students should also check with the Office of Financial Aid to see if they are eligible for other means of support for study abroad.
    4. Student participants and international program leaders complete program evaluation forms so that the Office of International Programs and Services can gather data on the effectiveness of recruitment, admissions, pre-departure orientation, the educational and personal value of the program and recommendations for continuation of the course in the future. Results are distributed to course instructors to support continuous improvement.
Procedure History

Effective Date:  March 24, 2017
Revision Date:  September 21, 2018 (Board of Trustees)

Related Form(s)

The following forms are available on the International Programs and Services website.

  • International Advisory Council Approval Request Form (to propose an ETSU faculty-led course)

  • Preliminary Study Abroad Budget Form

  • Assumption of Risk Form
Scope and Applicability





Responsible Official Responsible Office


International Programs & Services




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