CCAS STAP General Guidelines

Short-Term Abroad Programs (STAP) present a fantastic way to enhance the academic experience for both students and faculty. While traveling abroad together, groups can find new layers of knowledge and culture that they can then bring back and share with the GW community.

Some topics may seem like a natural fit for a study abroad course, such as studying Shakespeare in London or examining the history of WWII in Germany; however, the Office for Study Abroad encourages faculty across all disciplines to consider how to bring an international component to their courses.

Past GW Short-Term Abroad Programs have included Art Therapy in India, Music in Brazil, Education Policy in Turkey, Urban Sustainability in Panama, Health Management in Israel, and many more programs around the world.

For faculty members interested in creating courses with an overseas component for undergraduate or graduate students, please visit Submit AY21-22 STAP Programs.

Faculty-Led Short-Term Program Structure

  • Short-Term Abroad Programs are mostly offered as spring courses with an abroad experience during the Spring Break or in the Summer Semester. They typically contain an embedded abroad component that is part of an existing on-campus course.
  • Only in the Summer Semester may the entire course be allowed to take place abroad. A summer course that is hosted entirely abroad may offer online modules prior to travel to prepare students for the trip.
  • The course may cover topics offered in current curricula or explore new academic material.
  • Enrollment for a Short-Term Abroad Program in the Fall or Spring Semester need to have a 15 student minimum.

Designing a Program

  • Choose a topic: This is perhaps the most important step. What will peak student interest? How many students might be interested? Consider asking current students for their suggestions, and consider if the course will appeal to students outside your own home department.
  • Choose a location: Selecting a familiar location will make it easier to plan in-country logistics and advise students on safe and culturally-appropriate behavior. If you do not have expertise in the country, is there someone who can assist? Does the location enhance the course material? Is it a place students would be interested in visiting?
  • Choose the timing and duration: Is the course more appropriate embedded in a fall or spring semester or offered over the summer? Consider weather, academic calendar, holidays, and travel time to your destination. It is possible to design a course around a festival, conference, or other major event, if desired. How much time in-country is enough?
  • Consider the cost: What will it cost to run the program? Will the cost be particularly high and perhaps prohibitive for students? Consult knowledgeable sources and seek price quotes on expected costs, such as airfare, lodging, meals, local transportation classroom costs, honoraria, and cultural activities.
  • Consider the logistics: How many students do you expect? Where will the group stay, and how will you travel around the city? Can you organize all course arrangements or do you need to hire a company to assist? Do you need to hire a teaching assistant to support the course?

Approval Process

Faculty members shall gain access in GW Passport to submit proposal by filling out the Short-Term Abroad Proposal application. The proposal application requests detailed information about the course and requires the submission of a detailed syllabus, itinerary, and budget.

As part of the process, professors must seek approval for their proposal from their department chair or program head before the CCAS Dean’s Office evaluates its curricular fit and overall program viability including cost and safety. Once it’s approved by the Dean’s Office, CCAS Global will work with the Office of Study Abroad to administer the entire process.

Faculty Director's Role

Along with teaching the course, faculty members leading Short-Term Abroad Programs serve many other roles. Thus, professors teaching these courses are given the title "Faculty Director." The Faculty Director’s responsibilities include:

  • Develop the course syllabus, itinerary and budget
  • Market the course and discuss course details with interested students
  • Review student applications and select admitted students in GW Passport
  • Create and confirm logistical arrangements for the course, including lodging, transport, classroom space, lectures, meals, and so on
  • Help prepare students for the course and travel
  • Lead students abroad, providing assistance in times of student need or crisis
  • Submit financial reconciliations
  • Reflect on the impact of the course, and offer feedback, stories of success, or suggestions for improvement to the Office for Study Abroad

CCAS Global’s Role

The CCAS Office of Global Initiatives provides overall administrative support, guidance for faculty and students. The responsibilities include:

  • Advise faculty members with questions about the proposal process
  • Support the Dean in selecting faculty proposals
  • Build course websites and create program flyers
  • Manage student applications through GW Passport
  • Communicate with students about application and commitment process
  • Schedule courses
  • Register students
  • Procure international travel and lodging for the programs
  • Provide health and safety information to students prior to departure
  • Enroll students in international health insurance
  • Provide pre-departure training for faculty, including detailed financial and risk management information
  • Collect student evaluations