Study Abroad

Faculty-led program policies

When planning a UW faculty-led study abroad program, consider the timing, duration, and staffing of your program. These are often functions of larger university-wide systems, such as financial aid or human resources. The information below is a summary of the requirements and policies for planning a program.

Program dates

  • For your program to be financial aid-eligible for students, the dates of instruction must conform to the dates of the UW academic calendar.
  • Programs must begin and end within +/- 7 days of the quarter in which the program is offered.
  • Consult the UW Academic Calendar to establish program dates.
  • The “start date” is the day students arrive in program housing.
  • The “end date” is the day students check out of their program housing (and not the last day/night in program housing).

Additional considerations for short-term programs:

  • Summer A and B term programs must have at least 28 days of summer instruction, including time abroad and in UW classrooms.
  • Exploration Seminars are offered during early fall (the period between the end of summer quarter and the beginning of autumn quarter). They must include at least 21 days of early fall instruction, including time abroad and in UW classrooms.
  • Short-term programs (Spring Break, Winter Break and Summer Break) should be incorporated into a course taking place during an academic term to retain financial aid eligibility. This is not required, but if the program is not linked to a course, students will not be able to use financial aid towards the program fees and they will not be eligible for scholarships administered by UW Study Abroad.

Program leadership

  • All programs must have two responsible leaders, both of whom must be UW employees (temporary or permanent).
  • The program director is the primary lead and contact for the program and must be UW faculty.
  • The second leader can be UW faculty or staff, or a graduate student with a UW appointment.
  • Where there are two UW faculty leaders, roles should be clearly defined as either co-directors or primary and secondary leads.
  • Programs housed at the UW Rome Center or UW Leon Center may run with one faculty member because there are UW staff present on-site.


  • All UW program leaders must have an active UW appointment for the duration of the program.
  • Faculty with 9-month appointments who want to lead a summer or early fall program should work with their home department to set up an active appointment for the full program dates.

Unaffiliated (non-UW) program staff

Unaffiliated program staff might include a local coordinator, local faculty or instructors or other types of non-UW staff providing service to the program. Salary payments for unaffiliated program staff cannot be made until services have been rendered. Up to 50% of the agreed salary can be paid as early as halfway through the dates of service. The remaining 50% will be paid upon completion of service. An unaffiliated program staff member does not qualify as a second leader on the program.

If an individual has been previously appointed by the UW, they must always have a UW appointment in order to work for the program. They cannot be paid as an independent contractor. 


  • The following guidelines apply to program leader salaries that are charged to the program budget administered by UW Study Abroad.
  • If program leader salaries are paid by a department (and do not appear on the program budget), program leaders should work with their home department to determine salaries.
  • All salaries should be approved by the program leader’s home department/college.
  • Salary will be paid within the pay periods that correspond to the program term.
Autumn, winter, spring (10 weeks) Summer quarter (8 weeks) Short-term (Sum A, Sum B, Early Fall) Short-Short term (Spring, Winter and Summer Break
UW faculty up to 3 months of salary up to 2.5 months of salary up to 1.5 months of summer salary up to .75 months of salary
UW staff up to 2.5 months of salary up to 2 months of salary up to 1 month of salary up to total number of days of program
Teaching Assistant For all programs, TAs must be paid according to their appointment and union guidelines. Salary schedules here.

*Where salary is included in the program budget, the appropriate Benefits Load should be included corresponding to the appointment.

Salary notes:

  • In many cases, sponsoring departments support programs by allowing the program director to remain on salary during the term abroad. This can cut down immensely on instructional costs, which are borne by students.
  • Your department administrator will be responsible for setting up payroll. However, UW Study Abroad can provide the program budget number once the salary has been determined.
  • All salaries incorporated into the program budget must include a line item for the correct Benefits Load for your UW appointment. This line item is already included in the spending plan.

Arts & Sciences salary policy

Arts & Sciences study abroad programs are now required to add a “replacement teaching fee” (RTF) into most quarter-long faculty-led study abroad programs, so that Departments receive some funds to hire replacement instructors while their faculty are teaching abroad. 

  • A “replacement teaching fee” will be required for faculty who lead study abroad programs and remain on their salary for the period of time that they are abroad. This is primarily tenure-track faculty, and senior lecturers who remain on salary for the quarter that they are teaching abroad. It would not apply to faculty leading study abroad programs who are NOT on departmental salary and who are already paid from student fees collected by UWSA.
  • UWSA will pay a minimum of $7,000 per quarter and quarter-long benefits (approximately $1800) using study abroad program student fees as a contribution to a faculty member’s normal salary. This amount would be deducted by the department from the usual quarterly salary the department pays out to the instructor; the department can then use this savings of approximately $9k to hire a part-time lecturer to teach on campus. The result is that the tenure-track faculty member would be remunerated the same as if they were teaching on campus. (See below for the amount paid as RTF for Teaching Assistants).
  • Quarter-long faculty-led study abroad program costs will increase, to extent that the replacement teaching fee is not already factored in to the program costs. The RTF will be added to the overall costs of the program, and count as instructional costs that are borne by the student participants.
  • Teaching Assistants (graduate students with the appropriate appointment) on quarter-long study abroad programs would likewise receive the same compensation as if they were on campus for the quarter. UWSA would work with the academic department so that study abroad program student fees pay this amount, thereby freeing the department to hire another TA to teach on campus during this period.
  • If a faculty member wanted to teach 2 study abroad classes on a quarter-long study abroad program and have this count toward more than 1 of their on-campus teaching load, this would need to be approved in advance by the department chair.
  • Please note that only program staff salaries should be charged to the program budget. Replacement instructors’ salaries should be charged to a departmental budget. See an example here.

Additional compensation

As long as these expenses can be sustained by the program budget, program leaders are eligible for the following forms of compensation in addition to salary:


You must book the lowest economy, round trip airfare from Seattle to the program site for +/- 7 of the program dates.


  • The program can pay for reasonable in-country accommodations, comparable in comfort and quality to student housing.
  • It should be relatively close to the student housing, or easily accessible by public transportation.
  • Program leaders can include up to 7 days of additional housing to the program budget for pre/post program work, if the budget allows.
  • Short-term programs can include up to 3 days of additional housing to the program budget for pre/post program work, if the budget allows.

In-country travel expenses

  • In-country travel expenses and program-related activities (e.g. field trips and excursions) may be included in the program budget.

Per diem

  • You may budget a daily per diem of up to 35% of the posted State Department ‘Meals & Incidentals’ Per Diem for the program site.
  • Program leaders can include up to 7 days of additional per diem to the program budget for pre/post program work, if the budget allows.
  • Short-term programs can include up to 3 days of additional per diem to the program budget for pre/post program work, if the budget allows.
  • The per diem is paid out of student program fees, so we expect program leaders be as frugal as possible with dining choices.
  • In the event of low enrollment, your program manager may first look to reduce per diem expenses before cutting elements of the program that are key to student learning.

Eligibility for per diem and lodging
A program director’s eligibility for lodging and meal per diem depends on their ‘duty station’ as defined by the UW Travel Office. For the purposes of UW Study Abroad, a ‘duty station’ is defined as a program director’s place of residence. For most program directors this is Seattle, in which case they are eligible for both lodging and meal per diem while they are leading a program abroad because they are ‘relocating’ to run the program. If a program director maintains a residence abroad, then they are eligible for lodging and meal per diem only if the program is located more than fifty miles from that residence. If in doubt, program directors should consult with UW Study Abroad Finance and Administration before claiming lodging and meal per diem on their spending plans.

Program Director workshops

  • Attendance at pre-departure workshops is required.
  • These workshops explain the UW resources and support available to you while overseas, specifically: planning pre-departure orientation, managing the program budget and finances, and handling emergency situations.
  • Learn more about the workshops

Student participation and housing

Students are expected to participate in every course, activity, and field trip outlined in the program syllabus and articulated by the program directors. They must stay in the student housing arranged by the program. Exceptions related to housing:

  • Students with special housing needs due to physical differences or abilities.
  • Students who plan to stay with family who already live at the site of the study abroad program.
  • Students who wish to bring a spouse and/or children with them. If a student brings a child with them, the student must arrange for childcare during program activities.

Students who wish to petition to opt out of the designated program housing should request this in writing to the program director and UW Study Abroad. The request must be approved by both the program director and UW Study Abroad. Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Opting out of housing on Short-term programs is not an option for reasons other than the need for special housing due to physical differences or abilities.


  • Depending on the length, timing, and format of the program, there are multiple options for the number of credits a program can offer.
  • The sponsoring academic department and college should ultimately determine and approve final allotments for the number of credits.

Duration and credit models currently available for UW study abroad programs:

Term Credits
Aut, Win, Spr, Sum 12-18 credits
Sum A or Sum B 6 credits
Sum A or Sum B Intensive 12 credits
Exploration Seminars 5 credits
Short-term 1-6 credits


Questions? Contact your program manager to discuss options.


  • Following the same schedule used for classes taught on campus, grades are due to UW Study Abroad by the first Monday after the end of the quarter in which the program was offered.
  • Plan your courses and assignments so that you are able to report grades by the deadline.
  • Late grade submission may affect student eligibility for financial aid or graduation.
  • Grades for all summer programs (sum A, sum B and summer quarter-long programs) are due at the end of summer quarter.
  • Grades for Exploration Seminars (early fall) are due at the end of autumn quarter.
  • Grades for Short-term programs are due at the end of the quarter of the course on campus.

Self-sustaining programs

  • Faculty-led programs are self-sustaining and must generate enough revenue to cover the projected expenses.
  • If the program does not meet minimum enrollment as defined by the program budget, the program may be cancelled due to financial insolvency.
  • The decision to cancel a program due to low enrollment will be made in consultation with UW Study Abroad, the program director, and the sponsoring department.

Surplus and deficit policy

  • Programs ending with a surplus between $1-10,000 are required to incorporate the surplus into the next year’s budget and program fee calculation.
  • Any surplus above $10,000 will be re-directed at the discretion of the Vice Provost of Global Affairs to promote new program development, provide student scholarships, or to contribute to the Global Emergency Contingency Fund.
  • Programs with a surplus that do not run after five consecutive Fiscal Years, forfeit the surplus. The program will be retired. Retired programs that wish to propose again, must start with a beginning budget balance of $0.
  • Programs ending with a deficit of $5,000 or less are required to incorporate the deficit into the next year’s budget and program fee calculation.
  • Programs with a deficit of more than $5,000 may be suspended until there is a clear and effective plan in place agreed upon by the chair/dean and the Office of Global Affairs to eliminate the deficit. Programs with deficits that are not renewed are required to have a plan to cover deficits. The plan will be agreed upon by the chair/dean and the Office of Global Affairs.
  • Deficits may also be paid down by other revenue sources per a chair/dean’s request.

Field advances

  • In order to manage on-site expenses, program directors must be eligible to receive a field advance and should be in good financial standing with the UW.
  • As a custodian of UW funds, program directors will be responsible for accounting for those funds according to UW policies and procedures.
  • Program directors may be held responsible for unapproved or inappropriate expenses or use of funds.
  • Field advance custodians who do not account for funds in a timely manner may not be eligible for future field advances.

Rome Center programs
If you are planning to lead a program at the UW Rome Center, you must read the UW Rome Center Program Policies page on the UW Rome Center website. Programs based at the UWRC must adhere to these policies in addition to those listed above.