Study Abroad

Program selection criteria

  • We have listed below the features of a strong program to be transparent about our program proposal selection criteria.
  • We encourage you to meet with us to discuss your proposal in the early draft phase.
  • Given advanced notice, we can review your proposal with you to hone your ideas and troubleshoot any issues.
  • We seek to create a diverse selection of program offerings from a wide range of disciplines.
  • We try to balance the number of new and recurring programs and offer programs covering a wide variety of topics and regions.

Strong proposals are thoroughly completed and include:


  • Clear and thoroughly laid-out academic goals that are tied to and enhanced by the program site(s).
  • A plan to assess the academic goals of the program.
  • Program activities and field trips that take advantage of the program location and compliment the academic goals of the curriculum.
  • Program activities that provide opportunities for students to interact with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and abilities.
  • Courses that generally mirror courses taught on campus with regard to academic rigor. Elements of tourism are inevitable in study abroad programs, but UW Study Abroad is committed to facilitate academic international programming.
  • Program goals fit that with departmental goals/priorities and coursework that has been vetted and approved.


  • Program directors with strong ties to the program site.
  • At least one of the program directors speaks the local language(s).
  • Program staff maintain a consistent on-site presence with the students.
  • A clear relationship to the sponsoring department. Program directors have an appointment in the sponsoring department (or an associated discipline), the program aims fit with departmental goals/priorities, and the coursework has been vetted and approved.
  • Programs that will be offered on a continuous basis and led by multiple faculty within the department.


  • Programs aligned with the UW’s Race and Equity Initiative, potentially offering courses that meet the UW’s Diversity Requirement.
  • Unique and specific opportunities not available elsewhere in the world of student and study abroad programming at UW.
  • Programs that are designed to be accessible to students of all abilities.


  • A detailed program spending plan that covers the estimated costs of the program and maps accurately to the program itinerary.
  • Both the spending plan and the proposal should include solidly identified housing vendors, classroom spaces and field trips.

Logistics & Safety

  • A thorough assessment of the risks involved associated with the country/countries visited and the specific program activities.
  • A thorough and comprehensive pre-departure orientation plan that informs students of academic requirements, behavioral expectations, health and safety considerations, and living and travel arrangements. Programs must provide at least 3 pre-departure orientation sessions.