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Proposing a Off-Campus Course or a Course with an Off-Campus Travel Component

Proposing an off-campus course, or a course with an off-campus travel component, for undergraduate students requires substantial advance planning, typically commencing one to two years before the first offering.

Faculty members should be aware of the requirements for compliance with risk and safety assessement of travel and site arrangements, both for the course and for individual students, and be ready to work with the Center for Undergraduate Student Engagement and the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee to ensure that all arrangements have met University and school requirements.

Faculty members who wish to teach in an entire course in an off-campus setting should speak to their department Chairs about their plans, in order to review possible implications for the department’s curricular offerings on campus.

Courses to be taught outside of the U.S., or courses that have an international travel component

It is essential to contact the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement (UGE) at While faculty are responsible for designing the academic content of the proposed program, UGE provides at least some, if not most, logistical support and program infrastructure, including travel and housing plans, student outreach and advising, and financial planning. If a local educational institution will be involved in the program design, initial outreach to the institution can be made by either faculty or UGE; in many cases, UGE can make faculty aware of existing relationships with international institutions.

Faculty may also find it useful to consult Columbia Global Resources in formulating their plans. All Columbia community members -- including faculty and students -- are asked to register their travel plans through the university global travel portal before departure.

All plans for courses taught outside of the U.S., or courses that have an international travel component, must be endorsed by UGE before undergoing review by the CC-GS Committee on Instruction (COI). Faculty members and UGE should reach a consensus about when a new course is ready to be presented to the COI for review and approval, and proposals to the COI should include a description of the consultation among faculty members and UGE, as well as the contact person at UGE with whom the COI can communicate questions regarding matters of logistics and compliance.

Courses to be taught elsewhere in the U.S.

Ideally, COI review of a new off-campus course should take place six months to a year in advance of the offering. All proposals are reviewed by the full COI.  UGE does not play a role in the development of off-campus U.S. programs. Questions can be directed to


COI proposal requirements for courses to be taught in an off-campus location or for courses taught on campus that have a travel component:

In addition to the standard course proposal process, faculty members who wish to teach in an off-campus setting are asked to prepare a brief addendum.  The addendum should address the seven questions below.

In asking these questions, which are likely to evolve over time, the COI seeks to understand better the evident value of engaging Columbia faculty and students in off-campus education, to refine the committee’s understanding of best practices in the rapidly changing field of global education, and to maximize the value of these exciting and ambitious programs for all members of the Columbia community. 

If you have questions about the process of proposing an off-campus course to the COI, please contact Lisa Hollibaugh, dean of Academic Affairs for Columbia College, or Caroline Marvin, dean of Academic Affairs of The School of General Studies, by writing to  In considering the following questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can assist you in formulating your responses. 

Off-campus course proposal addendum questions (UGE may help with answers to these questions as needed):

  1. What is the anticipated enrollment, and how will students apply for and be selected for the course? Please break the number down by Columbia undergraduates and graduate students (as well as non-Columbia students, if relevant).
  2. For courses taught entirely elsewhere:
    • How would you descibe the value of teaching this course in the proposed location, rather than on the Columbia campus? How will it enhance the students’ educational experience? 
    • Will there be a role for foreign language instruction in the course or program? Is all instruction in English, or is there an opportunity for students to learn in the local language(s)?
    • What institutional partners are you working with?  Will students from local institutions have the opportunity to enroll?  Will Columbia students have the opportunity to take additional classes at such institutions?
  3. For courses taught on campus with a travel component included:
    • How would you describe the value of the travel component of the course? How will the detailed itinerary of the travel component relate to the content of the course and enhance the students' educational experience?
  4. How would you recommend students prepare for the course?
  5. What support will be offered to students while the program/trip is underway? What provisions have been made for the students’ security and stability? How will students be advised on the requirements for registration with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy
  6. What financial resources will be available to students to underwrite the cost of their participation?
  7. Do you envision building upon the experiences and connections that you establish while traveling? Are there ways that aspects of the experience might be extended to other students back on campus?