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Proposing an Off-Campus Course or Program

Proposing an off-campus course or program for undergraduate students requires substantial advance planning, typically commencing at least two years before the first offering. Faculty members who wish to teach 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 or programs to be taught outside of the U.S.

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 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 off-campus courses and programs 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 or program is ready to be presented to the COI for review and approval.  When finalized, proposals should include a cover letter from UGE that confirms the program’s feasibility and an addendum as described below.

Courses or programs to be taught elsewhere in the U.S.

Ideally, COI review of a new off-campus course or program should take place one 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

Proposal format for courses to be taught in an off-campus location

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, with the understanding that not all questions may be applicable to all proposals.

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:

  1. How do you understand the value of teaching this course or program in the proposed location, rather than on the Columbia campus?  How will it enhance the students’ educational experience?  How would you recommend students prepare for the course?
  2. 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)?
  3. 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?
  4. How might you envision building upon the connections that you have established while traveling?  Do you have any suggestions about how we might we extend some aspects of this experience to other students back on campus? 

Where necessary, UGE will help you in responding to the following additional questions:

  1. What is the anticipated enrollment?  Please break the number down into Columbia and non-Columbia students, undergraduates and graduate students.
  2. What supports will be offered to students while the program is underway?  What provisions have been made for the students’ security and stability?
  3. What financial resources will be available to students to underwrite the cost of their participation?