Short-Term Programs

We're committed to supporting short-term international programs, and we welcome collaboration with faculty and staff members as program leaders. We work with program leaders to mitigate the inherent risks of travel, with the health, safety and security of our international travelers as our paramount concern. All program leaders are required to abide by University international travel procedures and adhere to the international program approval process.


  • Planning Phase

    Planning to submit a proposal to run a short-term international program? The following considerations are meant to help you think through the program design stage to ensure that appropriate health, safety, and security measures are incorporated into your program proposal along with a solid plan for logistical aspects. Please think through these considerations and reach out to International Travel Health and Safety at with questions or to set up a meeting to discuss your plans. The considerations below, by far, do not make up a comprehensive list. Leading a study abroad program is not easy or for everyone.


    • What are the goals, objectives, and outcomes of this program?
      • How will you assess if your program is meeting those goals, objectives, and outcomes?
    • What is your reasoning for running this academic program at this time?
    • When would you prefer to run the program?
      • New program proposals are due no later than 9 months before departure.
    • What risks will your students face to their health, safety, security, and well-being?
    • How do you consider risks in program development, implementation, and management?
    • Do you have the training and willingness to work with mental health and conduct issues that may arise during the program?
    • Do you have the time and support to devote hundreds of hours to the program’s development and execution?
    • Who will act as the 2nd Program Leader?
    • How will you promote this program?
    • How does running this program enrich you both personally and professionally?


    • Will the curriculum be appealing to a broad number of DU students (i.e., not too niche)?
    • Will the program be offered for credit?
    • Can the course attached to the program fulfill specific DU degree requirements making it more appealing?
    • How long will the program need to be abroad to achieve its goals?
    • Does this program compete for participants with other programs (e.g., several programs in the same region, similar curriculum as another, etc.)?
    • How does student conduct factor into your syllabus?
    • Are there options to collaborate with others on campus to broaden the appeal of this program?
    • How will your curriculum develop effectiveness in cross-cultural interactions, build cross-cultural awareness, and facilitate understanding of global issues?


    • Will this program be open to undergraduates, graduates, or both?
    • How will you choose which students may participate?
    • How will you prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion?
    • What types of outreach efforts will you use to encourage historically underrepresented and underserved students to participate?
    • Will there be a GPA requirement or conduct check?
    • How will you prepare students for the experience?
    • What ramifications will participants face if they do not comply with local government and/or program protocols?
    • How will you support a participant who needs to remain in isolation beyond the end of the program?


    • How will your program leverage the unique learning opportunities of the destination?
    • Are DU students interested in traveling to this destination?
    • How familiar are you with the cultural values, norms, and language of the host community?
    • Is there an alternative location that would offer similar academic outcomes that have fewer health, safety, or security concerns?
    • Does weather at the time of year you prefer to travel have the potential to impact the program’s success?
    • Will there be holidays, elections, predictable strikes, etc. during the time you prefer to travel that could impact the program’s success?
    • How easy and financially feasible is it to reach your destination(s)?
    • Are there other health, safety, or security issues that are exacerbated by the pandemic?
    • Are there supply chain concerns that may be disruptive to your program?
    • What is the closest clinic/hospital to your program’s activities? What is the standard of care?
    • What form of accommodations will you use (e.g., hotels, homestays, Airbnb, tents, etc.)?
    • How will you vet the accommodations for safety (e.g., locks on bedroom doors, smoke alarms, lighted emergency exits, mosquito nets, higher floors, stable balconies, guards, etc.)?


    • Will this program move around or operate from a “home base?
    • How will you get the group from learning site to learning site?
    • Is the program prepared to include students with disabilities?
    • Will you run this program without the support of a vendor (i.e., tour guide, transportation company, etc.), with some support of a vendor, or almost completely by the vendor?
    • Who has decision-making authority in the development of the program?
    • Where will learning take place (e.g., classroom, field, etc.)?
    • What activities and excursions will be included?
    • Will the program be a continuation or an addition to an on-campus course?
    • Will certain adventure activities require additional insurance?
    • What kind of re-entry programming and support will you offer?


    • Who will prepare and approve the budget?
    • Will there be a minimum number of participants to make the program financially viable?
    • How will the program be funded?
    • What does the program fee include?
    • Do you understand how contracts, agreements, and certificates of insurance are approved and signed at DU?
    • How will you pay for goods and services while abroad?
    • Will cash be necessary and are you legally allowed to bring enough?
    • How will situations where the program is over budget be handled?
    • How will you make students and other stakeholders aware of all program costs and financial policies?
    • What financial aid or scholarships might be available to students?


    • What level of support can your in-country contacts provide particularly in the event of an emergency?
    • How does each partner benefit from the partnership?
    • How will partners or vendors be vetted and arranged?
    • Will you partner with an academic institution abroad?
    • Is your partner one that specializes in the destination and scholastic programs?


    • What might be the impact of your program on the local communities visited?
    • How will your program respect the values and norms of the host community without imposing an undue burden on its resources?
    • How do you actively promote respect for the cultures and values of the communities in which you want to operate?
    • How will you support participants so they interact in a respectful, ethical, mindful, and sustainable way in the local community and toward one another?
  • Program Leaders

    Prerequisites: All persons intending to serve as a program leader must first pass a background check. University procedures concerning background checks are managed by University Human Resources & Inclusive Community (HRIC). The background check procedures include a requirement that persons immediately notify HRIC of criminal convictions occurring after the background check is completed. In addition, all program leaders must complete an ERM program leader training once every two years to be eligible. In order to facilitate completion of the prerequisites and to comply to with other requirements of these procedures, non-DU employees must be hired as non-benefitted, temporary employees for the duration of the program.

    Responsibilities: Program leaders have numerous health, safety and security responsibilities that include but are not limited to the following:

    • Complete program leader training once every two years
    • Develop a program design that considers health, safety and security issues
    • Receive departmental approval
    • Adhere to University policies and timelines
    • Submit a conditional and final program proposal in DU Passport and provide accurate information
    • Implement risk reduction measures and safety plans specific to the itinerary
    • Ensure that all participants register their travel in DU Passport before departure (unless the program is ran by UAP)
    • Review the Program Leader Short-Term Program Guide before departure
    • Plan, organize and lead a pre-departure orientation and an on-site orientation to communicate health and safety guidelines to participants
    • Advise and counsel participants on all aspects of the program
    • Set expectations for participants and monitor their well-being
    • Model appropriate behavior and hold participants accountable to the DU Honor Code
    • Respond to any health, safety and security emergencies
    • Communicate and seek guidance from the University in the event of any emergency or disciplinary situation
    • Document the circumstances and response to all emergency and disciplinary situations
    • Submit an Incident Report for reportable incidents in order to comply with federal laws and University policy

    Traveling with Family/Guests: International travel involving students at DU is principally a credit-bearing academic experience designed for the enrichment of all participants involved. In most cases, the university will only support the involvement of official Program Leaders, support staff, and students fully enrolled in the program and at DU. There should be a definitive DU connection that implies and outlines certain rights and responsibilities for all program participants. Restricting participation to only those with a teaching, supporting, or learning role facilitates the educational mission of such activities while significantly decreasing the liability to the university. All travelers, when possible, must be engaged and focused on this mission. However, it is understood that these experiences may not always include only members of the DU community. This guidance is to establish roles, responsibilities, restrictions, and expectations of all travelers on DU abroad experiences. It should be noted that the allowance of family member participation is not intended to be applicable to all abroad programing but reserved for unique circumstances and populations.  

    • When acting as a Program Leader or support staff, one’s primary responsibility is to the student participants. This responsibility often requires long hours, little free time, and working through unexpected challenges. For this reason, DU strongly discourages Program Leaders from bringing an accompanying family member.  

    • It is recommended that Program Leaders carefully consider the effect additional travelers will have on the academic content (e.g., students unable to have open and uninterrupted discussions because of the presence of a minor) and logistical arrangements of the abroad experience (e.g., cost of a larger van for transportation) as well as issues related to liability and personal expenses (e.g., if a program is canceled or altered, it is the Program Leader’s responsibility for attempting to recover funds spent on family member expenses). 

    • Transparency for the reason a family member is joining an experience abroad is integral, especially with the student participants, so there is no misunderstanding that student fees are subsidizing non-participants. 

    Family members of Program Leaders may not: 

    • be under the age of 18 unless there is another competent family member (non-Program Leader or support staff) traveling with the group at the Program Leader or family member’s expense and approval for such is granted by ERM. 

    • have any responsibilities on behalf of DU. 

    • impair the operation and administration of group activities or otherwise infringe on or take responsibility for student participants. 

    • be utilized as a substitute for hiring an additional Program Leader. 

    • share accommodations with student participants. 

    • expect that a sponsoring unit will coordinate arrangements (e.g., transportation, accommodation) for family members.  

    • be extended family (e.g., grandchildren, nephews, nieces). 

    • have their expenses incorporated into the abroad experience budget. 

    • be part of any reimbursement request or invoice submitted to the university. 

    Family members of Program Leaders are required to: 

    • complete the “Companion Travel Waiver” and receive approval for accompanying the DU travelers from both the head of the unit sponsoring the experience and ERM. 

    • pay for their own transportation, meals, and all other costs. When doing so is impossible, the Program Leader is singularly responsible for ensuring the university or any other parties involved are reimbursed. 

    • have all necessary vaccinations or immunizations, including those required by DU (e.g., COVID-19 vaccination and booster dose(s)). 

    • provide and pay for their own insurance needs and requirements when DU’s international travel medical insurance does not suit or cover them.  

    • understand that their needs and care come secondary to the student participants and the mission of the experience which may mean unexpected out-of-pocket expenses to manage their own health, safety, and needs. 

    Ratio: All short-term programs must have two program leaders. Once a program's enrollment exceeds 19 participants, a 10:1 student-to-program leader ratio applies.

  • Program Leader Training

    To facilitate a Program Leader's busy schedule and streamline the training process, we have moved the required materials online. Program Leaders can now complete the training at their own pace, but we do ask it be completed before final approval for the program is granted (at least one month before departure). A Program Leaders progress through the course will be recorded and who has complied with the "every two" years policy. The course may be accessed at any time should a refresher or document be desired. The course can be accessed here:  

    If there are any questions, please direct them to

  • Transportation Policies

    Prerequisites: Before driving a motor vehicle abroad as part of a University short-term program, an individual must: (1) review DU Driving procedures; (2) satisfactorily complete a review by Enterprise Risk Management of their personal motor vehicle driving record (MVR); and complete an online Driver Safety Training course. For more details and instructions, read about DU's driver responsibility policies. Note, DU-owned automobiles may not be driven in Mexico as doing such is specifically excluded from our insurance policy. 

    Rental Car Insurance: DU‘s auto insurance does not have international coverage. The University requires you buy both liability and vehicle damage protection to ensure adequate coverage and potentially easier in-country claims-handling in the event of an accident. Enterprise Risk Management recommends that you also purchase supplemental liability protection, if available. If a rental car does not have insurance to cover an accident or incident, any costs related to the accident or incident must be paid for by the driver’s department or organization.

    Please see below for information on the different types of car rental insurance coverages:

    • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Physical Damage Waiver (PDW): With this coverage, the rental company waives all or part of its costs if the rental car is stolen or damaged by accident or vandalism, as long as the renter complies with the terms of the rental agreement (for instance, the car cannot be driven by an unauthorized driver or driven recklessly).
    • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI): This coverage provides medical, ambulance, and death benefits for the renter and passengers of the rental car in the event of an accident.
    • Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP), Additional Liability Insurance (ALI), Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS) or Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI): This coverage usually provides $1 million or $2 million of additional liability protection.

    If your rental vehicle is damaged, be sure to adhere to the car rental company's policies, take notes and photos of the damage, keep all paperwork and promptly report the damage to Enterprise Risk Management.

    Even with the recommended insurance coverage, there may be a deductible in case of a claim. The individual or department renting the vehicle is responsible for paying any deductible amount.

    Other Driving Policies: Vehicular accidents are the number one cause of death and injury to U.S. citizens abroad. DU policy prohibits students from operating motor vehicles while abroad unless specific exception has been made by the International Travel Committee. DU policy prohibits persons leading or participating in short-term programs from renting and/or operating 15-passenger vans. Fifteen-passenger vans present significant rollover hazards, require special training to operate and are not covered by DU's liability insurance. It is permissible to rent 12-passenger vans or smaller.

    Also, DU policy prohibits driving after sunset and before dawn in foreign countries because of the increased risks posed by limited sightlines in unfamiliar areas.

    Shared Economies: The University strongly recommends that international travelers do not use any shared transportation economies, like Uber and Lyft, as they have been found to be underinsured and unregulated in many regions around the world. Exception: Sufficient liability insurance extends to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Quebec and Ontario for Uber and to the Canadian province of Ontario for Lyft.

    Higher-Risk Destinations: Travel to certain areas of the world requires additional safety considerations beyond the standard for general international travel.

    Risky Activities: The University does not generally approve of participation in "adventure activities," such as skydiving, hang gliding, parachuting, mountaineering, any motorized speed race, bungee jumping, speed contests, spelunking or caving, heli-skiing, or extreme skiing, scuba diving, white water rafting. Such activities should be avoided as part of a program itinerary.

  • Accommodation Considerations

    All Arrangements: All housing arrangements should be evaluated for overall safety relating to the location, security measures available on-site, and clear posting of emergency escape routes.

    Homestays: Due to liability issues, homestays for students are discouraged unless proper arrangements can be made. Considerations involved in evaluating the safety of homestay arrangements include: (1) the vetting of host families, particularly when homestays are arranged by a third party; (2) the number of students placed with an individual family and whether the living arrangements can safely accommodate the number; (3) whether students have opportunities to move to a different home or other accommodation, if necessary; and (4) whether suitable contacts are available to students in the event of an emergency.

    Couchsurfing/Shared Economies: The University strongly recommends that program leaders do not make any accommodation arrangements through Couchsurfing, AirBnB, or other shared economies because they are underinsured and unregulated in many regions around the world. 

  • Approval Process

    All international group programs, faculty-led, student-led, and some athletic programs, must be approved by the International Travel Committee.

    Program Leaders or units must apply for conditional approval via DU Passport at least nine (9) months before travel for new program proposals and six (6) months before travel for recurring programs with no significant changes and obtain final approval one (1) month before travel. Any exceptions to this policy must be granted by the Chancellor or Provost.

    If a Program Leader proposes travel to a restricted destination, additional information may be requested.


  • Submit a Program Proposal

    Use the link below to create and submit a program proposal in DU Passport.

    Faculty/Staff Group Program Proposal

    Note: once you have started the registration process, you must log in to DU Passport with the general DU Passport link to make any edits or changes. The login link is in the upper right corner.

    24-25 Short Term Proposal Deadlines
  • Registrations

    All students traveling internationally on a University short-term program must register their travel in DU Passport. Programs administered by UAP are an exception to this requirement as students are registered by virtue of their application to the program. All faculty and staff traveling internationally for a University short-term program must book travel via Pioneer Travel and Expense/Concur/Christopherson Business Travel (these are all essentially the same with different interfaces).

    By registering in DU Passport (primarily for students) or booking via Pioneer Travel and Expense, the University will provide international emergency medical travel insurance, can assist in an emergency situation abroad, will provide important travel resources prior to departure, is able to more easily coordinate evacuation and repatriation benefits, and can better promote international efforts of all DU community members.

    Failing to register travel in DU Passport or to book travel via in Pioneer Travel and Expense/Concur/CBT before leaving the U.S. can result in the disallowance of funding or academic credit and can impact the expense reimbursement process. If you are granted a rare exception from booking travel via Pioneer Travel and Expense/Concur/CBT, employees can register travel in the International Travel Registry found at

  • Pre-Departure Orientation

    DU's International Travel Health and Safety team recommends supplementing your own destination/program-specific pre-departure orientation with the free online course designed for your students. This course provides baseline information to prepare your students to responsibly manage their own health, safety, and security while abroad. Covering topics such as how to use the international travel medical/emergency insurance, what to expect when engaging with a new culture, and the many ways our Travel Assistance partner can assist while abroad, the course is split into three short modules. Each module has a video on the topic of "Travel Logistics, Staying Healthy, and Safety Abroad," useful supplemental information, and a short quiz. Upon completion of all the modules, the student will receive a confirmation email to show Program Leaders who choose to verify compliance. Students may be directed to enroll in this Canvas course using this link:  

  • Incident Reporting

    If you are a DU faculty or staff member who is made aware of an incident abroad involving a DU traveler, you must submit an Incident Report or ensure that an Incident Report is submitted.

    Reportable incidents include but are not limited to any medical, mental health, student conduct, sexual misconduct and crime-related issues. See the Nature of Incident Definitions list for more details about reportable incidents.

    The purpose of the report is to document details of an incident abroad, to outline what actions have been taken, and to request additional support from International Travel Health and Safety.

    Also, by reporting international incidents, you are facilitating DU compliance with federal law. All submitted information will remain private and will only be shared with relevant persons.