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 COVID health, safety, and security measures are incorporated into your program proposal. Please think through these considerations and reach out to the International Travel Risk Analyst with questions or to set up a meeting to discuss your plans. 

    • What is your reasoning for running this academic program at this time?
    • What might be the impact of your program on the local communities visited?
    • Is there an alternative location that would offer similar academic outcomes that has fewer health, safety, or security concerns?
    • What are the current entry requirements for the countries on your proposed itinerary including visa, proof of vaccination, proof of negative COVID test, quarantine, etc.?
    • Are there any current in-country regulations and restrictions including masking, curfews, capacity limitations, etc.?
    • What are the current COVID conditions in-country including case numbers, healthcare capacity, vaccination rates, access to testing, etc.?
    • 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?
    • How will you keep up-to-date on all changes relating to entry requirements, in-country restrictions, current COVID conditions, and other health & safety considerations in your visited destinations? How will you communicate these changes to participants?
    • What steps will you take should a participant exhibit symptoms of COVID? 
    • What is the closet clinic/hospital to your program’s activities? What is the standard of care?
    • How will you arrange isolation housing and access to food and other necessities for a participant, if needed? Who will cover these costs?
    • How will you support a participant who needs to remain in isolation beyond the end of the program?
    • What are the host country’s requirements for isolation or quarantine after exposure to a COVID positive individual or after notification of a COVID positive case?
    • If a participant needs to isolate or quarantine, will they be able to complete academic requirements remotely?
    • Will you incorporate any COVID-specific protocols for academic spaces, transportation, excursions, and leisure time?
    • Will you implement any restrictions on participant accommodations? For example, will you budget for single occupancy?
    • How will you arrange for a group visit to a testing center towards the end of the program in order to meet the U.S. reentry testing requirement? What are the costs? Who will cover these costs? Note: you may want to consider requiring asymptomatic testing at regular intervals depending on the length of your program.
    • What ramifications will participants face if they do not comply with local government and/or program protocols?
    • What would result in program cancellation or suspension?
    • What are the program payment deadlines? Are there any refund policies? If not, what are the unrecoverable costs? Will you encourage students to purchase Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) or Interruption for Any Reason (IFAR) insurance?
    • What level of support can your in-country contacts provide particularly in the event of an emergency? Note: programs with limited in-country support may not be approved. Contact the International Travel Risk Analyst for a list of recommended international education vendors/providers.
    • Reading through all of these considerations, are you still comfortable leading a program abroad amidst the pandemic?

    Keep in mind the following: 

    • All participants and program leaders must be fully vaccinated and have high contact clearance. In the unlikely event that an exemption is granted, there may be varying entry and in-country requirements.
    • Currently, the University is not allowing any guest travelers to join programs.
  • 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
    • Review the Emergency Response Manual 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
    • Complete a post-trip questionnaire in DU Passport

    Traveling with Family/Guests: The following requirements apply to family members and guests accompanying any individual whose University academic or business activities involve international travel:

    • Family members and guests cannot participate in academic program activities unless they are enrolled participants in the program or the program is designed to accommodate family members or guests.
    • Accompaniment by family members and guests must not negatively impact a program or its participants and must not impair the operation and administration of program activities.
    • Family members and guests are responsible for all expenses associated with their travel.
    • Family members and guests must maintain health insurance that provides coverage while traveling internationally; however, they will receive evacuation and repatriation coverage through International SOS if properly registered in DU Passport.
    • Before travel, if requested, family members and guests must sign an assumption of risk and release of liability form.

    The University discourages program leaders of an international program from traveling with family members and guests. This is because a program leader's primary duty of care is to the students with whom they are traveling. In the event of an emergency, a program leader could find themselves in the position of having to choose between the needs of the students or the family members and guests. Faculty and staff who are not leading an international program or who are traveling individually are not subject to this provision.

    While the University prefers that program leaders not travel with family members or guests, but in the event that they do, program leaders must be cognizant of the following expectations that apply to all program leaders:

    • A program leader must adequately monitor the health, safety and security of program students and other program instructors.
    • A program leader has limited opportunities to care for family members and guests during a program; another individual unaffiliated with the program must assume full (24/7) responsibility for those duties. The University, its employees, and students cannot assume responsibility for the care of a program leader's family members and guests.

    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 University 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.

    Rental Car Insurance: Even though DU provides liability insurance for international travelers when renting a vehicle, University Enterprise Risk Management strongly recommends you also buy supplemental liability protection (SLP) to ensure adequate coverage and potentially easier in-country claims-handling in the event of an accident. Enterprise Risk Management also strongly recommends that you purchase Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and the Collison Damage Waiver (CDW) for similar reasons. If you are using a P-card for the rental transaction, you do not need to buy PAI or the CDW because rental transactions with P-cards include these coverages.

    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: 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 approve of participation in "adventure activities," such as those described below and such activities should not be included 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 or other shared economies because they are underinsured and unregulated in many regions around the world. It is acceptable to book accommodations through Airbnb because it appears to have sufficient liability insurance in-place worldwide.

  • Approval Process

    All international group programs, either for credit or not-for-credit, faculty-led, student-led, and athletic programs, must be approved by both the Office of Internationalization and Enterprise Risk Management.

    Units should apply for conditional approval at least six months before travel and obtain final approval one month before travel. If a program leader does not submit a short-term program final approval request in DU Passport at least 7 business days prior to the program's departure, the International Travel Committee (ITC) will issue a notification of University policy violation with a copy sent to the departmental approver. The notification will include a directive that all required final approval information must be submitted in DU Passport before the program is allowed to move forward. Failure to provide all required information may result in termination of the short-term program. Issuance of one or more notifications of University policy violation may also result in disallowance of the program in future academic terms.

    After returning from a program, trip leaders must log back in to DU Passport and fill out the Post-Trip Questionnaire.

  • Submit a Program Proposal

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

    Credit-Bearing Program Proposal

    Non-Credit-Bearing 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.

  • 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 submit a Request in Pioneer Travel and Expense.

    By registering in DU Passport or submitting a Request in Pioneer Travel and Expense, the University can assist in an emergency situation abroad, provide important travel resources prior to departure, coordinate evacuation and repatriation benefits, and better track international efforts of all DU members.

    For faculty and staff, submission of a Request also significantly aids in the handling of workers' compensation claims. Failing to register travel in DU Passport or to submit a Request in Pioneer Travel and Expense before leaving the U.S. can result in the disallowance of funding or academic credit and can impact the expense reimbursement process.

  • Pre-Departure Orienation

    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 International SOS 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 Enterprise Risk Management.

    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.