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.


  • 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.

  • Transportation

    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.

  • Accommodations

    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.

  • Registrations

    All students traveling internationally on a University short-term program must register their travel in DU Passport. 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.

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

    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.

    Credit-Bearing Program Proposal

    Non-Credit-Bearing Program Proposal

  • Final Approval Request

    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.

  • 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.