Program Proposal & Design

Call for Proposals   Image: Goumbik/Pixabay

Call for Proposals

The call for proposals is generally circulated from Study Abroad through departments on campus in February each year. If you wish to submit a proposal, they are due in June. The call will provide a specific deadline. Contact your dean for more details. Please submit them to 

Feel free to contact us is you have any questions!

Proposal Components

The original documents of your proposal will need to be reviewed and signed by the department head(s), associate dean(s), and/or dean(s) (whoever is responsible for approving courses as well as the program proposal). This is to ensure that the departments are fully aware of your program and its budget, avoiding any surprises during the planning and implementation process.

There are several components that make up the written section:

  1. Introduction
  2. Educational Value
  3. Financial Viability
  4. Degree of Safety/Risk Management Considerations
  5. Cross Cultural Competency Connections
  6. Potential Popularity



If everything here is well-articulated, it helps your advisor, the GSP advisory committee, and your students understand why your program is pedagogically and logistically sound and important. You can be concise but will need to make sure it is clear that you have thoroughly researched your locations and have a solid grasp of what you would be doing with your students and how. The location and topic may be unfamiliar to the committee, so some background information and visual tools, like maps and photographs, can be a big help. 

It is very important that you are particularly thorough in your risk considerations section. Proposals lacking proper consideration in this area have been sent back to the faculty member who submitted the proposal for review and improvement during the implementation process.

We realize that some details may change closer to the date, however the more detail you can give the committee the better.

Allowing space in the itinerary for students to conduct independent research, work on assignments, and rest is encouraged. We advise avoiding listing “free days” in your itinerary as this may signal to students that they are free to break away from the group without informing program leadership where they will be.

Make sure to include a map of any destinations not easily located through Google Maps.

If this is updated at any point before departure, please send an updated copy to your Group Study Program Advisor.

Make sure that your budget works in every cost you can think of. These expenses may include, but are not limited to: daily meals, cell phone bills, copying, tips given to guides and speakers, public transit, special equipment, and vaccines. 

Ensure that, where requested, individual line items are fully described in the written proposal, so that the committee will know what activity each of the budget sections are being used for.

Please keep in mind that the program must be cost recovery, so the NET line must be greater than zero. 

Budgets should be created in Canadian Dollars. An estimate sheet showing what currency exchange rate you should be using to calculate costs is included in the Call for Proposal documents.

You will need to submit a course information table, showing the courses you will offer, and the associated course outline. 

These documents must be provided to all departmental administrators involved in order to facilitate the timetabling of the courses and the preparation of contracts for instructors. Should you change any of the component courses after the proposal is signed, it will require an email of permission from the Department Head approving the change.

The Advisory Committee

Your proposal will be reviewed by an advisory committee made of Study Abroad team members, past instructors, and representatives of UCI, the Registrar, and Risk Management. Their job is to ask questions to clarify any missing details and make to recommendations to ensure that all of your program details are thoroughly outlined before we begin to market your program in the Fall.

The committee generally meets on the third Wednesday in June. If you are submitting new proposal, you will have the option of presenting your program to the committee, either in person or through video conference. This presentation will generally be a maximum of 10 minutes – including your presentation and questions from the committee. 

We Can Help

A lot of energy goes into designing a program and preparing your proposal. Check in with each of these groups on campus for advice and support.

Your Department   Photo: ninocare/PixaBay

Your Department

The first people you should talk to when creating a GSP is your department head. They will give the final approval of any program, and be able to explain any obstacles to your participation. They will circulate the call for GSP proposals, mentioning any additional criteria or processes they may have. All proposals must first be submitted to your faculty's leadership, as indicated on the back of the cover page of the proposal, for sign-off before they can be submitted.

Group Study Team   Photo: Mohamed Hassan/PixaBay

Group Study Team

The Group Study Team is here to support you throughout the entire process. Whether your budget needs some work or you don't know where to start. Email to start the conversation! 

Teaching & Learning Support   Photo: okanakgul/PixaBay

Teaching & Learning Support

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning is available to support you in developing your Group Study Program. Lisa Stowe, the Director of Experiential Education, is not only an expert in teaching and pedagogy, but has years or experience leading her own GSP. Check out the Taylor Institutes online resources and get in touch with Lisa at

Tips for Creating a Program

If you're starting from scratch, it's a great idea to reach out to colleagues and members of the Group Study team to see if they might have knowledge of past programs in your destination. If you have any local contacts, they are generally helpful when you are looking for good hotels, reliable transportation, and trying to contact guest speakers. They may even be able to help you set up an arrangement to use class space and instructors at a local institution. 

Many instructors have found site visits essential to building a comprehensive proposal and working out many unforeseen logistical issues before having to navigate the country with students in tow. You will want to scope out affordable but appropriate accommodation, transportation options, quality teaching spaces (if traditional classrooms are not available), and opportunities for unique and exciting student experiences. 

Depending on your destination, site visits may be expensive and time consuming. Luckily, past instructors have been able to access funding specifically for program development.

Risk is an unavoidable part of travel. Any country you go to will have its dangers and it is very important to do thorough research on how you will identify and mitigate risks in-field. Some risks are too great for the university's policies to allow, and some will deter student participation. In most cases you will simply need a rock-solid risk management plan. Your GSP advisor will be more than happy to advise you on university risk policy and some strategies for mitigation. 

Above all, try to enjoy the exploratory stage. There is much to think about, however, this is your chance to think completely outside the four walls of the classroom. Thinking creatively in your research will help both you and your students have an enjoyable and memorable experience. 

Past Group Study Programs

If you are looking for inspiration in pulling your proposal together check out these past programs. 

Anthropology & Archaeology in Mexico

This intensive block program will take place in Oaxaca located in the southern highlands of Mexico. Today, despite modern pressure, Oaxaca remains home to numerous indigenous communities who still practice traditional lifeways, speak native languages, and dress in regional costume. This makes it an ideal setting for holistic studies of indigenous cultures, past and present.

Program Profile

Environmental & Conservation Geography of SE Asia

This program’s itinerary is designed to maximize exposure to local natural and urban environments; as well as the historical evolution of – and social, political, and environmental problems occurring within – the Southeast Asian region.

Program Profile

Experiencing Japanese Business

This immersive program will allow students to experience first-hand the beauty and paradox that is modern Japanese culture, while at the same time developing key cross-cultural and international business acumen.

Program Profile