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Education Abroad

The Academic Course

Every faculty-led program combines two essential parts: an academic course and a short-term study tour abroad. This distinction is important for a variety of reasons. Each part is built separately, for example, and has different application and enrollment procedures, financial policies, challenges, and opportunities.

The academic course for a faculty-led program is the basis for a program’s educational merit. The faculty leader, with the consultation of his or her academic department and college dean, may choose whichever form of a course he or she sees fit. Courses:

  • May use any course number, given department and college approval;
  • May be credit-bearing or non-credit bearing;
  • May offer any amount of credit units;
  • Fall into one of three terms in which credit is awarded: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, or Summer Term. (Intersession courses fall under one of these three options.)

All courses are built through Global Campus with the assistance of Education Abroad. As a result of an agreement between these two units, all students taking the course for credit—including out-of-state or international students—pay in-state base tuition rates plus a Global Campus fee. Students do not pay Global Campus tuition rates.

Course Syllabus

As part of your program proposal, you must submit a complete course syllabus that contains the standard information on any on-campus course. These details include, but are not limited to, your Student Learning Outcomes, a course description, all assignments, any required textbooks or materials, a grading scheme, and course start and end dates. The syllabus should articulate clearly the roles of all faculty leaders, co-leaders, assistant leaders, and student learning assistants, as these individuals must facilitate academic instruction or logistical support in some essential capacity.

Student Learning Outcomes

Like any other course, a successful faculty-led program course is founded foremost upon sound Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). All faculty-led programs should start with a clear articulation of SLOs. Failure to consider the essential role of SLOs may lead to poor program design, confusion of target audiences, improper marketing, unclear evaluations, and lack of sufficient student interest.

Given the diversity of possible topics for faculty-led programs, all courses will and should have SLOs that reflect their academic content and study tour locations. That said, Education Abroad recommends inclusion or adaptation of the following Education Abroad SLOs for all faculty-led programs:

  1. Express and articulate intercultural skills and values
  2. Develop intercultural communication and critical thinking skills
  3. Build capacities for self-reflection and awareness
  4. Enhance cultural knowledge
  5. Gain global perspectives in respective fields of study

Course Dates

As non-traditional courses, faculty-led courses do not have to align strictly to the start and end of an academic term. With some degree of flexibility, you are free to choose the course's official start and end dates. 

The Registrar and Global Campus restrict course dates to the following parameters:

  • A course start date may not fall earlier than the start of the enrollment period for that course's term.
    • For example, summer courses may not start prior to the opening of summer term enrollment, which typically falls from late March to late April. The same process goes for fall and spring courses.
    • To view the dates of a term's enrollment period, consult the Registrar's Academic Calendar.
    • If faculty wish to meet with students prior to the enrollment period, they may do so, but these meetings are considered non-mandatory on-campus meetings, not official course meetings. They must inform students of these meetings well in advance, as they will not appear on their official KSIS schedules.
  • Course dates must be inclusive of the entirety of a study tour; a tour cannot begin prior to its course's official start date or terminate after a course's official end date.
  • Courses cannot start or end on federal or university holidays (but they may start or end on weekends).
  • The Registrar requires submission of final grades no later than five business days after the course end date.

For a start date, select the day when you expect to have the first mandatory course meeting, whether it be in-person, online, or abroad. For an end date, select the day when you hold the final mandatory course meeting or expect students to submit final projects, whether it be in-person, online, or abroad. Consider extending the official end date of the course well after the termination of the study tour to grant your students time to complete final projects and yourself time to grade.

Contact Hours

Kansas State determines that one credit hour equals 12.5 contact hours. As a result, a three-credit faculty-led program course would equal about 37.5 contact hours. Education Abroad considers contact hours to include any and all pre-tour meetings, official (not free) time during the study tour, and post-tour meetings. The university requires that a majority (50%) of contact hours fall during the term in which you award credit.


Your faculty-led program course may have one or more prerequisites as determined by you, your department, and your college dean. Prerequisites can be the same as listed in the Kansas State Course Catalog for the course number you choose; and may or may not include a minimum GPA requirement of 2.50, which is the standard minimum GPA that Education Abroad recommends. Note that too many prerequisites may affect negatively your ability to market the program to a wider audience of students.

Undergraduate versus Graduate Course Numbers

Kansas State divides coursework into divisions according to the chart below, from the K-State Course Catalog. Undergraduates may enroll in courses up to the 700-level, and graduates may enroll in courses for graduate credit at the 500-level and above. If a course enrolls any graduate students, regardless of its course number, the primary faculty leader must possess active graduate faculty status. A faculty leader may work with his or her department to arrange for temporary graduate faculty status if needed for a program.

000 - 099 An undergraduate course in which no credit is granted toward degree requirements.
100 - 299 An undergraduate lower-division course, designated as a freshman- or sophomore-level course.
300 - 499 An undergraduate upper-division course, designated as a junior- or senior-level course.
500 - 699 An undergraduate upper-division course, primarily designated as a junior- or senior-level course. Courses numbered 500-599 may be taken for graduate credit only in a graduate student’s minor field. Courses numbered 600-699 may be taken for graduate credit in a graduate student’s major field.
700 - 799 An undergraduate upper-division or graduate course, primarily a graduate-level course.
800 - 899 A graduate course, primarily for a master’s level course or a professional-level course.
900 - 999 A graduate course, primarily for a doctoral-level course.

Designing a Marketable Course

We encourage faculty to select and design courses with attention to several different factors. To maximize your pool of potential applicants, you should consider some push factors that tend to deter students: 

  • too many credits result in high tuition rates
  • a non-credit course may overburden a student with work for which they do not earn academic distinction
  • a program that duplicates a similar on-campus course or program abroad may not attract enough students
  • similarly, a program too specific in content may not interest enough applicants

Also consider other pull factors that may attract students, such as

  • K-State 8 tags,
  • professional electives for a major or minor, or
  • interdisciplinary topics that pull in students from more than one college or department.