Develop or Renew a Faculty-Led Embedded Program

A faculty-led embedded program is a short-term education abroad experience that is offered as a component or supplement to an academic course taught in residence on a Penn State campus or online.  The international component is typically scheduled during a semester break or early summer, and it generally lasts 7-14 days.

A faculty-led embedded program can enhance the international offerings within a particular academic department, can support internationalization strategic goals of a college, and can allow for a student to gain valuable education abroad experience within the academic structure of a Penn State course.  The faculty leader assumes a great deal of responsibility for the development, proposal, implementation, and execution of the course - including the academic content, travel logistics, international site visits and activities, budgeting and payments, and health and safety of program participants.  This may seem like an overwhelming list of responsibilities, but there are a number of support resources to help the faculty leader throughout the entire process.  Please visit the embedded courses resource page for additional information.

In order to minimize institutional risk and to ensure compliance with University Policy FN20, Global Programs requires faculty and departments (graduate and undergraduate) organizing and/or sponsoring embedded programs to submit course information and essential documentation to Education Abroad via the online embedded course development and proposal process, which is outlined for review.

Global Programs Embedded Course Proposal Process

There is a two-step online embedded course proposal process managed by the Education Abroad unit of Global Programs.  All faculty-led embedded courses must be proposed by the faculty leader or staff coordinator according to the timelines established by Global Programs and outlined in a subsequent section of this page.

Step 1: "Pre-Decision" Materials Submission

The online system utilized by Global Programs to receive faculty-led embedded course submissions is also used for a number of other purposes.  As such, some of the system terminology might be a bit confusing.  The "pre-decision" phase refers to the idea that the information submitted during this stage will be used in order for Global Programs and other relevant parties, if applicable (e.g., High-Risk Travel Committee, Risk Management, University College International Studies Committee), to make a decision on whether the planned course meets University policies and standards.  Among other brief required readings, the following items are requested during the pre-decision phase.


Course proposers will be asked to answer detailed questions about the course, travel plans, student group size and demographics, risk management issues, and other pertinent details in the following requirements:

  • Embedded Programming: Program Information
  • Embedded Programming: Risk Management Details
  • Program Proposal: High-Risk Travel Destination (required only if traveling to a country with U.S. State Department Travel Warning and/or a country deemed "dangerous" by University stakeholders)

Your electronic signature is required on the following materials:

  • Emergency Preparedness Session, Agree to Attend

Academic Approval (Recommendation)

Global Programs asks for evidence that the academic unit that is offering the course approves it to be run as planned.  The Associate Dean or the Director of Academic Affairs (DAA) for the sponsoring unit must log in and answer 4-5 very simple questions to indicate approval of academic leadership.  The faculty or staff member proposing the course must enter the Penn State userID of the Associate Dean or DAA which will prompt the system to send the approver a message allowing him or her to log in and approve the course proposal.  The approval will only take a few moments for the Associate Dean or DAA to submit.

Step 2: "Post-Decision" Materials Submission

Once your pre-decision requirements are submitted, reviewed, and approved, the course proposal will be moved into "committed" status which means the initial program information and approval from the unit's academic leadership meet the requirements of the University and Global Programs.  The post-decision phase refers to the time after your proposal has been approved in the system.  During this phase, there are a number of essential items to submit, and this section explains many of them.


In order to best serve the program participants, Global Programs requires essential program information to be submitted in a timely manner.  The requirements to be completed before departure are as follows:

  • Detailed program itinerary (template of acceptable level of detail available within the online system)
  • Program participant roster that includes students, faculty, and staff
  • Program emergency contact information
  • Export compliance form, in accordance with University international travel requirements

The proposal requires electronic signatures on the following materials:

  • Student registration in academic course (confirming understanding that all students must be enrolled in embedded course in LionPATH)
  • Agree to communication responsibilities while abroad
  • Export compliance certification statement