Teaching Courses Abroad


What is an Autonomous Program? 

Autonomous programs are administered out of a college, school, or department (sponsoring units). The Autonomous program model requires the sponsoring unit or program leader to be completely autonomous and prepared to manage all aspects of the program including activities normally taken on by the Learning Abroad Center (LAC). The LAC is minimally involved in Autonomous programs. LAC services for Autonomous programs are limited to what is outlined for Education Abroad Centers in the University's Student Travel and Education Abroad: Health & Safety policy.

Approved by the Department Chair, the Autonomous programs frequently fulfill specific curricular objectives and allow the program leaders to specialize course pedagogy in an international setting. This program model works well for leaders who prefer to design a discipline-specific program for a particular population of students.

For more information about Autonomous programs, refer to the Comparison of Services and Program Model Comparison Chart.

To receive a comprehensive packet on study abroad program models via Campus Mail, contact Lindsey Lahr or Brook Blahnik. Include your name and campus mail address or code.

Letter of Understanding

The Letter of Understanding (LOU) serves as an intra-UofM contract between the LAC and your unit. All parties must sign the LOU before LAC staff can begin substantial work for your program.

Program Deadlines

All Programs

The completed form packet for Autonomous programs, including all completed forms from program participants must be recieved by the Learning Abroad Center no later than three weeks prior to the program departure date. 

Additional Resources

Program Development Resources

For additional resources on program development, funding opportunities, on-campus and national resources, testimonials from leaders, research and assessment information, leader health information, and companion information, see Leader Resources.

Working with On-Site Partners

The LAC compiles a list of on-site partners who assist with program design, administration, and in-country logistics (including accommodation, local transportation, and excursions). For more information, see Working With On-Site Partners.


For more information, or to begin the process of creating a program, contact the appropriate Learning Abroad Center staff member:

Brook Blahnik, Associate Director—Process and Enrollment

Eric Leinen, Program Director: College of Liberal Arts, College of Continuing and Professional Studies

Jill Reister, Program Director: College of Education and Human Development, Leadership Education and Development—Undergraduate Programs

Tim Dohmen, Program Director: College of Liberal Arts

Vanessa Walton, Associate Program Director: Academic Health Center, College of Biological Sciences, Athletics, University Recreation

Ryan McCarthy, Associate Program Director: College of Science and Engineering; Humphrey School of Public Affairs; College of Design; College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences

Program Model Comparison Chart