The Immersive Learning and Study Abroad Manual covers policies and procedures, including step-by-step guides for researching, applying for, and participating in our programs.
This manual is designed as both a menu of most of our immersive learning and off-campus programs and a step-by-step guide to applying for those programs. Key policies and requirements are outlined, and you should use this manual as needed in your advising sessions with key faculty and staff. All students will be held to policies and procedures listed in the most current student life policies.
Tips on how to use this document as well as policies and procedures that apply to all immersive learning and study abroad programs.
All students will be held to policies and procedures listed in the most current student life policies. These include but are not limited to our Student Code of Conduct and being in good academic standing. These policies are subject to change at the discretion of the Institute.
This manual is largely dedicated to off-campus courses and opportunities; however, many policies and procedures also apply to local or regional projects in the Monterey area.
Students may want to conduct an academic project while completing an internship, a client project, field research, or an industry conference as well as programs offered through other schools. Directed studies typically range in credit from one to six units. Students must find a faculty member to oversee the research. See the directed study petition for more information. For directed study course work to fulfill language requirements, consult with your career and academic advisor.
Transfer Credit Requirements
Middlebury Institute students have the option to petition to transfer credits from other reputable academic institutions. Consult section 5.12 of the Policy and Standards Manual to learn about requirements and process steps for language and other classes. Some study abroad and exchange programs may have specific processes in place for preapproving credit transfers. Consult the relevant program section in this manual for additional information.
Walking in Graduation
Students spending their final semester off-campus through a semester-long immersive learning program like IPSS, DPMI Plus, FMS, Middlebury Schools Abroad, or the IEM practicum can walk in graduation during the December or May ceremony preceding their semester off-campus. Students may also return for the graduation ceremony in their last semester. Consult the Records Office to complete a petition to graduate.
Leave of Absence (LOA)
Some students will want to take a break from their studies to complete a fellowship or continue a paid summer internship into the fall semester, for example. As per PSM section 4.1, a student may register for a Leave of Absence (LOA) for up to two years if he/she has successfully completed at least one semester, is in good academic standing, and all financial obligations due to the Institute are paid in full. In order to begin the LOA process, you will need to pick up an LOA petition from the Records Office and consult your academic advisor. International students should also consult the international student advisor and this page for additional considerations.
Degree Planning and Immersive Learning and Study Abroad
Immersive learning is part of almost everything we do. It takes place on and off campus, from team projects for a client in Monterey to semesterlong credit-bearing internships and study abroad. Review a list of immersive learning and study abroad opportunities. Some immersive learning programs and courses are geared toward specific degree programs. Consult your degree map and speak with your career and academic advisor, as well as faculty and staff managing these programs, to discuss which options work best for you.
Financial Aid and Billing
An overview of internal and external scholarships as well as student loan options and customized budgets for off-campus, credit-bearing programs.
Financing Your Immersive Learning Program
Consult Student Financial Services in the Casa Fuente Building during business hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about federal and private financial aid funding options for credit-bearing immersive learning programs. Please note that noncredit immersive learning opportunities are normally not eligible for federal financial aid. The Institute also provides funding through our immersive learning endowment. These scholarships are competitive and limited. They are distributed as reimbursements through Immersive Learning and Conference Funding. For more information, contact Barbara Burke.
The Institute funds individual immersive learning awards up to $1,500. Please note that students already receiving significant funding from other grants, paid internships, scholarships, etc., for the immersive learning activity should not apply. Apply online by the appropriate deadline(s). If approved, students are asked to submit receipts for expenses and a deliverable as part of funding requirements. For more information, contact Barbara Burke.
The Student Council awards individual conference funding each academic year. This funding can cover travel or conference registration fees for students to attend conferences in their sector. View application and deadlines.
Students may also consider other funding options outside of the Institute, such as paid internships or jobs for a semesterlong practicum; crowdfunding (e.g., Start Some Good); donated airline miles; and outside family foundations, fellowships, and study abroad scholarships such as a Boren Fellowship or Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace.
Students serving in certain locations may require a customized monthly living expenses budget more than the standard Monterey budget. For students serving in D.C., New York, Geneva, and Austria, a separate estimated living expense budget has been developed by Immersive Learning and is available through the Office of Student Financial Services. For those serving other locations that may require more than the Monterey budget, please consult the director of Immersive Professional Learning or your program lead to develop a custom budget.
IPSS and DPMI Plus students should consult the director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs to develop a custom budget. IEM Practicum students should work with the director of Immersive Professional Learning and Special Programs.
For custom budgets, please email Angie Quesenberry for the appropriate contact.
Students participating in international short-term practicum courses (J-term, spring break, summer, etc.) should contact Financial Aid in person or by email to request the estimated student budget for travel, living, and program fee expenses for their international practicum (e.g., Spain, Team Peru, DPMI).
Student budgets are provided to Financial Aid by the programs in advance. The cost of travel and program expenses for a typical two to four week international practicum is around $4,000 (flight, living, and program fee). Please note that additional loans for international practica are only available to students enrolled in the practicum for academic credit.
U.S. Veterans’ Benefits
Students receiving veterans’ benefits should consult the Institute’s admissions benefits as well as these additional non-Institute Scholarship and Financial Resources for specific government credit and timeline requirements for maintaining eligibility for these benefits.
Flight and Program Fee Advances
If you are requesting student loans to cover the cost of your immersive learning program, you may request an advance of those funds to cover up front out-of-pocket expenses such as airfare or program fees. To request an advance, contact the Student Financial Services Office.
For example, a student may request an advance to cover airfare and a program fee deposit for a J-term practicum in October or November leading up to the January program.
DPMI Plus students seeking a longer internship over the summer and fall semesters may take six units of DPMI course work in the summer and six units of DPMI Plus in the fall semester. This can allow federal aid recipients the option to request living expenses for the entire DPMI Plus fellowship without incurring additional tuition fees for registering across two semesters. Students must apply through Regina Garner in Financial Aid.
Travel, Safety, and Visas
Please review Middlebury’s Global Operations resources and requirements, which includes information about the following:
We recommended that any F-1 or J-1 visa student sponsored by the Institute and planning on participating in a short or semesterlong practicum, exchange program, or fellowship, meet with your international student advisor to discuss how participation in one of the above activities may affect your nonimmigrant status, including whether work authorization is needed and how future benefits associated with your status may be affected.
Students in the F-1 or J-1 status who are not sponsored by the Institute will need to contact sponsors to determine how participating in one of these experiences may affect status.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
The Institutional Review Board exists to protect people who participate in original research conducted at Middlebury or by a member of the Middlebury community, including faculty, staff, and students. This might be research conducted on a fellowship supported by the Institute, or work done in the field while on a semesterlong practicum. View the policy, application, and contact information.
Find what you need to do to successfully participate in each program.
Winter (J-Term) and Spring Practica
The Institute offers two to four week international practica in locations around the world during January term, spring break, and summer. These practica fulfill the following three requirements: (1) covers a pressing global issue, (2) relates to or is integral to your degree program learning objectives or course requirements, and (3) builds relevant professional skills.
Program sites for January and spring break programs are announced by September 1. Summer programs are announced by October 1.
If you are interested in participating in a short practicum, you should take the following steps:
Fall semester: Attend an information session or speak with the faculty and/or staff leading the program.
Fall semester: Consult your degree map to ensure course aligns with requirements.
Fall semester: Apply for the program (if applicable) and register for practicum course during spring course registration.
October–November: Visit financial aid to request additional funding (if applicable).
Fall semester: Apply for immersive learning funding (competitive and limited).
November: Attend predeparture noncredit Intercultural Competence (ICC) workshop (noncredit) designed specifically for J-term and spring break practicum participants.
November–December: Prepare for travel (vaccinations, prescriptions, etc.), register for travel, and ensure sufficient international insurance coverage if not on MIIS student plan.
Fall semester: Attend predeparture group meetings.
Spring semester: Attend reentry meetings and ICC debrief schools abroad.
Spring semester: Submit immersive learning deliverable (if awarded funding) and voucher/receipts for reimbursement of travel or program fee costs.
Spring semester: Participate in community presentation (as planned by each practicum).
Short practicum courses are normally offered for two or four units. Students must select a specific number of credits prior to participating in the course and complete specified deliverables for the credits selected. Students cannot change credit levels after the program has started. Each faculty member determines if the course will be offered for a letter grade or pass/fail. Select practica may qualify as an Intercultural Competence (ICC) course. Consult the course listing for more information.
The Institute offers a competitive process for students to apply for immersive learning funding to help offset travel and program fee costs associated with these practica. See more about funding in Section I.
Other Applied/Immersive Learning Courses
Courses involving work or client projects off campus require completion of a domestic waiver (U.S. placements) or, if abroad, completion of an international activity approval form and travel registration.
Students can earn credit toward their degree while significantly enhancing the international dimension of their educational experience. Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad provides students with academically rigorous and culturally immersive experiences all over the world. Relevant internships may also be taken during the Schools Abroad semester.
Attend an information session on the Middlebury Schools Abroad program, if available. Sessions are generally held prior to each semester’s deadline. Note that for the purpose of the application process, our deadlines align with those noted for “Outside Applicants.” Students can apply in fall for the spring semester and in spring for the following fall semester.
Determine whether a Middlebury Schools Abroad program may be right for you.
Schools Abroad programs may be challenging to incorporate into Institute degree programs that are highly structured and sequential, such as the Translation and Interpretation programs and joint degrees.
The language requirements may vary from those required for admission to the Institute.
You can take up to all 12 of your language credits during a Schools Abroad semester.
The credit transfer limitations in the Policies and Standards Manual apply to Schools Abroad credits.
One Schools Abroad credit transfers as three credits at the Middlebury Institute. Most, though not all, Schools Abroad courses are one Middlebury credit each. The number of credits that will transfer to your degree program will be confirmed by the Records Office during the course preapproval process.
Whenever possible, you should plan to apply Schools Abroad credits towards language and elective requirements of your degree rather than degree-specific requirements.
- Course grades will be incorporated into your overall grade point average (GPA).
- Study abroad is limited to one semester only per student.
Schedule appointments via Zócalo with Jen Holguin, director of fellowships, exchanges and study abroad, and your CACS advisor to discuss your options and confirm whether this program is a good fit with your degree plan. A joint appointment with Jen Holguin and your advisor could be very useful; simply schedule an appointment with your advisor at a time when Jen is also open, and then email Jen to let her know you’d like to do a joint appointment.
Send an email to Susan Parsons, our contact in the International Programs and Off-campus Study Office at Middlebury, and copy Jen Holguin, to alert her that you plan to apply. She can connect you with the appropriate advisor in her office and perhaps the country director in the program to which you plan to apply to begin discussing requirements and program/school/course options.
Schedule a meeting with the Office of Student Financial Services to discuss the financial implications of going abroad.
In most cases, Middlebury Schools Abroad tuition is less than Middlebury Institute tuition. Students will pay this tuition to the Institute, in addition to the study abroad fee, as indicated on the Program Fees web page for each Schools Abroad country. Living costs, which are generally not included in tuition, can be estimated on the Schools Abroad Program Fees pages for each country’s program.
All scholarships and federal financial aid will apply toward your Schools Abroad program if at least six credits will count towards your degree. Your scholarship will be prorated if you are taking fewer than full-time credits (12).
A Schools Abroad semester cannot factor into your credit overage count. This means that if you overload in your other semesters (more than an average of 16 credits per semester), underloading in your Schools Abroad semester will not “even out” your overloads.
Costs for students who will be less than full-time status will be similar to per-credit charges at the Institute.
Currently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will not fund Middlebury Schools Abroad programs. Students receiving VA funding to attend the Institute may need to seek federal financial aid or other outside funding to support a Schools Abroad semester.
Begin an application on the Middlebury Schools Abroad website. The entire application process is online.
As a Middlebury Institute student, the application materials you will be required to complete include the following:
Copy of your passport
Language evaluation—to be completed by your language faculty or the program coordinator of your language department
Major advisor approval—to be completed by Jen Holguin in consultation with the relevant degree program chair and dean/assistant dean
Once Accepted/Course Planning
Because you will be registered for Middlebury Schools Abroad courses and not Middlebury Institute courses during your semester abroad, you will need to fill out a Leave of Absence petition. The standard Leave of Absence fee is waived.
You will begin working on the process of obtaining your visa and other pre-departure processes with the Middlebury International Programs Office.
If you are accepted to the program, you should begin the process of finalizing your specific program within the country and begin to work with the advisors and the country program staff to determine which courses you’ll plan to register for. Note that you will not be formally registering for your courses until the beginning of the semester. However, you should do your best to develop a likely list of courses and have them preapproved in advance of your departure.
All courses you wish to apply toward your Institute degree must be preapproved prior to the start of your study abroad program semester to the extent possible, with the understanding that registration will take place when you arrive in your country of study. You should work with the program-specific Schools Abroad advisor and the country director for your program to obtain as much information about course options as possible. Preapproval forms must be submitted before the start of the semester, though changes can be made once you register. If any changes to your schedule are made after the initial preapproval process, it is critical that you submit these changes as soon as possible using the preapproval form. See below for the appropriate links.
Courses to Fulfill Language Requirements
All Schools Abroad courses taught in the target language can count toward your language requirement. They do not require preapproval. Remember that you may take up to all 12 credits of your language requirements in one semester of a Middlebury Study Abroad program. To transfer credits for language credit, they must conform to all regulations in the Policies and Standards Manual. This includes receipt of a letter grade of B or better for each course.
Courses to Fulfill Degree-Specific Requirements
To meet degree program electives or degree-specific requirements, you have three options:
You may take program-relevant courses at the graduate level if such courses are available and your language level is high enough to allow you to function at that level in the target language.
You may take program-relevant courses at the undergraduate level. Additional work in English or the target language (if student’s language level allows) will be designed for each course that brings the level of work to the graduate level, to be supervised and evaluated by a relevant Schools Abroad faculty member or country director, who will help the student identify a) additional class work needed to bring the class up to graduate level, and b) appropriate deliverables that are of graduate quality and rigor. The supervisor should hold a PhD and/or significant real-world experience in the subject area. This work must be completed and evaluated on a pass/fail basis and must receive a grade of “pass” in order for course work to be transferred to the student’s degree program (note that the course itself must have a letter grade assigned).
You may take program-relevant courses at the undergraduate level. Additional work will be designed for each course that brings the level of work to the graduate level. If there is no qualified SA faculty or country director to supervise graduate-level work, the student can seek the supervision of a faculty member who will help the student identify a) additional class work needed to bring the class up to graduate level, and b) appropriate deliverables that are of graduate quality and rigor. The additional work will be in English unless the relevant faculty member can evaluate the work in the target language. This work must be completed and evaluated on a pass/fail basis and must receive a grade of “pass” in order for course work to be transferred to the student’s degree program.
Approvals for course work and additional projects will be required from the administration and degree program chairs. Note that, to the extent possible, approval should be obtained prior to departure for the SA program, or as soon as is feasible after arrival in-country.
To transfer credits for degree-specific credit, they must conform to all regulations in the Policies and Standards Manual. This includes receipt of a letter grade of B or better for each course.
Please use this form to begin the preapproval process for degree-specific course work, including any additional course work required. The form will automatically be submitted to the administration and Jen Holguin. If you are taking undergraduate-level courses and need to develop a plan to bring the courses up to graduate level, you can submit the form with just the course information as soon as you have it, and then again once you have a plan worked out with one or more professors.
Upon completion of any additional course work done to bring a course up to the graduate level, the supervising faculty member should use this form to confirm the completion of satisfactory work. This confirmation will prompt the Records Office to transfer the course toward your degree program.
Contact Jen Holguin for more information.
Below are resources for internal fellowships, external fellowships, independent research, and other extracurricular opportunities.
Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) Summer Fellows
To be eligible for the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) Summer Fellows, you must be a first year continuing IEP student officially registered as taking the concentration in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (per your academic advisor). You must have completed International Marine Law, be enrolled in Ocean and Coastal Economics, and finish the OCRM courses upon return in the fall. IEP students who are not taking the concentration in OCRM may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Center for Conflict Studies (CCS) Peacebuilder Fellowship
Students can apply for small grants to cover research on peacebuilding in an international location set by the Center for Conflict Studies on an annual basis when available. For more information email email@example.com.
Sarah Meek Travel Grant
This award was made possible by a continuing donation from the family of Sarah Meek (IPS ’96), whose life was cut short while working to improve social conditions in Africa. Up to two travel grants will be awarded to students conducting research on social change in Africa. To be eligible, students must be returning to the Institute for one or more semesters following the completion of the grant project, or be currently enrolled during the grant project.
The research can be either independent or part of an established immersive learning program such as IPSS, DPMI Plus, or Frontier Market Scouts. The research must be conducted in a country in Africa for a duration of three to four months or more. A call for applications will be sent via email early in the spring semester to all students.
To apply for this grant, contact Jen Holguin. Applications are due in early spring.
Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund
The Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Fund will make available $1,500 to support a student or students to undertake a summer internship in the human trafficking field. The fund was established to honor Michiel Brandt, a former student who was planning to pursue a career in this field when she died of leukemia in July 2012, and to carry on her dream.
The recipient(s) of the cash prize will be selected by an administrator-faculty committee on a competitive basis, with priority consideration given to applicants with an internship offer in hand. To be eligible, students must be returning to the Institute for one or more semesters following the completion of the grant project, or be currently enrolled during the grant project.
Watch for an email announcing the opening of the application cycle in the spring. The application deadline is generally in mid-spring. Contact Barbara Burke for more information.
The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, founded by the Institute’s Dr. Beryl Levinger, helps RPCVs pursue a master’s degree in the fields of international development, human rights, conflict resolution, environmental policy, sustainable development, international trade, international business, or language teaching.
Kathryn Davis Fellowships for Peace
These fellowships are competitive, merit-based awards open to all applicants to the summer Middlebury Language Schools.
Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS)
The Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies (GIRS) research trip takes successful applicants to Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, and other cities in the Russian Far East to meet with high-ranking international affairs officials and journalists, as well as researchers and professors at prestigious academic institutions. Participants use these unique resources to complete large-scale research projects.
Freeman Foundation Award
The Freeman East Asia Internship Fund will make available ten $5,000 awards to support students as Freeman Foundation Fellows, to undertake internship or practica in East Asia. You'll find all guidelines and eligibility requirements on the program page. Contact Stacie Riley in the Vice President’s Office with any questions.
There are many external fellowships that are ideal for students beyond the brief list below. These are listed because there may be opportunities to incorporate these fellowships into your program, and/or there may be implications to your program to consider when applying for one of these opportunities.
Davis Projects for Peace
The Davis Projects for Peace program grants our students, along with students at United World College partner universities, $10,000 to pursue a project in the summer that focuses on conflict prevention, resolution or reconciliation. One project per year per school will be funded, along with a possible alternate. An email announcing the opening of the application cycle will be sent late in the fall semester. The deadline is early in the spring semester.
Review the application guidelines for more information. Note that most of the guidelines are included on the “Questions and Answers” page, and that samples can be found on the “Projects” page.
Contact Jen Holguin for more information about applying.
National Security Education Program Boren Fellowship
Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the U.S. National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad. All students on Boren Fellowships will study language and can additionally pursue an internship and/or research project. Learn more about the Boren Fellowships.
Contact Jen Holguin for more information about applying.
Fulbright U.S. Student Program
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects, the English Teaching Assistant Programs, and special programs including the Fulbright-National Geographic and Fulbright-Clinton in countries around the world. Learn more about the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Contact Jen Holguin for more information about applying.
Critical Language Scholarship
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is a fully funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. The program takes place in the summer in centers located around the world. Learn more about the Critical Language Scholarship Program.
Contact Jen Holguin for more information about applying.
You may pursue independent research, whether to complete a course requirement or to augment your professional résumé, during your time at the Institute.
To obtain credit for independent research not undertaken as part of a formal course at the Institute, please see section 4.5 of the Policy and Standards Manual. Directed studies typically range in credit from one to six units. Students must find a faculty member to oversee the research. The directed study petition is available in the Modules/Forms section of the IPM Front Desk course in Canvas. Translation and Interpretation students interested in a directed study should contact Angie Quesenberry.
As this is an Institute-sponsored program, you will need to view and submit the travel registration, health insurance, medical evacuation plan, and State Department Travel Warning Waiver information and follow the instructions, including registering your travel and submitting the international activity approval form.
Other Extracurricular Opportunities
The Institute maintains a list of sector and degree-relevant team competitions that are reviewed and promoted through program chairs and the Immersive Learning team. These projects are usually completed as extracurricular activities but may sometimes be part of a class or directed study (proposed by students). Team competitions are eligible for immersive learning funding (application required) and may involve travel to regional or international competitions. Promoted opportunities will be sent by email. Students are welcome to research and apply for competitions they find through their own research.
If participating as a Middlebury Institute-affiliated student and receiving Institute academic credit or funding through in-state groups traveling abroad for competitions, you must complete the travel registration process and ensure medical insurance coverage abroad.
The Institute encourages students to research and develop their own credit or noncredit immersive learning opportunities. Immersive learning funding may be available for these opportunities, regardless of whether they are credit-bearing. If there isn’t an existing immersive or applied program that fits your professional and academic goals, students can develop their own January practicum for a group of one to five students. If the project takes you abroad, international travel registration and medical insurance coverage requirements apply.
Client projects completed for academic credit and needing group transportation off campus require all students to complete a general activities waiver prior to departing for the client meeting or site visit. Please contact the deans' assistants with questions.
Off-Campus Work Study
Students eligible for Federal Work-Study can apply for positions at local organizations approved for work-study during spring or fall semesters. Under this arrangement, a significant portion of the student’s hourly wage is covered by Federal Work-Study funding. Information on how an organization can apply is available. Federal Work-Study funding is limited and the student must be approved for Federal Work-Study to qualify. International students and those not eligible for Federal Work-Study can apply for immersive learning funding through a competitive application process.