Travel Study Courses Policy

Custodian of Policy: Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Relevant Minnesota State System Policy: Board Policy 5.19.3

Effective Date: Fall 2018

Last Review: Spring 2018

Next Review: Fall 2025


A travel study course is defined as a faculty-led, credit-bearing experience, of generally less than six weeks, in which the majority of the instruction is provided at an off-campus location. Travel study courses may be conducted within the United States or abroad. Field trips conducted as part of a campus-based class are excluded from this policy. All travel study courses must be proposed and approved using standard Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) forms. The deadline for proposing a travel study course is during spring semester of the year preceding the course offering, usually in mid-late March.

Any faculty member, except adjunct faculty, may propose a travel study course. The faculty member must be employed by and contracted to MSUM at the time the course takes place. The course should be listed on the Faculty Assignment Record approved by the department. There should be one faculty member to every 12-15 students on a tour.

Travel study courses shall be taught using a course syllabus that follows the MSUM syllabus policy. Use of a -90 topics number is appropriate, but if the same course is offered more than three times with the topics number, the course must be approved by the University Curriculum Committee as a regular course. In order for students to receive LASC credit, the course must be approved in advance of recruiting for the course by the University Curriculum Committee. LASC designation is not required and may not be applicable for all travel study courses.

Travel study courses should be offered for an appropriate number of credits, as determined by the academic department offering the course. In general, a one (1 )-credit course would have fifteen (15) contact hours; two (2) credits, thirty (30) contact hours; three (3) credits, forty-five (45) contact hours; and four (4) credits, sixty (60) contact hours. A contact hour consists of actual instructional time. It is expected that students spend additional time with the course material outside of contact hours with the instructor. Course work may be completed prior to the tour or following its completion.

Faculty shall select participants for the travel study course and will use a standard application form. All students must be registered for the course; community members must also register for the course, but they may choose to audit the course instead of receiving a grade. Students who have formal duties related to the tour, such as research assistant, are not required to register for the course.

Selection criteria should be clearly specified; relevant to the program; and applied in the same manner, to all. Eligibility requirements may be based on academic qualifications (which may include GPA and course prerequisites); or current status (e.g., not currently on academic probation); demonstrated leadership skills, knowledge or commitment to cultural concerns, or other criteria relevant to the tour. Faculty may not collect or use "protected" class information as selection criteria (e.g., race, ethnicity, age or disability). Following their selection, accepted participants must complete appropriate health information forms, which includes information about an asserted disability. Those individuals are directed to contact the campus disabilities services office to verify the existence of a disability and what kind of reasonable accommodation is requested.

The budget for the course shall include all tuition, fees, expenses, and deposits paid by the students. Any deposits shall be applied directly to the program fee. Airline tickets purchased are the property of the participants. Any change or cancellation fees are additional charges paid by the participant.

University funds may not be used to subsidize travel for non-university purposes, including family members who have no assigned responsibilities. Faculty cannot use "free" trip slots or other incentives that are sometimes offered by travel organizations for family members. Children of faculty under the age of eighteen (18) must be accompanied by another adult. Family members must also carry insurance that includes evacuation and repatriation.

Payments to faculty for work that is not part of the normal workload must be made as "extra duty days." Faculty may not receive payments of any kind from a tour company, host institution, or other organization.

Faculty members are encouraged to plan their trip using a reputable travel agency to the extent possible. Business Services can provide a list of reputable agencies that do business with MSUM. Due diligence must be taken to ensure that any other travel agents or venue planners used are reputable and legitimate. The appropriate MSUM personnel must sign contracts on behalf of the university. Typically, this will be a college Dean.

Prior to travel, faculty members must review any applicable travel policies and procedures with their students and provide information required by applicable policies and procedures to MSUM officials.

Prior to travelling abroad, all participants, including faculty, students, and community members, are required to have insurance that includes repatriation and evacuation coverage. Faculty and students are encouraged to use the Minnesota State system-provided insurance policy.

Applicable MSUM and Minnesota State system policies and relevant information which shall be followed, includes but is not limited to: Minnesota State Travel Management Policy & Procedure, Minnesota State Education Abroad Policy & Procedure, Foreign Currency reimbursement conversion, U.S. State Department Travel Warnings, Credit Card use, Conflict of interest, the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy, and the Vehicle Use Policy.