Millersville Abroad Programs

The Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) welcomes faculty and staff who are interested in designing and implementing MAPS: Millersville Abroad Programs! Those who have done so commonly state that it is an amazingly rewarding experience and that they enjoy working with students outside of the typical classroom environment. IPS strives to support faculty and staff in their Program Leader roles to prepare for a successful trip.

Read the International Travel Policy for more information. 

Getting Started

Whether you have a detailed program in mind or still in the beginning stages, meet with IPS' Faculty Coordinator and/or the Associate Director of Education Abroad & Partnerships to review the Steps to Lead a MAPS Program, review proposal requirements, timeline, and other important information.

Completing a MAPS Proposal can take some Program Leaders (PL) a few hours and others a few months to complete as it depends upon a variety of factors such as if you are planning it yourself, with another colleague, or working with a vendor. IPS prefers to meet with faculty as soon as possible to start the process to ensure there is enough time to prepare a successful program.

Contact Information: 

MAPS Proposal Deadlines:

The following deadlines for MAPS Proposals are set to help ensure enough time can be committed to review and approve proposals, and to allow sufficient time for the marketing and recruitment of participants. 

Program Term Proposal Deadlines Suggested Application Deadlines for Participants
Summer September 20th February 20th
Fall February 20th May 20th
Winter May 20th September 20th
Spring May 20th September 20th

Note: PLs may complete their proposals in advance of the deadlines to allow additional time for marketing and recruitment. 

  • MAPS Program Proposal

    Steps to Lead a MAPS Program:
    1. (If a new to leading programs abroad or new to MU) Meet with the Associate Director of Education Abroad & Partnerships to learn about how to get started. 
    2. Complete a MAPS Program Proposal *Deadlines apply. IPS will provide feedback and gain the necessary campus approvals. 
    3. Recruit participants and review applications.
    4. Complete pre-departure paperwork and lead a study abroad orientation session.
    5. Depart for a successful program! 

    MAPS Proposal: MAPS Proposals are completed on the Study Abroad/International Portal. There are 5 key proposal items to complete and several notes to read. You can begin some of the key proposal items early, using the links below: 

    1. Program Overview
    2. Program Itinerary
    3. Budget Worksheet and Payment Plan
    4. Program Risk Assessment
    5. Marketing Information

    Ready to Begin?

    The MAPS Proposal will be submitted electronically through the Study Abroad/International Travel Portal. You can log into this website using your Millersville credentials. A MAPS Proposal will be created for you on this website once you meet with an IPS staff member, or by email request for all returning Program Leaders. Email to get started. 

    Proposal Review & Approval

    • Once your MAPS Proposal is submitted, IPS will be notified to start the review process. IPS will review the proposal and provide feedback to PLs and/or request additional information or revisions. IPS can meet with PLs individually to review and answer questions. PLs have three days to make any changes
    • After IPS' review, the following items are sent to the Department Chair and Dean/Director for their review and feedback:
      • Program Overview
      • Program Itinerary
      • Budget Worksheet
      • Program Risk Assessment
    • Upon approval, you will be notified by IPS and a program brochure and student application will be created on the Study Abroad Portal. It can take between 1-3 weeks to gain approval after submission. 

    International Programs and Services:

    • Approves the program budget (when no additional funding/grants are being used) and risk assessment. 
    • Confirms that logistic details align with university regulations and that all University policies are adhered to.

    Department Chair:

    • Approves the academic component of a program when offered for academic credit. The department’s requirements, offerings, and other academic details are considered.  


    • Approves program budgets when additional funding sources are included on the Budget Worksheet.
    • Approves Program Leaders' participation related to Human Resources and overall program considerations. 

    Comprehensive Internationalization Advisory Board:

    • Program Leaders that request their program be approved as a recurring program are submitted to the CIZN Advisory Board for review. They review MAPS proposals using the MAPS Evaluation Rubric to provide a Letter of Program Distinction. Programs of Distinction are approved for recurring status and do not need to complete a full proposal each year. 


  • MAPS Program Design Options

    All faculty and staff-led study abroad programs are known as MAPS: Millersville Abroad Programs. As a Program Leader (PL), it is important to know who is responsible for every aspect of your program. Depending on your experience, interest, and availability, PLs may be interested in one or more of the following MAPS options:

    MAPS with Full Responsibility: PLs are responsible for all aspects of the program, from initial planning, budget, delivery, and assessment. In this option, PLs may choose to do all the preparation work individually or utilize the services of a provider/vendor to take on the logistics and risk management responsibilities. 

    MAPS with Shared Responsibility: In this level, PLs provide and manage the academic component while IPS coordinates the program logistics. This collaboration allows newer PLs to engage in study abroad programming with limited administrative responsibilities. IPS requires those interested in this category to begin collaboration early to ensure staff workload can be managed appropriately.

    IPS-Led MAPS: IPS coordinates the program logistics and learning components. IPS acts as Primary Program Leader and other MU faculty/staff are recruited as Secondary Program Leaders. 

  • Responsible Parties

    Program Leader(s):

    • Responsible for pre-departure and onsite arrangements as well as program implementation.
    • Responsible for program marketing and recruitment.
    • Assist IPS with ensuring all participants’ applications and paperwork are complete.
    • Review participants’ applications to determine participant eligibility.
    • Provide location specific Study Abroad Orientation meeting for participants and their supporters which should include a minimum of information regarding:
      • Participant expectations
      • Travel logistics
      • Health and safety issues (specific to the host location)
      • Adjustment to the host culture
      • Information about the host location and society
      • Topics include but are not limited to: Appropriate dress, Local laws and customs, Local mobility (which neighborhoods in the area are safe), Gender dynamics, Youth/elder relationships, Food and meal etiquette, Safe behavior
    • While abroad act as an emergency responder and work with IPS regarding any issues related to participants’ physical and mental health.
    • Between you and any Secondary Program Leaders, be accessible 24/7 to participants during both planned program activities and during free time.
    • For-Credit Programs: Academic departments and colleges have the responsibility for the academic content and instructional delivery methods.

    International Programs and Services:

    • Facilitate in the development of programs and ensures compliance with university policies, best practices in study abroad, and health and safety requirements.
    • Create online brochures on the Study Abroad Portal and assist the PL with marketing and recruitment.
    • Manges program fund centers and all participant deposits, payments, and refunds.  
    • Assists Program Leaders in making payments to providers/vendors. 
    • Review participants’ applications with Program Leader(s) to determine participant eligibility. IPS reserves the right to make the final decision regarding an applicant yet will do so in consultation with the Program Leader.
    • Review the participants' pre-departure paperwork and re-entry activities.
    • Provide health and safety protocol information and/or training.
    • Provide general Study Abroad Orientation programming and materials for participants and their families. 
    • Provide 24/7 emergency support to Program Leaders and participants while abroad.
  • Proposal Tips: Program Design

    Questions to Ask Yourself:

    • What are the learning goals of your program?
    • How will my program leverage the unique learning opportunities of the destination?
    • Can the program be virtual study abroad rather than in-person?
    • How will I prompt students to reflect on their learning in and outside of the structured experience?
    • How will I support the continuity of student learning pre-departure, on-site, and post-program?
    • How familiar am I with the cultural values, norms and language of the host community?
    • How will my program respect the values and norms of the host community and avoid imposing an undue burden on its resources?
    • Will local infrastructure support a safe and effective program (transportation, housing, healthcare)?
    • What are the risks associated with this destination?
    • What requirements do students need to meet to participate?
    Millersville adheres to Forum's Standards of Good Practice and Code of Ethics.
  • Proposal Tips: Budget

    As part of the program proposal, you will need to submit a budget. Program Leaders are ultimately responsible for their program budget, unless they are participating on an IPS-Led MAPS Program. The budget is reviewed by IPS and your Department Chair and/or Dean if additional funding sources are used. 

    Questions to Ask Yourself:

    • How will the program be funded? Will low enrollment affect the program?
    • How will I pay for services before students have paid deposits?
    • How will I pay for goods and services while abroad?
    • Is my program sufficiency staffed to achieve learning goals and respond to emergencies? Secondary Program Leaders are encouraged for programs will more than 5 student participants. 
    • Will I need to hire local experts or service providers? How will they be vetted and arranged?
  • Proposal Tips: Student Advisement, Recruitment, and Selection

    PLs are responsible for recruitment. IPS will actively market programs that are open to all MU students through in-person and virtual study abroad advising, and print and digital marketing. PLS must meet the minimum recruitment threshold to financially operate the program, or run the program at a loss. Additional Departmental permission will be required if you are teaching an academic class. 

    While Program Leaders (PLs) are primarily responsible for promoting their program, International Programs and Services (IPS) will assist in promotion by:

    • Creating a virtual brochure specific to your program
    • Discuss it with students who inquire with us directly about their study abroad options
    • Advertising using our social media platforms
    • List your program as a study abroad option on any planned Ville Daily posts

    Tips from successful Program Leaders:

    • Make the program title short yet interesting so it sparks interest. It will be used on a flyer, in emails, and on social media.
    • Host promotional sessions leading up to the deadline or share your program in classroom presentations for 5-10 minutes
    • Have your 2-minute elevator pitch ready for when you run into interested students or colleagues who can help you recruit.
    • Contact the presidents of student clubs and organizations which align well with your program to promote during their group meetings or have them send the promotional flyer to their members.

    Questions to Ask Yourself:

    • Are recruitment and selection inclusive, fair, ethical, transparent, and accessible to students?
    • What are the requirements for academic eligibility?
  • Proposal Tips: Student Preparation and Orientation
    Questions to Ask Yourself:
    • Are program goals clearly articulated? How will I prepare students to achieve these and their personal goals?
    • How are students asked to familiarize themselves with the location, cultural nuances, and local news?
    • How will I communicate expectations related to academics, housing, independent travel, and culturally-appropriate behavior?
  • Proposal Tips: During the Program
    Questions to Ask Yourself:
    • What is my role on-site? What is the expected time commitment to fulfill this role? This may change depending on the level of program design as well as if you are a Primary or Secondary Program Leader. 
    • How will I communicate with participants while abroad in case of an emergency?
    • Have I reviewed the emergency communication plan with students?
    • Whom do I contact on-site/in-country in the event of an emergency?
    • What opportunities are available that encourages responsible use of non-scheduled time?
    • What is the contingency planning process for scheduled activities and transportation?
    • How will I support student adjustment and moderate group dynamics? 
    • How often do I check in with my students to ensure that I am aware of issues?
    Common Risks for Program Leaders to Respond To:
    • Food and water safety
    • Illness or injury of participants
    • Delayed or cancelled transportation or activities
    • Unexpected costs, charges, or tips
  • Proposal Tips: Student Return

    Student Return and Transition

    Upon completion of the program, provide participants opportunities to engage in other global or cultural activities on campus.

    Questions to Ask Yourself:

    • What opportunities are there for students to reflect on and share their experiences?
    • Are there additional academic components or meetings needed following the travel portion of the trip.