Frequently Asked Questions
Will I need a passport?
Yes! And it must be valid for at least 6 months after your program end-date. If you don’t already have one – or your current passport is set to expire less than 6 months after your preferred program ends – you will need to obtain a new passport.
You’ll need to upload a copy of your passport details page as part of the application process, so make sure you have access to this information before the deadline.
What are the requirements to study abroad?
U-M Ann Arbor students who are in good academic standing and have completed at least 1 year at the university (or one semester if you are a transfer student) are eligible to apply to the majority of our spring/summer programs. Depending on the program, you must have a GPA between 2.0-3.0.
To find the specific requirements, including GPA and class level, check out the Eligibility section at the top of each M-Compass brochure. Eligibility requirements for semester study abroad programs vary. Please refer to the M-Compass brochure page for your program of interest to see specific requirements.
I am an undeclared CoE student. Am I eligible for any IPE programs?
Yes! Almost all of our programs are open to all CoE students, regardless of whether or not you have declared a major, and many of our Summer opportunities have been designed specifically for first-year students.
Contact us to find out what programs will work best for you!
I am not a College of Engineering student. Can I participate in IPE programs?
Yes! Many IPE programs are open to students from all schools and colleges. Check with your academic advisor to ensure that you know how the credits from this program will apply to your degree.
Some programs remain available only to CoE students. Please check the ‘Eligibility’ section of each M-Compass brochure to see whether the program is open to all U-M students or only CoE students.
Does IPE have any programs for graduate students?
IPE currently has one program for graduate students in Japan during the summer.
Aside from that, IPE does not currently offer programs for graduate students. To find opportunities for study abroad as a graduate student, use the advanced search feature in M-Compass and select ‘Graduate Student’ from the Class Standing search parameter.
Do I need to know another language?
No. We partner with world-renowned technical universities that offer courses where English is the language of instruction. Some of our Winter semester programs in Spain and France have a limited number of courses that are taught in English, so if you are fluent in French or Spanish, you may have more course enrollment options at those universities.
Interested in learning a language or increasing your skills? Many of our Summer programs incorporate introductory and/or advanced-level language courses to help you better navigate the host country and interact with locals.
What is M-Compass?
M-Compass is the University of Michigan’s campus-wide gateway for all engaged learning opportunities, including international experiences. You can find program-specific details (dates, deadlines, entry requirements, etc.) through the site and, once you’ve identified a program that interests you, you’ll also manage your application through the M-Compass application portal.
When do study abroad applications open each year?
Applications open the semester before you plan to go abroad.
Winter Semester Programs | March
Spring/Summer Programs | November
When is the application deadline?
Applications typically need to be submitted about 3 months prior to the start of a program.
Winter Semester Programs | October
Spring/Summer Programs | February
If I’m admitted to my program, do I have to participate?
No, you don’t. You will have a week from the day you are admitted to make your final confirmation decision.
Can I apply to more than one study abroad program?
If you are applying for a summer program, you are encouraged to only apply for your first choice program, but you can open a second application if you’d like. If you choose to complete a second application, you will need to rank your applications in order of preference and IPE will start by reviewing your first choice only. If you don’t receive an offer for your first choice, we will then review your second application. Check out IPE’s Multiple Application Policy for additional information and instructions.
If you are applying for a Winter/Academic semester program, IPE will only review one application per student per term. If you believe there is a special circumstance warranting consideration of a second IPE application, contact your IPE Advisor.
How do I apply to a program?
Once you’ve found the experience that works best for you, you can apply through the M-Compass website. You are strongly encouraged to apply by the priority deadline, which can be found on the Dates tab. If you have questions about the application, contact us!
What materials are needed in order to complete my application?
Application materials vary by program, but in general, the following items are needed:
- Valid Passport (or proof that you have submitted your passport application to the US State Department –ask us what’s needed to satisfy this request). Note: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the study abroad program.
- U-M Undergraduate Education Abroad Application which requires a short response to questions about your goals and previous intercultural experiences
- Official U-M Transcript (this requirement will vary by program)
Once you start an application through M-Compass, your Program Application Page will display the specific items needed to deem your application ‘complete.’
Who can I speak with about applying for a study abroad program?
Regardless of where you are in the process of pursuing an international experience, schedule an appointment with an IPE Advisor to ask any questions.
What if I confirm participation in my program, but now I’m not able to go?
If you’ve committed to participate on your IPE study abroad program, and now need to withdraw, you must:
- E-mail your IPE program advisor directly. Your advisor will then share with you IPE’s official withdrawal form; until you complete and return this form to your IPE advisor, you are still considered a program participant.
- Please note that once you complete IPE’s confirmation steps for an IPE study abroad program, you are subject to the IPE’s withdrawal policy, which may include financial penalties.
Cost and Funding
How much does it cost to study abroad?
The cost of an international experience varies, depending on the location and duration of the program. Fees for many of our summer programs are less than what you would pay if you studied here in Ann Arbor, and most of our semester-long programs are exchange programs (meaning you pay U-M tuition for the courses you take abroad). Review our Funding information page to learn more about how to fund your international experience.
Can I apply the scholarships, financial aid, and grants that I currently receive towards program fees and associated costs?
In most cases, yes! Financial aid and scholarships can be applied toward the cost of most U-M sponsored study abroad programs, including IPE programs. Certain types of aid may also be applied to non-UM programs, but there are restrictions. Students should work with the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) to determine eligibility and deadlines for applying for financial aid. To be eligible for summer aid, students must have submitted a FAFSA for the current academic year.
When can I go abroad?
Michigan Engineers in good academic standing are eligible to participate in a program as early as the summer after their first year (transfer students are eligible after completing one semester in the CoE). You can choose to go abroad during Winter and Summer.
How do I find a program?
Use our Find an International Experience page to search for options.
Where can I go?
You can take courses, volunteer, intern, work or conduct research in over 100 countries around the world. Explore the many opportunities in M-Compass to find the destination that is perfect for you!
How long can I study abroad?
Most IPE-sponsored programs are 6-weeks (spring/summer) or a full semester in length, but depending on your interests, you can go abroad anywhere from 1 week to a full academic year. You can quickly find the program dates by referring to the Dates/Deadlines section for each program page in M-Compass.
What courses will I take?
Depending on the program, you can take courses to fulfill both technical and general requirements for your degree. We also offer programs where you can conduct research or gain real-world experience by interacting with industry leaders in a global setting.
What if I can’t find a program through IPE that interests me?
I want to study abroad, but not yet. When should I start planning?
It’s never too early to start planning. Even if you don’t know when or where you’d like to have an international experience, be sure to mention your interest to your academic advisor who can help you identify courses that would be good to take on campus in order to maximize your future international experience.
How do I get courses approved for transfer credit to U-M?
If you are participating in an IPE spring or summer program, all courses that are offered have been pre-approved for transfer towards your U-M requirements. If you are participating in a semester program, IPE will assist you with obtaining the course information you’ll need to submit overseas courses for transfer credit evaluation.
Many of our international partner institutions also have courses that have already been approved – check out the CoE Course Equivalency Database to learn more.
Note: U-M students who aren’t College of Engineering students should contact their home unit to determine how courses completed on an IPE study abroad program will count towards degree requirements.
Research and Practical Work Experience Abroad
What is the International Minor for Engineers?
Engineering is a global field and the International Minor is one of the most popular minors in the College of Engineering. It provides students with the opportunity to develop cross-cultural skills and learn about the profession in a global context. The minor requires 15 credits and seeks to develop core skills in: foreign language proficiency, knowledge of non-U.S. cultures, intercultural communication skills and an awareness of global trends in engineering and business. Find out more on the International Minor webpage.
What are the requirements to fulfill the minor?
You must complete a total of 15 credits within the following four categories:
- Foreign Language Proficiency | second-year college-level language proficiency through coursework, placement exam or native fluency (up to 6 credits)
- International Coursework | courses that focus on non-US cultures or countries (between 9 and 15 courses, depending on how many credits you fulfill through the foreign language component)
- Engineering Across Cultures (ENGR 260) | a course that explores the role of culture in engineering design and problem-solving (1 credit)
- Engineering Across Cultures II (ENGR 460) | A course designed to help students reflect on their international/intercultural experience
- International Experience | 6-week participation in an approved study abroad, internship, research or volunteer abroad experience in a single country
For additional information surrounding these items, refer to the International Minor Requirements page.
How can I fulfill the language proficiency requirement?
There are multiple ways to fulfill this requirement, including:
- Taking language courses at U-M
- AP or language placement test credit
- Transfer credit from a domestic/abroad institution at the college level
- If you are a native speaker of another language other than English
What is considered an International Course (IC)?
College-level courses in any subject that focus on non-US cultures. To have the course approved, please complete the course approval request form on the International Minor website.
What is considered a Comparative Perspectives Course (CP)?
An international course that compares 2 or more non-US cultures. To have the course approved, please complete the course approval request form on the International Minor website.
Is there a list of approved courses that will fulfill International Minor coursework requirements?
What are Engineering Across Cultures I and II (ENGR 260 and 460)?
Engineering 260 is a 1-credit required seminar offered during the fall and winter semester that focuses on how culture impacts engineering. It’s offered asynchronously in the winter semester.
ENGR 460 is a 1-credit required seminar offered during the fall semester designed to help students reflect on their international/intercultural experience.
Who can I talk with about the International Minor?
Contact Joshua Monthei, IPE’s advisor for the international minor
I want to conduct research abroad. Where do I start?
A good place to start your search is on IPE’s ‘Find an International Experience’ Research page. Take note from the M-Compass program pages the requirements of each research program, the research placements and focus to decide which program is best suited for your academic plan.
Will studying abroad delay my graduation?
No. As long as you plan ahead and work closely with your academic advisor and IPE, there is no reason studying abroad will delay your graduation! The earlier you start planning, the easier it becomes to fit an international experience into your academic schedule.
What is a Visa?
A visa is an official government document that allows you to enter the country in which you plan to study/visit for a specified amount of time. Visas are typically issued as a sticker that is placed in your passport but can also be issued electronically.
A visa is a contract between the student and his/her host country. IPE does not grant visas for students nor claim to be a visa authority.
What’s the difference between a passport and a visa?
A passport is an official document issued by your government that verifies your identity and citizenship. A visais an official document issued by the government of the country you plan to visit that grants you permission to enter that country for a specific amount of time.
Does the host country require a visa?
Depending on the program and your country of citizenship, a visa may be required for participation. Students cannot apply for a visa until after they are admitted to a program and IPE does not guarantee that a student can obtain the appropriate visa for his/her international experience.
It is the student’s responsibility to research and obtain the appropriate visa.
What is IPE’s role in the visa process if I am required to obtain one?
IPE can offer guidance and help facilitate the collection of required documentation from the host institution/program provider; however, only immigration officials can answer specific questions regarding your application. IPE does not represent foreign governments, nor do we create visa regulations.
Will I have health insurance on an IPE program?
Yes, you will. All students participating in an international experience through the University of Michigan are required to enroll in GeoBlue travel abroad health insurance. If you are participating in an IPE-sponsored program, we will enroll you during the pre-departure process. Find full information about GeoBlue coverage benefits and enrollment instructions on the U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance site, which is managed by University Health Service.
International Programs in Engineering strives to make sure that every student can go abroad. The key is to investigate early! Funding is available, but deadlines and requirements vary; explore funding options at the same time as you investigate programs.
IPE Program Pricing
Program Fee: Study abroad enrollment and billing can be confusing for students and families. Here is a summary of the timeline and process of what can be expected for IPE Programs that are fee based programs. A fee based program is defined as one where students are not charged U-M tuition for the term; instead, students pay a program fee via the UM payment system and that fee typically covers courses, and other inclusions listed on the program M-Compass page.
Exchange Program: Study abroad enrollment and billing can be confusing for students and families. Here is a summary of the timeline and process of what can be expected for IPE Programs that are Michigan Engineering Exchange Partners. An exchange based program is defined as one where students are charged U-M tuition as if they were on campus in Ann Arbor. The amount of tuition is determined by a student’s in-state/out-of-state and lower/upper-division status. Study abroad tuition will be billed directly to U-M student accounts.
Office of Financial Aid
Most UM-awarded financial aid—grants, scholarships, loans—may be used toward the cost of study abroad programs. Speak with an advisor in the Office of Financial Aid to determine what kind of financial aid funding you will receive for an IPE program. (And what might be available for Beyond UM programs).