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 (or proof that you have submitted your passport application to the US State Department) 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?
CoE students who are in good academic standing and have completed at least 1 year in the College of Engineering (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.
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 an LSA-Computer Science (LSA-CS) student. Can I participate in IPE programs?
In most cases, no. Some programs are open to all U-M undergraduate students; however, the majority of IPE-sponsored programs are available for CoE students only. Please refer to this list of programs that are open to Non-CoE students:
Does IPE have any programs for graduate students?
Do I have to be a College of Engineering student to participate?
No. While many of our programs are only open to CoE students, there are some IPE-sponsored programs that accept U-M students from any college/major. Review the ‘Eligibility’ section within each M-Compass brochure to find out whether or not you are eligible for our programs. Some of the current programs open to all majors are:
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.
Fall Semester Programs | January
Winter Semester Programs | August
Spring/Summer Programs | December
When is the application deadline?
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/Fall/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
- Essay 1: In no more than 500 words, describe your primary reasons for wanting to participate in this program. Include how this experience will further your academic, professional/career, and/or personal goals and why you are a good candidate for this particular program.
- Essay 2: In no more than 250 words, describe an intercultural experience (international or within the U.S.) and include what you learned from this experience.
- 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.
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 Fall, Winter, or 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.
The majority of our spring/summer programs typically offer 1 technical course + 1 language/culture course. If you are considering a semester program, you can enroll in any courses the host institution offers during that particular semester.
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.
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 16 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 16 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 (ENGR260) | a course that explores the role of culture in engineering design and problem-solving (1 credit)
- International Experience | 6-week participation in an approved study abroad, internship, research or volunteer abroad experience
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?
Given the breadth of courses that would count towards the International Coursework (IC) requirement, IPE does not have a list of approved courses. You should search the LSA course guide for courses that meet your interest (and focus on a non-US culture) and then submit the course for approval via the course approval form.
IPE does have a list of approved Comparative Perspectives (CP) courses, which can be viewed by clicking the link.
What is Engineering Across Cultures (ENGR 260)?
This course is a 1-credit required seminar offered during the fall and winter semester that focuses on how culture impacts engineering. It’s offered every Fall and Winter semester.
Who can I talk with about the International Minor?
Refer to the International Minor Advising page for more info.
Can I obtain a paid internship abroad?
While it is possible to get a paid internship abroad, you should not expect to earn as much as an engineering student with a domestic internship. A good goal is to try to cover your living expenses for the duration of your internship through stipends, payment and/or scholarships.
I want to conduct research or obtain an internship abroad. Where do I start?
A good place to start your search is on IPE’s intern, research, and volunteer page. Take note whether there is a program fee, if the opportunity is paid, and other eligibility requirements before applying.
Who can I speak with if I have questions about completing a work, internship, volunteer or research experience abroad?
All IPE staff and peer advisors have general knowledge about the working, interning, volunteering or conducting research abroad, so you can make an appointment to speak with any advisor.
Additionally, you can reach out to IPE’s lead advisor for work, intern, volunteer and research abroad opportunities with specific questions. Refer to IPE’s advising page for information.
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! In fact, many participants find that completing coursework during the spring/summer through an IPE program actually makes future semesters a bit more manageable since they ‘got ahead’ by earning credits during the summer. 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 for his/her international experience, including associated travel and application fees. IPE does not assume responsibility in the event that a student cannot obtain the appropriate visa for his/her international experience. Reach out to the IPE advisor of the program to learn more.
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.
Please note the following:
- It is the student’s responsibility to research and obtain the required entry/exit documents (i.e. student visa). Visa requirements vary greatly by program destination and citizenship of the student.
- IPE does not guarantee that students can obtain the appropriate visa for this international experience.
- IPE does not grant visas for students nor claim to be a visa authority.
- Students cannot apply for a visa until after they have committed to the program. Once students have confirmed participation in the program, IPE will help gather the required documents needed for the visa application.
- The visa process can be time-consuming and quite detailed. If a visa is required, you should start the application process upon confirmation in the program.
- International students are strongly encouraged to contact the U-M International Center to inquire about how this program may impact their U.S. student visa.
Are there any past participants that I can talk to about their experience?
Of course! We have a growing list of study abroad alumni who are anxiously waiting to talk about their life-changing experience abroad. Complete the Connect with a Past Participant form and we will connect a student with you soon.
Additionally, keep an eye out for IPE events like our study abroad fairs and program mixers throughout the year as we typically have past participants present to assist with your questions.
Will I have health insurance?
Yes, you will. All students participating in an international experience 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.
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).
Funding For Engineers: IPE and CoE Funding
Every year, CoE sets aside funding to specifically support CoE students on international experiences. Learn more in the CoE and IPE Funding section of IPE’s Funding page.
Funding For University of Michigan Students: U-M Funding
- U-M Funding for Study Abroad: List of U-M offices offering funding and U-M-specific scholarships
- Raoul Wallenberg International Summer Travel Award: For U-M Ann Arbor students taking part in community service or civic participation domestically and abroad
- Mary Sue & Kenneth Coleman Global Experiences Scholarship: For U-M students participating in overseas experiences