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Getting Started

Steps to Studying Abroad

The education abroad application and pre-departure process can be time consuming and complicated, which is why we recommend that you follow these steps to assist you along the way. Our office is here to guide you with the entire process through advising sessions, advice over email and phone calls, and referrals to outside organizations or other MTSU offices.  So please ask questions and stay informed!  

Step 1
MTSU offers hundreds of education abroad opportunities for students. Before exploring the various options, try to narrow your focus first.  Think about where you want to go and how long you want to be there.  Would you be more comfortable in a group environment or would you rather go alone? Do you want to learn another language while abroad or take classes solely in English?  If you can pinpoint a few of your preferences at the start it will make the list of available programs much less daunting!
It is important for you to first get acquainted with the types of programs that MTSU offers. Please view our Program Types to learn more about your education abroad options before moving forward.

After decide which type of program best fits your needs and interests, you can begin searching for specific program on our website.  You can search by:
  • City, country and/or region
  • Term
  • Major
  • Program Name
  • Or any combination of criteria and/or an advanced search to further narrow down your choices
After you find your program, click on the program name to read more details and link to the program homepage to go directly to our our partner's website for further information.
This can be a bit confusing, but just take your time and get familiar with the system and the various options. 
Need additional guidance? Click here for 10 things to consider when choosing an education abroad program.

Step 2
It is recommended that students who plan to participate on an education abroad program meet with an Education Abroad Advisor for an advising session. This meeting should occur at least 6-12 months prior to your program of interest start date.  Additional advising sessions are welcomed.  
Walk-In Advising hours
Peck Hall 207
Mon, Tues, & Wed:  1pm - 4pm while classes are in session (Fall & Spring terms, Summer term available by appointment)
No appointment necessary during walk-in hours
If you are unable to come to the office during Walk-in advising hours, please email us at to request an appointment.  Be sure to include your name, your contact information, and provide your M number when you e-mail!

Step 3
This is an important INTERNAL deadline that must be met regardless of the program deadline.
Students who have chosen an education abroad program must first receive approval from the Office of Education Abroad in order to apply for an actual program. Please read through the Policies/Requirements as you must meet these requirements in order to be pre-approved.
To request online pre-approval:
  • Search for your program
  • Find program, select, then select "Apply Now"
Selecting "Apply Now" starts the pre-approval process
  • Follow steps to create an account in the StudioAbroad portal
  • Complete and submit two online forms, due by the internal deadline:
    • EA Participation Approval Form, and
    • EA Participation Approval Signature Form
  • You will receive an e-mail from the Office of Education Abroad to your MTSU e-mail address in about one week after your online pre-approval request
You must meet these deadlines in addition to any program provider or exchange partner,  MTSU Signature Program (faculty-led), or affiliated external program deadlines.
For Education Abroad Pre-Approval deadlines please see our Dates & Deadlines information.  
Step 4
This is an essential step to ensure that you are taking courses abroad that will work for your degree plan.  For all classes except foreign language courses and foreign language major/minor components, you will need to meet with your Academic Advisor.  Your Academic Advisor needs to review your intended course descriptions to determine how those courses will transfer back to MTSU once your program is complete. 

Students taking foreign language courses abroad will need to speak with the Foreign Language Department for course approval. 
Once your Academic Advisor or the Foreign Language Department has approved the courses you would like to take abroad, a Course Approval Form can be completed.    
We recommend having Academic Advisor or Foreign Language Department approval of your courses prior to paying any program deposits which may be non-refundable.  If you need assistance finding courses for your chosen program or assistance finding course descriptions, please contact our office so we can assist you with this step.

Step 5
 If you are on this step you have been Office of Education Abroad pre-approved and have confirmed your desired courses abroad with your Academic Advisor or Foreign Language Department.  It’s now time to apply for your education abroad program of choice.
The actual education abroad program application deadlines vary based on your program of choice.  Normally you will submit an application to your program organizer (i.e. faculty, provider, etc.).  MTSU Exchange Programs may have varying deadlines and application requirements.  Please stay in touch with the Director of the Office of Education Abroad, Katherine Kovar so you understand those requirements.  

By now, you have already received an email from our office with basic instructions on how to apply for your program, so begin by saving and referencing this e-mail. It is your responsibility to understand the specific application process of the chosen program, but please call or email us (or your program) to confirm if you are unsure.
Program provider and MTSU Signature Program deadlines vary.  Please contact the Office of Education Abroad for assistance with program application deadlines.  You must meet program provider and MTSU Signature Program deadlines as well as Office of Education Abroad internal deadlines. 
Step 6
It's time to organize your documents and program details.  This will likely include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Ensure you have all dates and deadlines in your calendar including payment deadlines and the mandatory pre-departure orientation
  • Apply for a passport and student visa
  • Research the student visa process of program destination
  • Meet with the MTSU Financial Aid office
  • Apply for scholarships (keep track of deadlines!)
  • Create an overall budget and timeline of when funds are needed. You can use our Budget Template
Need more guidance or have additional questions?  Come in for another walk-in advising session or contact your faculty leader/program provider/host university for assistance.

Step 7
Complete all other forms and requirements including:
  • Office of Education Abroad Pathway Packet - due by the deadline! The Pathway Packet will be available to students in their portal about 3-4 weeks prior to the deadline. 
  • Other Office of Education Abroad requirements such as Passport copy, travel itinerary, copy of Course Approval Form
  • MTSU Signature Program requirements (as needed by the Faculty Leader), Program Provider requirements, or Exchange University requirements
  • Attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation
Students who do not attend the mandatory Pre-Departure orientation cannot participate on an education abroad program.
Please see our Dates & Deadlines for more information.
 Step 8
You will need to register for and confirm your education abroad course during the appropriate term registration.  The course you will register for will be determined by the type of education abroad program you are participating on (i.e. MTSU Signature Program, program provider, MTSU exchange).
  • If you are participating on a provider program (i.e. USAC, CIEE, ISA) or on an MTSU exchange program you will receive an email from the Office of Education Abroad with the appropriate course CRN to use for your registration
  • If you are participating in a Faculty-led program you will receive instruction from your faculty leader or department with the appropriate course CRN to use for your registration
As with all MTSU courses, education abroad courses must be confirmed prior to the drop date. Failure to register for and confirm your education abroad course can have negative consequences on your academic progress and your financial aid.

Please remember:
This step by step list is NOT comprehensive. It is ultimately your responsibility to determine the requirements for your chosen program and individual situation. Please remember that you have multiple deadlines to keep track of and multiple documents to submit to our office and your program provider or Faculty, depending on the type of program you have chosen. The Office of Education Abroad is here to assist and guide you throughout this process and while abroad.