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Getting Started
Nine 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: Think about what kind of experience you want to have.
STEP 2: Begin researching programs online.
STEP 3: Meet with an Education Abroad Advisor in Peck Hall, Room 207 for an advising session.
STEP 4: Request online pre-approval from the Office of EA to apply for your chosen program.
STEP 5: Apply for your actual education abroad program.
STEP 6: Organize all necessary details to participate on your program.
STEP 7: Submit the Pathway Packet forms.
STEP 8: Attend the on-campus Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation.
STEP 9: Study Abroad!!

Think about what kind of experience you want to have.

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!

Explore education abroad program options.
  • It is important for you to first get acquainted with the types of programs that MTSU offers. Please click here to and read through the Program Type descriptions before moving forward.
  • After deciding which type of program best fits your needs and interests, you can begin searching for specific programs in the online database (StudioAbroad).  We recommend that you search by term and country in order to narrow down your choices, while keeping in mind the type of program you prefer.  For example, if you search Summer/Germany then the system will generate all MTSU approved summer program options in Germany.  You can then click on each program name to read more details and even click on the homepage to go directly to our partner’s website for further information.  This can be confusing, but just take your time and get familiar with the system and the various options.  At this time it is not possible to search by academic subject in the StudioAbroad database, although some of our partner programs have search engines by academic subject. Need some more guidance?  Click here for 10 things to consider when choosing an education abroad program!
  • After you have narrowed down your program choices you should bring in any notes you have taken during your research, along with the list of courses that you need in order to graduate from MTSU, and participate in an education abroad advising session detailed in Step 3.

Meet with an Education Abroad Advisor in Peck Hall, Room 207 for an advising session.

Students who plan to participate on an education abroad program should meet with an Office of EA advisor for a 30 minute advising session
This meeting should occur at least 6-12 months prior to your program of interest start date.  Additional advising sessions are welcomed. Students should prepare themselves for this meeting by following the suggestions in step 2.

Walk-In Advising hours:
Mon, Tues, & Wed:  1pm - 4pm while classes are in session*

We do not make appointments during Walk-In Advising hours - just show up!  

*Walk in Advising will end on Wednesday, April 27th for the spring semester.  

If you are unable to come to the office during Walk-in advising hours, please follow the procedure below to schedule an appointment with an EA Advisor.  Please be aware that you will meet with an advisor sooner if you come to the scheduled Walk-in advising hours! 

To schedule an appointment, please email with the following details.  We do not accept same day appointment requests. 
-Country of Interest
-Study Abroad Term of Interest (i.e. Winter term or Spring semester)
-Program of Interest (if you already know)
-MTSU majors/minors
-Suggested times/dates for advising session (more than one option please)


Request online pre-approval from the Office of Education Abroad to apply for your chosen program (this is the 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 EA Policies as you must meet these requirements in order to be pre-approved.
  • To request online pre-approval simply click here to search for your program of choice in the StudioAbroad database.  When you find your program of choice, click “Apply Now.(Requesting pre-approval is only an option if the term is open.  If the term is closed, the Apply Now button will not be available).
  • You will then follow the steps to create an account in the StudioAbroad portal.  Once created, please complete and submit the two online forms entitled “EA Participation Approval Form” and “EA Participation Approval Signature Form.” Please submit these two online forms no later than the internal deadlines listed below. If you forget to submit these forms, the system may automatically withdraw you in a few days and you will need to begin again.
  • You should expect a response from the Office of EA to your MTSU email address approximately 5-7 business days after the online request.
  • Please be aware that the deadlines listed below in this step are internal, meaning MTSU deadlines.  You must meet the MTSU internal deadlines in addition to any partner or affiliated external program deadlines.
  • Please be aware that you can only request pre-approval for ONE program per term (unless the dates do not overlap).  If you request online pre-approval for more than one program in the same term in which the dates overlap, your request will not be considered and the system will withdraw you from both programs.
  • Please DO NOT request pre-approval for the wrong term.  For example, if you want to participate on an ISA summer program in Italy then you should wait until the summer pre-approval process has opened up (as opposed to requesting pre-approval for the spring semester ISA Italy term). 
*Pre-Approval Request FINAL INTERNAL Deadlines:
Winter 2016-17:  October 28th, 2016
Spring 2017 semester:  November 4th, 2016
Spring Break 2017: TBD
Summer 2016: CLOSED (Summer 2017 pre-approvals will open in October of 2016) 
Fall 2016 semester /Full Year 16-17: CLOSED (Fall 2017-18 pre-approvals will open in November of 2016)  
*We HIGHLY recommend a much earlier submission as the requirements/deadlines listed below must also be met.

Apply for your actual education abroad program.

If you are on this step you have been OEA pre-approved (yay!) and 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.).  You have already received an email from our office by now with basic instructions on how to apply for your program, so you can begin by referencing this email.  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.

**Education Abroad program application deadlines:
Contact your program directly for the exact date.  Below are typical ranges.
Winter 16-17 & Spring 2016: Varies throughout August - October 2016
Summer 2017 & Fall/FY 2017-18:  Varies throughout November 2016 - March 2017

**Don't forget:  You need to meet the Step 4 online pre-approval request INTERNAL deadline regardless of the actual program deadline!!!!

Organize all necessary details to participate on your chosen program.

This will likely include, but is not limited to, the following:
Submit the Office of Education Abroad Pathway Packet forms.

All MTSU students who participate on an education abroad program must complete the Office of EA required paperwork, also called the Pathway Packet, by the deadline.
These forms will only be available to those students who have been pre-approved to participate.  Students will receive an email from our office when the Pathway Packets are available in their StudioAbroad accounts.

***Pathway Packet submission deadlines:
Winter 2016-17: November 11th, 2016
Spring 2017 semester: November 18th, 2016
Spring Break 2017: TBD
Summer 2016: April 1st, 2016
Fall 2016 semester /FY 16-17: April 15th, 2016

***Students should be aware that the program provider, consortia, international university, faculty, etc. will likely also require additional post acceptance paperwork with different deadlines.  Students need to keep track of and meet all deadlines.

Attend the on-campus Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation.

All MTSU students participating on an education abroad program are required to attend the MANDATORY Pre-departure Orientation, which is held on MTSU campus. 
Please put these dates in your calendar now! Students who do not attend the Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation cannot participate on a study abroad program.

Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation dates:

Winter 2016-17: mid-November 2016 (details TBD)
Spring 2017 semester: early December 2016 (details TBD)
Spring Break 2017: TBD
Summer 2016: Saturday, April 9th, 2016; 8am - 1pm
Fall 2016 semester/Full Year 16-17: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016; 8:30 - 1pm

Study Abroad!!

This step by step list is NOT comprehensive. It is ultimately your responsibility to determine the requirements for your chosen program and individual situation. The Office of Education Abroad is here to assist and guide you throughout this process and while abroad.