Frequently Asked Questions

/ Students

Application & Registration

How many credits is a Spring travel Course?

Spring travel courses are 3 credits. If you are accepted to a Spring course, you will be granted permission to register, and tuition will be charged.

How do I apply to a Spring travel course?

A spring travel application including a ranked choice ballot will be sent to you, which asks you to rank your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices. Only rank courses that you will actually participate in. Your 1st choice is not guaranteed. 

How do I register for a Spring travel course?
  • You will receive permission to enroll once a list has been provided to Student Affairs. You will then use that permission to enroll in the course during your individual registration appointment in late March/early April (at the same time you register for your Fall courses).
I’m going to graduate this Spring. Can I still attend a Spring travel course?

Yes — you can take a spring travel course. You will be able to participate in commencement activities in April/May with your friends and colleagues. However, your diploma will be withheld until the next graduation ceremony in August.  You should speak to Taubman College Advising to ensure that your paperwork is in order once you commit to a course so that you can still walk during graduation.

Travel Cost & Financial Aid

How much does a Spring Travel course cost?

Spring Travel = Tuition Costs (Set, 3 Credits) + Travel Costs (Variable, dependent upon individual courses).

Travel costs: Faculty do their best to keep total costs below $3,000.

Tuition costs: Three credits of tuition will be paid during the Spring semester.  Tuition costs will be unique to each student based on their level of study, term of enrollment, and residency status. You can use this Tuition & Fees Search Tool to explore the costs for a Spring Travel course.

A $500.00 course deposit is due in March.

What funding is available to Taubman College students, and how is that funding applied?

All students from Taubman College are guaranteed $1,500 in support for international travel and $1,000 for domestic travel. These funds are typically transferred to an account from which faculty can order airline tickets in bulk.

Financial Aid and need-based funding is also available (see below).

How do I apply for need-based funding?

Need-based funding is extremely limited.  If you would like to be considered for need-based funding, please contact Jacob Comerci at

Are Spring Courses eligible for financial aid?

Yes.  See this document for an overview of Taubman College’s Spring travel funding financial aid and eligibility process.

International Students

How do I begin the Visa process for international Spring travel?

The International Center remains your primary resource for all visa/immigration purposes. Work with your faculty instructor and the International Center to review all visa requirements in alignment with your residency status and passport.

What funding opportunities are available to International students? What funding opportunities are not available?

Limited need-based funding is available for students who can demonstrate a significant gap between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. To discuss eligibility for need-based funding, please contact Jacob Comerci at comerci@umich.eduQualifying requests will be reviewed by the Program Chairs and Associate Dean of Academic Initiatives.

Can international students apply for financial aid?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal financial aid since it is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid to only those with current FAFSAs on file.

/ Faculty


Do all proposed Spring travel courses run?

No.  Each course is dependent upon chair approval and student enrollment.  For courses with 1 instructor, faculty need a minimum of 10 students at the time of application and 8 by registration. Double those numbers for 2 instructors.

How do students find out about my Spring travel course?

Info sessions, recorded videos, posters, this website, and listserv emails.

Do students from all departments at Taubman College (i.e. Architecture, Urban Planning, Urban Technology and Urban Design) have access to course information?

All students across Taubman College programs receive the same communications. 

How do students from other units outside of Taubman hear about my travel course? Can they apply? Will their funding be matched?

Once courses are announced, Taubman College administration will work with Global Engagement to share course materials with other units across campus.  If students from other departments apply, we will ask their administration to match Taubman College’s travel offset for their students.  While in the past other departments have provided this funding, it is not guaranteed.  

Can I target students from particular units across campus (i.e. Engineering, Computer Science, etc.)?

If you prefer students from select units or years of study, please indicate this in your course proposal.  We will forward this information to Global Engagement when promoting courses across campus.

What should I talk about during my individual information sessions with students, and when should I hold them?

Schedule your sessions when students are not in class/studio — for example noon or 6PM, or on weekends.  Prepare to tell them about yourself and your background, recap the details of your trip with slides, and be prepared to answer any questions they may have regarding cost, course structure and travel details.  Be sure to refer them to this FAQ, as many of their questions can probably be answered here.

Curricular Questions

How do I structure my course? How long should it be? How long should we be in-country? What is common for expected deliverables?

All credit bearing planning needs to be coordinated with the program chair, as a three credit course has contact hours requirements. 

Courses run for the duration of 7 weeks during the Spring and Summer semesters through a combination of travel, in person and online contact hours. Please review your individual plan, contingent on the number of days reasonably budgeted for travel.

Faculty should develop courses with clear themes, research methods and outcomes. Topical alignments with college and university-wide initiatives are encouraged.

Spring courses are an opportunity for students to explore methods of research and communication typically omitted from studio learning. Please include clear learning objectives in your syllabi. 

Have a look at past course offerings for additional guidance.

Best Practices for Traveling Abroad With Students

This is my first time traveling abroad with students. Are there best practices to be aware of?
Should I book flights and accommodations for students? Or should I expect students to do this on their own, according to my recommendations?

It’s preferable (and simplest) if faculty book group flights through Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP), UM’s travel agent.  Detailed information and instructions can be found here.  The booking fee will be covered centrally by Taubman college and will not count against your budget. Using a preferred vendor keeps the costs controlled should unexpected changes need to be made.  

If students want to book their own accommodations, that’s fine – there is no precise protocol.  From past experience, students have been allowed to book their own accommodation with faculty permission and in close proximity (short walking distance) to the collective housing option. You should avoid students creating more logistical challenges for you by adding multiple travel points at long distances from each other, as it adds time to day. You should also make clear that you are not responsible for any hidden costs (travel, fees, etc) associated with their own booking option. Also be aware that you will need to know that address of the BnB in advance to file your UM travel registration forms and emergency plan.

Budgeting for Spring Travel

How does Spring travel budgeting work?

You need to develop a detailed budget for student and faculty costs.  Be sure to take into account the cost of flights, site visits, and ground transportation.  For the student portion of the budget, be sure to differentiate between that which Taubman College will cover versus out-of-pocket costs.

Should your course move forward, you are required to schedule an appointment with the Taubman Financial Team to review your budget, provide guidelines and recommendations, and help plan the expenditures for maximum efficiency.

Communicating the costs to students is vital at the time of balloting, and again before the add/drop period.

Costs that exceed the budget must be covered by the faculty member.

Course budgets must be provided to Student Affairs so their team can coordinate federal financial aid resources for eligible students.

How do students receive travel funding from Taubman College? How much do they receive?

Once the course and budget are approved by the department chair and finance team, students taking international trips will receive $1,500, and students taking domestic trips receive $1,000 in Taubman funds.  

Funds are typically transferred to an account with a shortcode that the faculty taps to order airline tickets in bulk through Collegiate Travel Planners (CTP), UM’s preferred travel agent. Additional lab fees can be collected to cover collective expenses.  It is VERY difficult to transfer funds directly to students, but reimbursement is possible if necessary.

Taubman Funds are not likely to cover 100% of student expenses, and it is your responsibility to ensure that students understand this.  Should a student approach you with concerns, please speak to your program chair immediately.

How will students apply for additional need-based financial aid? And who is eligible to apply? And how much can they expect to receive?

See the “Travel Cost & Financial Aid” section in the student FAQ above.

Am I eligible for a PCard if my Spring travel course is approved?

Yes.  For more information about PCards, see this link.

Will I receive a per diem during my time abroad?


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