Policies & Procedures
Study Abroad Policies & Procedures
Student policies are updated annually and included in the Murray State Academic Bulletin.
COVID Questions & Guidelines updated 7/12/21
Fee Worries on MSU Programs: MSU offers a worry free application process for all education abroad programs in 2021. Apply without paying the $100 application fee in advance. You'll only be asked to pay the application fee and any other program fees after it is determined that the program is going.
What About Fees to Providers: Given the uncertain nature of international travel permissibility by the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for DIsease Control, and foreign governments due to the ongoing pandemic, any payments made to providers for study abroad programming in 2021 are made at your own risk.
When Will Decisions be Made About My Program: MSU Summer 2021 programs have been cancelled. Fall programs are permitted to continue if the Department of State advisory level is at a 1 or 2.
If you plan to study abroad with a provider regardless of MSU decisions, be aware that you will not be able to secure credit at MSU or utilize scholarship funding for the program. Stay abreast of provider guidelines on their website or contact them directly with questions. Beyond adhering to provider guidelines, be proactive in seeking your own information from the World Health Organization, CDC, and Department of State. A negative test is required for re-entry to the U.S. Make sure you will have access to this in your country of study.
Vaccine or Quarantine Requirements Abroad: Entry requirements will be dependent on the country you're studying in. If entry into the country of study requires a negative test, a quarantine, the vaccine, or a combination of these, students should be prepared to meet the entry requirement(s). Stay abreast of these by visiting travel.state.gov. Each country is linked to its corresponding Embassy page with details updated as requirements change.
Passport Processing Times: The pandemic has extended passport processing times from weeks to months. Pay attention to travel.state.gov for updated timing and apply for your passport now, even if you don't plan to study abroad for another year.
Getting Sick with COVID While Abroad: Students participating in an MSU program will purchase CISI travel insurance, which will cover sickness abroad. For other COVID questions on MSU programs, CISI provides a helpsheet here to answer the most common questions, including costs for testing and the additional option to add a "Cancel for any reason" policy to your coverage.
Students on non-MSU programs should seek similar guidance from your program provider.
What about Re-Entry to the U.S.: Stay current on re-entry requirements to the U.S. here. This may include a quarantine or negative test requirement, even for U.S. citizens. You will not be exempted from re-entry requirements.
Application & Student Selection Process
All Murray State students are eligible to apply for education abroad if they are in good academic and disciplinary standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00. Transfer students must be admitted to Murray State as a student prior to applying to participate in education abroad programs and must meet all participation requirements at the time of application. Freshmen will be considered for admission to education abroad programs on a case by case basis.
Eligibility and requirements for individual programs will vary and may be determined by the program director or program provider. This may include a higher GPA requirement, course prerequisites, language fluency, and/or other requirements as determined by the program. This information is available for providers on the provider website and for Murray State programs online at murraystate.edu/educationabroad. Participants enrolled as students at Murray State who do not also have faculty or staff status must participate in education abroad as a student or intern earning credit for the program. Exceptions to the required credit enrollment may be issued for internship or research programs. Murray State alumni may participate in education abroad programs by enrolling for credit at Murray State.
Participants who wish to bring companions on their education abroad program will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval should not be assumed and is not guaranteed.
A completed application will include an Murray State application and mandatory nonrefundable application fee through the online application system, which may require an essay, reference, and transcript. Additional application components such as proof of language proficiency may apply for specific programs as determined by the program or provider. Application to an education abroad program does not automatically assume admission to the program. All application components, including disciplinary standing with Murray State University, will be taken into consideration for program approval. Applicants to provider programs will require a separate application to the provider. Applicants to provider programs must complete and submit both the Murray State and provider applications to have your application to the program considered complete. Your provider application may also have additional essay, audition, language proficiency, or prerequisite requirements for admission. Applicants found to have falsified information will be disqualified from participation.
Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Complete applications will be reviewed by the appropriate selection committee. Selection committees consist of the leadership of the program applied to as well as a representative of the Education Abroad Office (EAO). Interviews may be requested. Admission is competitive and not guaranteed. Admission decisions cannot be appealed. Applicants to provider programs will be subject to provider selection standards.
Exchange Program Selection
Applicants to Murray State Exchange Programs will be interviewed at Murray State by a committee of faculty and/or professional staff. If nominated to participate in the exchange, the application is then submitted to the exchange university for full review and approval. Failure to submit any additional materials required for the exchange in a timely manner will result in rejection by Murray State to the exchange program. Final admission decisions are made by the exchange university and issued directly to the student and simultaneously to the EAO. Exchange admissions will fall on the admission schedule of the exchange university. The Murray State EAO has no control over when this will take place or what the outcome will be. Admission decisions cannot be appealed.
In some cases conditional admission may be issued to an applicant. This means the applicant must meet specific conditions within a certain time frame in order to be fully admitted to the program. If these conditions are not met within the specified time allotted, the applicant will be rejected from the program. While under conditional status, applicants are considered full participants, are expected to attend class, and must meet all program obligations.
Some programs are in high demand and may receive more applications than space available. A waitlisted applicant may be moved to full admission should a fully admitted applicant drop out of the program far enough in advance of program departure.
An application may be rejected for several reasons including, but not limited to: cumulative GPA below 2.00, poor academic or disciplinary standing at Murray State, an incomplete application, poor reference, inadequate academic connection to the program course(s), or a Bursar or Study Abroad HOLD on the student account.
Admission decisions are sent via email to the email address provided in the Murray State online application. Once approved or conditionally approved to participate in an education abroad program, it is the responsibility of the participant to login to the online application to complete the Post-Acceptance steps for their program. The Post-Acceptance deadlines are posted on the EAO website at murraystate.edu/studyabroaddeadlines. Participants with Post-Acceptance steps not completed by this date will have an education abroad HOLD placed on their Murray State account until completion is final. Participants with Post-Acceptance steps remaining after the campus orientation date will incur a $250 non-compliance fee charged to their Murray State account. Passport, visa, and flight components of Post-Acceptance are due 30 days prior to departure. Participants who have not completed these by that time will incur a HOLD and $250 non-compliance fee to their Murray State account.
The application fee is nonrefundable.
Registration for courses is the responsibility of the participant. Until participants are registered for appropriate courses at Murray State financial aid and education abroad scholarships cannot be released for any program. Program fees may not be placed onto a participant account until registration is complete. This does not mean that participants are not enrolled in the program, but that they are not officially registered to receive academic credit. Registration requirements vary by program and is detailed below.
ERA Scheduling. Students on all study abroad programs thru spring 2019 must enroll in the appropriate section of ERA, Experience Rich Activity, and answer a set of pre-departure and post-program questions about their experiential program. No credit is awarded for this course and no tuition is charged for this course.
Exchange Program Scheduling. Students will enroll in a section of INT 310 to make up a total of 12 credit hours for semester students, thus showing full-time enrollment. If a participant is taking both a web course with Murray State and studying abroad for the semester, then the web course plus an INT 310 section for 9 hours will result in full-time enrollment. INT 310 is a placeholder course that enables financial aid and scholarships to be released to a student account. A grade of 'R' will be issued for the INT 310 course at the end of each semester. When an official transcript is received from the university abroad, the INT 310 course will be replaced with the actual courses taken abroad.
Murray State Signature Faculty-Led Program Scheduling. Students participating in short-term Murray State Signature Faculty-Led programs will take a pre-departure course or a post-program course, or both, that will be tied to the program abroad. Both the pre/post course and the program abroad will count toward the course grade and attendance and active participation in both will be required. Course enrollment will be determined as follows:
Semester Faculty-Led Program Scheduling. Semester faculty-led students will enroll in Murray State courses, creating a schedule on MyGate that shows regular semester Murray State courses that are taught in the location abroad.
Winter Faculty-Led Program Scheduling. Winter programs are scheduled as a second-half fall semester course OR a first-half semester spring course. Your program description in Horizons and your faculty will have this information for you to ensure you enroll in the correct course.
Spring Break Faculty-Led Program Scheduling. Participants in spring break programs will schedule for a full spring semester course according to the Murray State spring schedule of classes.
Summer Faculty-Led Program Scheduling.
- Participants in summer programs that conclude within two weeks of the close of spring semester will be scheduled in their study abroad course for the second-half spring semester term.
- Participants in summer programs that do not conclude within two weeks of the close of spring semester - "true summer" will be enrolled in INT 310 for 0 credit hours for the second-half spring semester term, when their class will begin meeting. Additionally, participants in "true summer" programs will enroll in the content course for the summer session that most closely matches the dates of the program abroad. Enrollment in both of these ensures compliance with state and federal regulations and allows release of Murray State program billing and support funds through federal aid or scholarships.
CCSA/KIIS/Experience Scotland/CEA/ISA/LdM Program Scheduling. Courses are credited through the partner/provider. Students will work with Murray State and the partner/provider to complete a Concurrent Enrollment Form, which serves as a placeholder and enables the usage of federal aid and study abroad scholarships toward the cost of your program. It is the participant's responsibility to complete all requirements with the partner/provider to ensure proper course enrollment. See the Course Credit and Grade Transfer section to ensure you have completed requirements for course transfer. Students who do not seek appropriate credit may be expelled from the program or not receive academic credit upon return.
IBS/IPAI Program Scheduling. Students participating in these programs will register for classes at Murray State under the Murray State faculty they were recruited by for the program.
Course Credit & Grade Transfer
It is the responsibility of the participant to understand prior to studying abroad how the course(s) they wish to take will figure into graduation requirements. Credit is not automatic. Students must follow the appropriate procedure for their program as detailed at murraystate.edu/studyabroadprocedures. Students who do not obtain credit approval prior to the start of the program may be rejected or expelled from a program and/or fail to receive academic credit upon return.
Students who take courses abroad that have not been pre-approved are not guaranteed credit upon return. Students should make sure they do not enroll in courses on their education abroad program that will count for courses at Murray State that have already been completed. If a course is transferred back to substitute for a Murray State course that was already completed, Murray State's repeat policy will be followed.
Course approval and registration must be completed prior to student orientation and program departure in order to receive credit for the program. Courses will not be created or re-created for a student after a program has been completed.
It is vital that participants in all study abroad programs understand prior to studying abroad how the courses they wish to take will transfer back to Murray State and figure into graduation requirements.
Faculty-Led Signature Programs (including IBS and IPAI). Students participating in Faculty-Led Signature programs enroll in regular Murray State courses that appear on MyGate registration as such. No additional paperwork is required. Registration is the responsibility of the participant and will not be done by the EAO or any other party on the student's behalf.
Exchange/CEA/ISA/Non-Murray State Programs. Students must complete the Anticipated Evaluation of Credit (AEC) form with their advisor to ensure a proper substitution at Murray State exists for which credit can be gained toward graduation. It is the responsibility of the participant to discuss credit with the advisor and gain all written approvals in the allotted time frame. The AEC guarantees credit only for the courses that are listed on the form. Students who take courses abroad that have not been pre-approved through the AEC are not guaranteed credit upon return.
KIIS & CCSA Courses. Course approvals are listed on the program descriptions in the Murray State Horizons system. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure enrollment with KIIS or CCSA in WKU courses that will transfer back to Murray State as courses that have not already been taken at Murray State. If a course is transferred back as a Murray State course that was already complete, the Murray State repeat policy will be followed. Students participating in a course that has not yet been approved or for which the student seeks alternate approval must complete an Anticipated Evaluation of Credit (AEC) form with their advisor in order to receive full course approval. The AEC approval process must be completed prior to student orientation and program departure in order to receive credit for the program. Students who do not seek appropriate credit may be expelled from the program and/or fail to receive academic credit upon return. A WKU transcript will be sent to Murray State at the close of the program to be configured into the Murray State gpa and accounted for on the Murray State transcript.
Education abroad courses taught by Murray State faculty are submitted directly to Murray State unless taught through a consortial partner (such as CCSA, KIIS, Experience Scotland). This submission may not meet the regular submission schedule. Some students may receive an “Incomplete” grade until the program and course assignment deadlines are completed. It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that all materials/ coursework are submitted by the Murray State deadline to have their earned grade submitted for the program course(s). It is the responsibility of the student to know how a grade of Incomplete will impact their financial aid and academic standing at Murray State and discuss any relevant issues with their instructor and the Education Abroad Office.
All grades received from foreign or domestic institutions on behalf of Murray State students who earn college credit will be calculated into the Murray State cumulative grade point average (GPA). If letter grades are received, these will be configured into the Murray State GPA. In order to receive pass/fail credit for education abroad courses, the transferring institution must send the grade report in the form of pass/fail without letter grades.
Education abroad grades are received directly from program providers and institutions abroad and cannot be reported by the participant. Grades will be issued via paper and mailed by the institution reporting the grades. The academic calendars of education abroad programs do not traditionally match the Murray State academic calendar. As such, grades are often received after the following semester has begun at Murray State.
Until the student's transcript arrives the student's Murray State status may not show satisfactory academic progress. As a result, Federal Financial Aid and Scholarships may be held until the transcript is received and grades/credit posted to the academic record. This does not mean that these funds will be revoked by Murray State, but until a transcript is received that confirms satisfactory academic progress (SAP)satisfactory academic progress has been met, funds will not be available for use.
If a participant wishes to appeal a grade, this appeal must take place with the program provider and faculty member who issued the grade. Murray State cannot change grades issued by another institution. For Murray State issued grades, refer to the Murray State policy on grade appeals.
Exchange Program Fee
Exchange program students will be billed at Murray State for the applicable exchange program fees. The Horizons program description details which fees will be charged at Murray State. Full-time semester tuition is charged at Murray State at the rate normally applied based on classification and residency. Additional charges for Murray State web classes taken while on the exchange program will apply. Additional fees may or may not include room, board, excursion fees, visa fees, and other exchange program charges. When a program fee is not charged to a student account or does not include room and board, these expenses will be paid by the participant on-site.
Murray State Signature Program Fee
Students will be billed to their Murray State account for the Signature program fee. Murray State billing can be set up on a payment plan through the Murray State Bursar's Office. Setting this up through myGate is the participant's responsibility. Billing is not applied to a participant account until the participant registers for the education abroad class. It is possible that class registration will take place after bills have been sent out by the Bursar's Office. It is the student's responsibility to check their myGate account and make payments on time for their program. Billing timelines are set by the Bursar's Office and follow this schedule.
Signature Program Tuition
Students on Murray State Signature Programs will have tuition assessed to their Murray State account at the regular tuition rate. For details on your tuition rate, refer to Costs on the Murray State University website murraystate.edu/admissions/bursarsoffice.
Provider Programs Tuition
Participants in provider programs will not pay additional tuition at Murray State for their provider program abroad when they are registered at a provider receiving a transcript from another institution.
For full program withdrawal, an applicant must submit in writing their intention and reason for withdrawing from an education abroad program to BOTH the Murray State EAO and to the program provider (if applicable). Until written notification is received in the EAO and the applicant receives a confirmation email from EAO, approved and conditional applicants are considered full participants in the program and billing will remain on the student account.
Participants withdrawing from a program for any reason after the withdrawal deadline, found online at the Deadlines page, will be assessed any fees that cannot be recovered for the program and will forfeit their application fee. This may be up to the full cost of the program. Withdrawal fees will be charged to the participant’s Murray State account. Withdrawal fees will apply whether or not the full program fee has been applied to the student account by the withdrawal date.
Students who fail to meet program requirements such as obtaining a passport or visa, medical paperwork, or other requirements will incur the withdrawal fees specified here.
Withdrawal or expulsion from programs while abroad will result in a failing course grade. Course grades for medical withdrawals will be considered on a case by case basis. Withdrawals or expulsions taking place while abroad will receive no program refund and the cost of returning home will be at the participant’s expense. Program cancellation due to terrorist activity or acts of nature will follow the withdrawal policy.
It is the responsibility of the student to drop classes or withdraw from their education abroad classes through myGate when withdrawing from the program. Refer to the Murray State 'Schedule Change' policy in the Academic Bulletin for fees and restrictions. Lack of participation in class or failure to pay program fees does not constitute program withdrawal. Program participants who attempt to drop the class after the program abroad experience will receive an E for the course. Students who drop/add after receiving course approvals may become ineligible for Federal Financial Aid and will be at risk of courses not transferring and/or not applying to degree completion.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
To apply Federal Financial Aid to an education abroad program, participants must be taking courses in the program that will count toward graduation requirements. Participants who have received the maximum Federal Financial Aid eligibility during the fall and spring academic year may not be eligible for additional semester or summer aid for education abroad. To be eligible for summer aid participants must complete a FAFSA for the current academic year if it is the first time requesting federal financial aid. Participants who are eligible for and have not yet met the maximum Pell for the academic year could receive Pell for the education abroad program.
Participants receiving education abroad scholarships and Federal Financial Aid will receive them as an award on their Murray State myGate account. If the Murray State account has a zero balance, awards will then be used to cover education abroad fees that are applied to the Murray State account. For provider programs, these fees will be refunded to the participant directly to pay your balance with the provider. It is the participant’s responsibility to ensure that education abroad fees are paid in full prior to departure. Participants who receive a refund of any kind are encouraged to check their myGate account and the program provider account to ensure there is a zero balance prior to utilizing refunds for other expenses.
Participants on summer programs must be enrolled for at least 6-credit hours for the
summer term to be eligible for federal student loans. Participants may meet this 6-hour
requirement by enrolling in a 3-credit hour education abroad program in addition to
a summer session at Murray State.
Study Abroad Scholarship Application
In order to be considered for education abroad scholarships administered within the Education Abroad Office, students must first complete the online program application. The online scholarship application is available through the Scholarship Office. Applicants must submit all required pieces of the program application in order to be considered for scholarship funding. Incomplete applicants will not be considered under any circumstances.
Study Abroad Scholarship Eligibility
Eligibility guidelines for education abroad scholarships are specified at the Funding page. Guidelines may include a minimum GPA requirement, specific major requirements, specific program participation, or financial need requirements. The online scholarship application will determine which awards students are eligible for. Students who do not meet the minimum eligibility requirements will not be considered.
Study Abroad Scholarship Selection
Applications will be reviewed by a committee. Award notifications are made via email to the email address provided in the online application approximately three weeks after the scholarship deadline. Scholarships are competitive and applicants should make every effort toward submitting the best application possible for the greatest chance to receive funding. Applications found to have falsified information will be disqualified for scholarship funding of any kind.
Current Murray State Scholarship Recipients
Murray State students receiving scholarships through the regular scholarship awarding process at Murray State should know the following important information:
- Participants in an Murray State Signature semester program may use tuition awards toward the tuition charges applied to the Murray State account for that semester program.
- Participants in an Murray State Signature semester program may use Murray State scholarships toward tuition or program fee charges applied to the Murray State account for that semester program
- Students may not use any portion of their Murray State merit scholarships for provider programs
- Regular Murray State scholarships arer not provided during any summer study, whether that study is domestic or international. As such, these funds cannot be applied to summer education abroad.
- The housing portion of a Presidential Fellowship and the Marvin D. Mills Scholarship may be available for use on Murray State Signature semester programs. Students receiving these funds should speak with the Scholarship Office to verify if their housing award is available for the education abroad program.
Outside Scholarship Sources
Students who have been awarded funds from outside sources must inquire directly with those sources and/or the Scholarship Office to verify what portion of funds may be available to apply to education abroad fees.
Travel Warning for Certain Countries
According to the website of the U.S. Department of State (travel.state.gov), Travel Warnings are issued by the U.S. Department of State:
"when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government's ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff."
Understanding that the DOS issues Travel Warnings for parts of a country and not the whole, Murray State supports study abroad programs taking place in countries with a travel warning if the following are in place:
- the formal geographic region of study must take place in a location that is NOT under a current Travel Warning; and
- program providers, or Murray State faculty if the program is a Faculty-Led Murray State Signature Program, must provide proof that insurance coverage is valid in the country and region of study; and
- program providers, or Murray State faculty if the program is a Faculty-Led Murray State Signature Program, must provide full exit strategy and warning details to the Murray State Study Abroad Office and to participants; and
- program travel for sponsored excursions must not take place in the geographic region under the Travel Warning; and
- participants, providers, and Murray State faculty shall not travel independently or as part of a program activity to the geographic region under the Travel Warning; and
- participants and Murray State faculty agree to sign a Travel Warning Release Form prior to travel to the country.
Passport & Visa
It is the responsibility of the program participant to obtain and maintain a valid passport book and visa (where applicable) for all travel and education abroad. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the return date of your program abroad.
Visas are the full responsibility of the participant. The Education Abroad Office will not advise students on visa requirements for their country of study. It is the responsibility of the participant to request paperwork and verifications required for visa issuance well in advance of their visa appointment with specifications for the format and information required.
Failure of participants to obtain a valid passport or visa will mean the inability to travel abroad for participation in the education abroad program. Students who do not comply with this international requirement will not receive a program refund and Federal Financial Aid and education abroad scholarships will be partially or fully revoked due to the inability to begin and/or complete the course. To determine if the country of study requires a visa and to determine visa costs and procedures, see the Consulate website of that country.
Participants may travel via personal vehicle, commercial airlines, and other public and private transportation both stateside and abroad. During this travel participants will be subject to airline and TSA rules, and rules and regulations of foreign entities, which may change at any time without notice. Transportation delays or cancellations are not the responsibility of Murray State or the program provider. Cancellations and delays may result in the loss of program time abroad and/or the cancellation of activities without refund to the participant. Murray State and/or the program provider will make every possible effort to work with airlines and other transportation providers to reschedule travel that affects program length and activities as little as possible.
Conduct It is the responsibility of the education abroad participant to:
- Adhere to the Murray State Student Life Handbook and Policies found online at murraystate.edu/studentaffairs; and
- Communicate in a timely manner with the EAO, program provider (if applicable) and faculty member at the contact details provided in the application; and
- Provide a personal email address that belongs to the participant and check that account regularly for information requests, program status reports, and/or other updates; and
- Complete all application and program materials him/herself; and
- Read all program materials; and
- Provide accurate and correct information to the best of his/her knowledge and complete all mandatory components of the application and post-acceptance by the indicated deadlines; and
- Attend mandatory education abroad orientation; and
- Comply with the laws of the foreign country; and
- Comply with the rules and regulations of the university of study and/or the program provider and attend all program and class activities; and
- Obtain the appropriate approval for courses in writing prior to participation in the program; and
- Notify the EAO in writing of a decision to withdraw from the program, paying any unrecoverable costs already spent on their behalf if withdrawal takes place after the withdrawal deadline found online at murraystate.edu/studyabroaddeadlines; and
- Complete required forms and processes required by the offices of Murray State, including but not limited to, the Offices of Financial Aid, Scholarships, Registration, and Housing, and maintain full-time status while abroad in order to ensure applicability of scholarships and financial aid both for the program and upon return to Murray State; and
- Purchase travel insurance that covers the duration of the program.
Misconduct abroad will become part of a participant’s permanent Murray State University disciplinary record. Visiting students on Murray State programs will have their home university notified in the event of disciplinary action against the student. Resulting charges including but not limited to property damage, excessive use of electricity where applicable, mistreatment of property, lack of cleaning, and personal charges to Murray State program faculty, directors, or accounts will result in a direct financial charge to the participant’s Murray State account to cover charges in full.
Conduct that interferes with or inhibits the experience of others, both participants and non-participants, whether in residential settings, classrooms, and any public domain, including during independent travels, could be grounds for expulsion from the program. Engagement in risky activities such as vehicle rental or extreme sports is at the participant’s own risk. It is the participant’s responsibility to determine whether any travel insurance will cover these activities.
Any use of illegal substances as defined by United States statute will result in expulsion from the education abroad program. Repeated alcohol intoxication that impairs active participation in the program, disrupts the participation of others, or disrupts the program itself may result in expulsion from the education abroad program and other sanctions as stated in the Murray State Student Life Handbook.
Expulsion will result in failure of the courses taken on the program, regardless of expulsion date, including expulsions made prior to the Murray State University Drop Date. Expelled students will be sent home immediately at their own expense regardless of visa classification or on-site grace period allowance. In event that a participant is expelled, removed, or withdraws from a program, Murray State will notify the Emergency Contact person listed in the education abroad application. Expulsion details will become a permanent part of the Murray State disciplinary record and will require a meeting with the Murray State Disciplinary Officer upon return to Murray State to resume studies.