Stage 3: Developing Your Proposal and SCIA Document Submission

Your International Field School Proposal should be submitted to ISS by email at by June 30 for new Summer Field Schools for the following Summer. ISS will provide feedback on your International Field School Proposal which you will then use to complete the Senate Committee on International Activities (SCIA) Document Submission Form found here. If you are developing a Field School for a Fall or Spring term, contact for guidance surrounding timelines. The SCIA Document Submission Form should be submitted to SCIA by the deadline required for the July/August or September/October SCIA meeting of the year prior to your Field School and you must attend this meeting to present your proposed International Field School.

Stage 3

What Constitutes a Strong International Field School Proposal?

  • The proposed program has articulated learning goals that are realized in both the curricular and co-curricular components of the program and that effectively implement experiential learning practices to utilize the International Field School location.
  • The proposed itinerary is informed by learning goals and program objectives, and has a realistic itinerary, allowing adequate time for course instruction, field trips, and reflection.
  • The proposed budget reflects the proposed activities, location, and duration of the International Field School, and results in program fees that are accessible to students.
  • The Dean and Department Chair support the proposed International Field School.
  • The program proposal demonstrates that risk management and student safety have been thoroughly considered.

Budget: Prepare a Draft

In developing your budget, use the International Field School Budget Template (this is the same template as in the Expression of Interest). All amounts must be expressed in Canadian dollars. When converting foreign exchange rates add a buffer of 5% to the Bank of Canada rate to account for minor fluctuations and conversion changes. Please note that expenses under the category “Miscellaneous” must be defined. We have provided an International Field School Sample Budget for your reference.

Once your International Field School has been approved by the Senate Committee on International Activities (SCIA), a Field School Coordinator from ISS will work with you to help finalize your budget.  You will also receive support from ISS on payments to organizations providing services for your program, cash advances, and expense claims.

In developing your budget, please refer to the following SFU Policy and Procedure:

· SFU Business and Travel Expenses (AD 3.02)

· SFU Business and Travel Expenses Procedure (AD 3.02 P1)

Core costs for International Field school programs, which will need to be included in the budget

  • Accommodations for group
  • Occasional group meals (recommended weekly to support group dynamics)
  • Local transportation (airport to accommodation, field trips, etc.)
  • Communication costs
  • Administration fees charged by organizations providing services for the program.
  • Miscellaneous expenses (bank fees etc.)
  • Visas (if applies to Canadians)
  • Cost of Field School Director and Assistant Field School Director (travel, accommodation, per diem)
  • Cost of field trips connected to the International Field School curriculum
  • Guest lectures
  • Single-use materials and equipment to be used within a single iteration of your program (versus equipment which will be used over multiple iterations of your program, which should be paid for by your department).
  • ISS Contingency ($100) per student - ISS holds this fee in your program account. This contingency fee may only be used for emergencies. If these funds are unused, they will remain in the International Field School account that ISS holds for your program for future contingency for the International Field School.
  •  ISS Administration Fee ($150) - ISS withholds this fee to cover costs of promotions and programming for students.
  • Facility costs (e.g. classroom rental)

Costs that are NOT covered for International Field School programs and cannot be paid with Field School funds

  • Non-curricular or optional activities (e.g. weekend excursion to nearby village for tourism purposes). While you can build in optional activities for which full risk management planning has been done, optional and non-academic excursions should not be included in the program budget. Rather, students would pay for such activities out-of-pocket while in field. Alternatively, students may research and participate in touristic excursions independently outside of International Field School hours, within limitations (See Stage 2 – Risk Management: Safety Considerations for limitations).
  • Alcohol
  • Field School Director’s and Field School Director Assistant’s SFU instruction costs – SFU professors instructing on International Field Schools continue to be paid through their department/faculty
  • Costs related to meetings or site visits not directly related to the current iteration of the International Field School
  • Field School Director personal items
  • Travel health insurance (to cover Field School Director or other staff on the program)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance for Field School Director or other staff on the program
  • Inoculations (to cover Field School Director or other staff on the program)
  • Per diems for meals covered on flights
  • Per diems when group meals are arranged (subtract cost for meal from daily per diem)
  • Entry fees, performances, etc. that are not for the International Field School group members or a designated International Field School activity
  • Expenses for travel unrelated to the current iteration of the International Field School
  • Luxury accommodation or first class/business travel
  • Tickets (speeding, parking, etc.)
  • Souvenirs
  • Books (discipline specific books may be covered by your department but are not covered by the International Field School budget)
  • Illicit or prohibited activities
  • Expenses for guests or family members (their expenses should be paid separately as these must not be covered by International Field School funds)
  • Tips exceeding 15% (please have tips included in receipt where possible)
  • Fuel - if driving a private vehicle, mileage should be claimed instead - see SFU Business and Travel Expenses Procedure (AD 3.02 P1)
  • Equipment for the International Field School – If you need to purchase material that will be used over the course of multiple iterations of your program, this equipment should be purchased with departmental funds. This is in contrast to “single-use” equipment which would be used by a single iteration of your program – this type of equipment could be purchased through your department or included in student program fees.

In addition to the Field School program fees, additional costs students should be advised to budget for

  • Tuition and student fees to SFU (international students pay a differential rate)
  • Meals
  • International airfare
  • Textbooks
  • Vaccinations
  • Mandatory health insurance
  • Communication costs (telephone etc.)
  • Entertainment
  • Personal travel

Important components of developing your International Field School Budget

  • Determine fixed costs and variable (per student) costs
  • Determine your minimum and maximum number of students (ISS requires a minimum of 10 students to run an International Field School, but some faculties and departments may have higher requirements)
  • Determine the minimum and maximum fees for students based on your minimum and maximum numbers of students. Consider whether these costs are accessible to students.
  • International Field School program fees tend to range from $2000 (two weeks abroad in a single location) to $5000 (six weeks or more abroad, multiple locations). These program fees do not include tuition. They also do not usually include international airfare.
  • For more information about program costs and how to keep costs manageable for students, see Access and Participation.

Marketing: Important Program Considerations

Below are some factors to consider in designing your International Field School to help reduce barriers as well as increase student interest and participation. Considering these factors will also help you determine how to market the program.

Does the International Field School include required courses for a specific degree?

This may increase interest amongst students from within this degree as they need to take these courses anyways in order to graduate. You may therefore want to focus your efforts heavily within this specific degree program.

Are there prerequisites for the course(s) that will preclude students from different departments or years of study from participating?

This may limit wider participation in the International Field School. If there are prerequisites, keep these in mind when marketing your program, so that you are marketing primarily to those who would be eligible to participate.

Is the destination one that students will find interesting? Is the destination a good jumping off point for travel after the International Field School?

These can be important factors in students’ decision to participate in a program. You may wish to highlight interesting and exciting aspects of the destination and region as part of your marketing strategy.

Are the costs for participation in the International Field School within reach of the average student?

If costs are prohibitive, this presents a barrier to access, and it will be very difficult to attract enough students to participate in the program. Consider whether there are costly elements of the program that you can eliminate or replace in order to keep costs accessible.

Is there any funding available for students participating in this International Field School (scholarships, grants, bursaries)?

SFU students enrolled in International Field Schools including at least 9 units are eligible to apply for bursaries and loans and are eligible to apply for ISS’s Study Abroad Awards (multiple awards of $1000-$2000). SFU students who are on scholarships must be enrolled in 12 units per term. These are important considerations in designing your International Field School. Marketing the funding available to students can also help increase participation.

How will you address any parental concerns about this destination (health, safety)?

ISS recommends that you discuss this with the Travel Safety Coordinator when you meet to discuss your Risk Assessment. Developing mitigation plans is an important part of developing your International Field School, and can help develop strategies for addressing parental concern.

Will this program be open to undergraduate and graduate students?

Accessibility to graduate students can increase participation numbers. Consider how you will attract graduate students to the program, and the academic credit they will receive.

How will this proposed program affect existing SFU International Field Schools? Is it likely to draw students away from one or more existing program (i.e. compete with them for participants)? In what ways will it complement existing programs?

ISS can provide you with a list of existing International Field Schools and other study abroad programming. Consider what is unique about this program, and how you can differentiate it from existing programs so that you are not competing for the same participants. Besides the location, what does this program offer that is not available through other International Field Schools or other study abroad opportunities?


  • As part of the International Field School Proposal, you will be further developing your International Field School Itinerary from your Expression of Interest. Complete as much information as possible about the following components:

· field trips

· transportation

· accommodation

· classroom times and locations

· group meals

  • When planning your itinerary, including transportation and accommodations, ensure your program meets the SFU Minimum Safety Standards – Transportation and Accommodation.
  • In determining the accommodations, make sure that there will be an environment conducive to studying, and services needed for academic work, such as wifi.
  • Contact vendors to determine when you will need to make deposits since they cannot be made until your program has recruited students and has sufficient participants to run.

Risk Management

International Field School Directors are required to complete a Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan in collaboration with the Travel Safety Program in Safety and Risk Services.

International Field Schools must meet the SFU Minimum Safety Standards – Transportation and Accommodation

As part of the Internatiional Field School Proposal and the SCIA Submission Document you are required to submit a Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan for the relevant risks assosicated with your program in compliance with GP 23 and with reference to the SCIA Risk Assessment Guidelines.

You are required to complete Appendix E - Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan (Contact SRS Travel Safety Coordinator at for template and consultation).

Eligibility Requirements

What will your eligibility requirements be for this program? You will need to develop eligibility requirements as part of the International Field School Proposal. In determining the eligibility requirements, consider how this may impact access and participation. ISS suggests that students applying meet the below minimum International Field School criteria as per the Calendar:

  • be 19 years of age or older on the day of departure (this requirement cannot be waived)
  • have completed 30 units prior to application
  • have a minimum 2.5 grade point average

You may also want to add additional eligibility requirements and/or recommendations.

Requirements - Students must meet these in order to participate and are only waived by the Field School Director in unique circumstances.

Recommendations - Completing these is recommended, but is not required.

Completion of recommendations should be included in the selection criteria.

Additional suggested requirements or recommendations (important to specify which):

  • Have completed a particular course
  • Experience in a particular academic area

Eligibility requirements must adhere to Human Rights Policy (GP 18).


Student Selection Criteria

What are your student selection criteria? You will need to develop student selection criteria to use in the event there are more applicants than spaces in the program, and to guide the selection of strong, suitable participants.

Examples of selection criteria:

  • Meets required and recommended eligibility criteria
  • Priority to subject majors
  • Priority to SFU students
  • Academic standing
  • Demonstrated interest in program


Agreements and Contracts

  • Within the International Field School Proposal you will identify a list of organizations providing services for the program and the services that they will provide. This helps ISS determine the agreements and contracts that may be required:

· Whenever you hire the services of a local instructor, assistant, coordinator, driver, etc. for services directly related to the International Field School and which are not already covered by another contract, you will require a Short Form Services Agreement, which the contractor and a representative from SFU will need to sign. ISS and SFU Legal Services will assist you with this process.

· If you choose to outsource aspects of planning to a third party (e.g. a partner institution who will hire contractors on your behalf), you will need to ensure that they are legally authorized to do so by completing a Professional Services Contract, which can be obtained from SFU Procurement or ISS.

· If you are collaborating with an organization to jointly deliver aspects of the program which result in reciprocal commitments from both parties, then a Collaboration Agreement may be required.  SFU International will assist you in the negotiation of this type of binding agreement.


  •     Complete a Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan in collaboration with the Travel Safety Program in Safety and Risk Services
  •     Contact organizations providing services for the program to determine when you will need to make deposits
  • √    Submit your International Field School Proposal (including appendices) to ISS by email at
  •     Get signatures from Dean, Department Chair, and ISS for SCIA Document Submission Form
  •     Submit your Document Submission Form to SCIA
  •     Present International Field School at SCIA Meeting