Skip to content

Independent Study

This program is highly competitive. Only one ISA will be awarded per academic year. Please keep this in mind as you prepare your application materials.

The Independent Study Abroad Program allows one Union College student per academic year to study abroad at an international college, university, or institute during his/her junior or senior year. The proposed program of study must meet a curricular need that cannot be met by a Union or Non-Union term abroad; it must also take place in a location that cannot be covered by a Union or Non-Union term abroad. The program must take place winter and/or spring terms. A student applying for an ISA must directly enroll in an international college, university or institute. The ISA student must enroll in one or two courses at a university, college or institute in the host country. The student must identify a Union College faculty member who has agreed to supervise and grade the academic work and to serve as a resource for the student while on the ISA. The student must also provide the Office of International Programs with the name, phone number, address and email of the representative at the local institution. Please see the ISA application for further guidelines.

The program must be approved by the Liaison Committee on Study Abroad (LCOSA). Interested students must submit an application providing details of the program, and how it integrates with and enhances the student’s education at Union College. It must also demonstrate the student’s readiness and preparation to undertake such an endeavor. Union strongly encourages students to consider programs that maximize contact and engagement with the host culture through elements such a home stays and/or language immersion.

Course of Study

Independent Study through the ISA must take place Winter and/or Spring terms. Generally students on an ISA are expected to be enrolled in the equivalent of three courses per term.

The ISA student must enroll in one or two courses at a university, college or institute in the host country. A student may also arrange with a Union College faculty member to do a course or courses (depending on total number of courses taken) as an approved independent study, research project, service-learning project or internship.


Course credits will come from courses taken through a foreign university, college or institute, and, if arranged, the independent study, research project, service-learning project or internship advised, directed and graded by the Union faculty member.

Prior to participating in the proposed program all credits must be approved by the following: the student’s advisor; any relevant department or program chair; the Dean of Studies; and the LCOSA subcommittee for Outside Provider program and credit approval.

When an ISA takes place over both winter and spring terms, the student will generally receive 6 credits.

  • If a student is ahead in credits, s/he may count one or two of these credits toward graduation.


Students will pay Union’s comprehensive fee for any terms during which they are abroad. A $50 study abroad fee will be charged towards health insurance. Students are responsible for paying any amount that exceeds the total Union comprehensive fee. Additional financial aid and loan options may be available. Please consult the Financial Aid Office.

Calendar for Application Process

Students should submit a draft proposal by the second Monday of Winter term. Completed applications for Study Abroad through an Outside Provider must be submitted to International Programs, Old Chapel, 3rd floor, no later than the close of business on Friday of the 5th week of Winter term in the academic year before the proposed program is to take place.

Click here to apply for an ISA Program.