Lead an Overseas Seminar

Each year, BOSP invites Stanford Academic Council faculty to consider applying to lead an overseas seminar during Summer Quarter of the following academic year. Overseas Seminars are two-unit classes taught by Stanford faculty in locations around the world that have direct relevance to the course topic.

nature of overseas seminars

Overseas Seminars are two-unit classes taught by Stanford faculty in locations around the world that have direct relevance to  the course topic. Seminars take place over a period of three weeks during summer. The objective of Overseas Seminar is to provide students with an intensive in-depth academic experience with a particular Stanford faculty member. Overseas Seminars involve less of an emphasis of cultural immersion. Course content should be academically rigorous and unique, but at the same time general enough to be accessible to a wide range of undergraduates. The capacity of each seminar is usually 15 students.


Applicants for Faculty Leaders are accepted from any current Stanford faculty member who belongs to the Academic Council. Non-tenure track Stanford faculty may be considered occasionally, as may emeriti. Please inquire about your specific circumstances.

Application Process

Each year, in Winter quarter, BOSP invites Stanford Academic Council faculty to consider applying to lead an overseas seminar during Summer quarter of the following academic year. This is an approximately 18 month cycle. BOSP will contact faculty whose submissions are most consistent with its objectives in March/April of the year prior to request additional materials including a day-to-day seminar schedule and work with faculty on developing seminar proposals and budgets throughout the summer. The final approval notifications will be made by September of the year prior considering the logistical and financial feasibility of the fully developed seminar proposal.

How to Apply

Please download and read the Application Guidelines for Academic Year 2016-17. The link to the application form is included within this document.

Applications for the 2016-17 Overseas Seminars are due by February 8, 2016. If you have any questions on submitting a seminar proposal for future years, please feel free to contact the BOSP Overseas Seminars Coordinator, Melanie Centeno, at melanie.centeno@stanford.edu.

Length of SEMINAR & dates

An Overseas Seminar typically lasts 19-21 days and should not exceed 21 nights.  A standard breakdown is: 1 arrival day, 1 orientation day, 15-19 class days, 0 free days, 0-3 Independent Work Days and 1 departure day. The earliest arrival date is a week after Spring quarter commencement. The latest possible departure date is a week prior to the first day of instructions of the Autumn quarter. Independent work days during the seminar are intended for students to work on their assignments and projects. Independent student travel is not permitted while the seminar is in session. In proposing an Overseas Seminar, please keep in mind that most preferred dates for students are late August to mid-September and late June to mid-July so that the seminar will not disrupt employment or internship opportunities over the summer.

FACULTY payment

The Faculty Leader will receive a $8,500 payment for leading an Overseas Seminar. If a seminar is co-led by more than one faculty member, this amount is split as determined by the participating faculty. Round trip airfare (lowest non-refundable upgradeable economy class) to the seminar location, accommodation for the duration of the seminar, and meal expenses are reimbursed to faculty based on the program budget and following standard Stanford business travel procedures.

Faculty Role & Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a Seminar Faculty Leader are more comprehensive than the standard duties of a faculty member teaching a course on the Stanford campus.  To ease the logistical burden of the faculty leader, BOSP will identify a dedicated third-party program provider to coordinate the planning and implementation of the seminar. Third-party providers may be local universities, study abroad providers, travel consulting organizations, or other third-party vendors specializing in study abroad programming for U.S. colleges and universities. BOSP will solicit bids based on the proposal submitted. Depending on a faculty leader’s needs, these providers may help create the program itinerary, arrange housing, meeting space, local transportation, on-site orientation, site visits, guest lectures, and serve as on-site contact for non-academic student issues, including emergencies.

For more information on faculty leader responsibilities and conditions, please refer to the Faculty Guidelines and Responsibilities.

Course Credit & Grading

Students receive two units of credit for an Overseas Seminar. This credit will be awarded as part of the Summer quarter. No additional unit will be granted. BOSP will assign course numbers for the classes and creates course records in PeopleSoft. The Faculty leader will determine the grading basis for their Overseas Seminars. Seminars can be offered for mandatory letter grade OR for credit.

Some past seminar faculty have found it beneficial to offer a pre-seminar course with minimal units in the Spring quarter to prepare the students academically and culturally for the rigorous demands of the three-week program. Faculty who wish to offer a pre-seminar course will need to indicate this plan on the seminar proposal. Pre-seminar courses will need to be coordinated through the home department or program.

Special Interest Opportunity

The Haas Center in collaboration with BOSP is looking for faculty to lead an overseas community engaged learning seminar. The program will include a 3-unit course on-campus during spring quarter, a 3-week field experience during the summer for 2-units, and post-trip debriefing sessions. Faculty members leading the spring seminar will be supported by a graduate student (TA), and will also work with Haas Center staff to develop the service-learning international field experience. The field experience will be developed in partnership with organizations specializing in international service learning experiences. Contact Jon McConnell (jonmc@stanford.edu) at the Haas Center with any questions.