For professors and advisors

Study abroad is very important to your studentís academic and professional career. Here are resources for professors advising students going abroad as well as information for professors who would like to help students study abroad or invite IESP to promote study abroad in their classrooms

Why students should study abroad

Todayís workplace is global
  • 86% of companies report a need for managers and employees with international knowledge.
  • One in six U.S. jobs is now tied to international trade.

In this context, it is essential that students gain international and intercultural experience to be competitive in the job market. Students gain not only engineering academic knowledge and cultural experience, but also the flexibility and skills they need to get jobs and to work with people of different cultures in transnational companies.

A quality education abroad

Students need not lose time to graduation or lower their academic standards in order to get overseas experience. With a little planning, students can get the coursework they need for their majors.

The caliber of institutions partnered with UW-Madisonís College of Engineering is very high, so the quality of coursework taken overseas can be considered comparable with that of coursework here. In fact, the UW equivalents for courses taken overseas are approved by UW faculty after an examination of the overseas syllabus.

In addition to taking engineering courses, students can use their study abroad to fulfill engineering technical electives as well as humanities electives to fulfill UW-Madison breadth requirements. And they can use their experience to help them obtain a Certificate in International Engineering, a credential that will assist them on the job market.


To help your student study abroad successfully, you should:

  • review the student's course plan
  • make sure your student strives to stay on track and take courses needed for his or her major
  • discuss departmental course equivalencies
  • discuss DARS designations for courses that fulfill elective credits
  • assess the student's preparedness for the program
  • sign the Advisor Clearance Form

Recommendation letter

A recommendation letter by a professor or teaching assistant should include the following points:

  • How/in what capacity the recommender knows the student
  • Course(s) taken and grade(s) received in the recommender's class
  • Academic abilities, knowledge and skills
  • Any additional information about the student (ranking, enthusiasm/understanding of topic, discussions with student, etc)
  • Recommender's assessment of the student's motivation for study abroad
  • Recommender's assessment of the student's suitability and preparedness for study abroad

Course approvals

Students sometimes take courses at overseas institutions that have yet to be approved as equivalent to a UW course. This must happen for them to receive UW credit for the overseas course.

You are asked to review the course equivalency request through MyStudyAbroad, assess the course materials, and make a decision as to whether the two courses can be considered equivalent, whether the student can receive topics or independent study credit, or whether the course cannot receive credit in your department (and if so, where the student could go to get credit). Please communicate your decision to IESP by completing the online form in your MyStudyAbroad portal.

Getting involved

IESP would appreciate the opportunity to enlist professorsí help, to be invited to speak in classrooms, and to promote international engineering programs for the College of Engineering. If you would like to get involved with promoting international education for engineering students, please contact IESP at 263-2191 or