Independent Experiences

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If you are an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh and participating in an independent international experience, with limited exceptions you are required to register your experience with Pitt Study Abroad.  This page provides information on which types of experiences require registration and provides instructions on how to proceed.

Academic Travel is currently governed by the University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines for Study Abroad Programs and Experiences.  These standards and guidelines dictate that each Independent Experience application require multiple levels and of review and approval. This process may take 2-4 weeks based on individual circumstances.  Please account for this timeline when creating your application and gathering materials.

An Independent Experience is any experience in which a student completes a requirement for degree progress, including credit-bearing and noncredit-bearing experience, or for which a student receives financial support from the University and which includes academic travel:
  1. Fieldwork / Research
  2. Practical or Clinical Experiences: Experiences that are directly related to a student’s intended future profession and that are necessary to meet requirements for graduation, licensure and/or accreditation in disciplines such as but not limited to: dental medicine, education, health and rehabilitation sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work.  
  3. Internships: University-sponsored educational experiences that occur outside of a classroom and are intended to enrich and/or extend a student’s classroom education. Can be for academic credit, for monetary compensation, both or neither.  
  4. Service-Learning:  Community-driven service placements that occur outside of the classroom under the supervision of faculty, community/local partners, or both.  Service-learning experiences must include an academic component that guides students through the experience.
  5. Projects or consulting: Experiences that are time- or goal-bound and driven in which students provide services to an overseas organization.  Projects and consulting experience must include an academic component that guides students through the experience.
  6. Non-transferable coursework: Experiences in which students engage in overseas coursework (especially language study) which may not be eligible for transfer credit at the University but is related to their academic or professional goals.
  7. International travel that is complementary to a domestic Pitt course: Optional international experiences that are complementary to an on-campus course but for which additional credit is not granted.
  8. International Conferences: Professional or academic conferences that take place outside of the United States.  

If you have questions about whether or not your travel qualifies as an Independent Experience, please contact abroad@pitt.edu.

The following types of programs and experiences are NOT considered Independent Experiences:
  1. Participation in a study abroad program that is not approved by the University of Pittsburgh.  Undergraduate students seeking to apply for a study abroad program that is currently not listed at www.abroad.pitt.edu/programs should follow the petition process outlined at www.abroad.pitt.edu/petition.
  2. Any experiences that are a part of a formal study abroad program.  Formalized study abroad programs have their own review and application process.
  3. Any travel by student organizations and/or clubs.  Travel with student organizations and clubs is governed by the University of Pittsburgh Standards and Guidelines for Student Activities.
  4. Any travel not explicitly listed in "What is an Independent Experience"

If you have questions about whether or not your travel qualifies as an Independent Experience, please contact abroad@pitt.edu.

If your experience meets the requirements for an Independent Learning Experience, you are required to register your travel with Pitt Study Abroad using the appropriate links below.  All Independent Learning Experience applications are reviewed on an individual basis and may need additional review by the Global Risk, Health, Safety, and Security committee.  We recommend that you begin the process no less than 2 weeks before travel (4 weeks if the University is in an elevated posture or if your travel is to Israel or a Level 3/4 advisory by the Department of State.)
 

1. Begin your application with Pitt Study Abroad: Find the appropriate link below to begin your application.  You will be required to log in through Pitt Passport and provide as accurate of an itinerary as possible before being taken to the application.  Once in the application, you will be required to complete all requirements listed.  Once done, click SUBMIT to ensure that Pitt Study Abroad is notified of your application.

2. Application Review: A member of the Pitt Study Abroad staff will review your application and, if necessary, follow up with any questions.  If your travel itinerary or aspects of your experience require higher level review, your application will be sent to the Global Risk, Health, Safety, and Security committee.

3. Complete the Independent Experiences Agreement and Post-Decision Requirements: If approved, you will receive a link to complete the Independent Experiences Agreement using DocuSign.  You'll also need to return to your Pitt Study Abroad portal to complete additional requirements.

4. Registration with International SOS: Once your application is complete and approved, you will be registered with International SOS, the University's health insurance and duty of care provider.  Once registered, International SOS can provide health, safety, and security guidance for your experience.

You should use the link below to register your experience if:
  • Your experience meets the requirements outlined above.
  • You are a registered student in a graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh.

 
You should use the link below to register your experience if:
  • Your experience meets the requirements outlined above.
  • You will be registered for credit during the term of your experience OR your experience is REQUIRED for graduation.
  • You are a registered student in an undergraduate program at the University of Pittsburgh