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UT Austin International Office Study Abroad

Independent Study and Research

The General Information Catalog officially states:

Students may register for International Independent Study and Research (ISR) if they are conducting research or studying independently abroad. Enrollment requires the approval of the student’s faculty sponsor and graduate advisor (for graduate students) or department undergraduate advisor (for undergraduates), and Study Abroad. Enrollment in the ISR program is limited to four consecutive long-session semesters (summer sessions do not count towards this total). Students enrolled in international study and research pay 3 charges associated with their enrollment in the program (listed in the "Fee Information" section below), and are considered full-time students by the University. Students who register for ISR are not guaranteed any specific UT-Austin course credit for work completed abroad.  Students must consult with the departmental undergraduate advisor or the graduate advisor and with the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) to determine whether credit will be granted.

The Graduate School Catalog officially states:

Students may enroll in International Independent Study and Research (ISR) when they conduct research or study independently abroad. A student enrolled in International Independent Study and Research is considered a full-time student. Registration in ISR cannot be used to circumvent the continuous registration requirement for doctoral candidacy; however, when it is determined that a doctoral candidate meets the requirements for ISR registration, it may serve as an acceptable substitute for registration in dissertation hours. Students are encouraged to consult their graduate coordinator for more information regarding their continuous registration requirement.

Access to Student Services:

Students registered in ISR will have an active UT ID card and are eligible to use:

  1. UT Austin Libraries
  2. ITS computer support services
  3. University Health Services
  4. University Housing

Students registered in ISR are not eligible for:

  1. Federal, state or institutional loans or grants processed by the Office of Student Financial Services (OSFS)
  2. Athletic facilities usage

Application Deadlines:

Our application policy has changed. Study Abroad will no longer accept new applications or extensions after the deadlines listed below. Students must complete all requirements for application prior to the application deadlines. No exceptions.

Semester In ISR
Fall...................... Application Deadline: August 01
Spring................. Application Deadline: December 1
Summer.............. Application Deadline: May 1

Registration Process:

  • Students will be registered in either ISR 080 (graduates) or ISR 075 (undergraduates) no sooner than the last registration period.
  • Once approved for ISR, students will be registered for ISR in the respective semester and advised to complete registration by paying their tuition bill.  ISR is an exclusive registration, and cannot be combined with any other registered courses.
  • Students may enroll in ISR for a maximum of four consecutive long semesters (Spring or Fall).
  • There is not an official minimum time period abroad.

Fee Information:

  • Once approved, the actual cost of tuition/registration per semester is calculated according to UT-Austin's flat-rate "Affiliated Studies" tuition fee of $600.  (Beginning Fall 2015)
    • This fee will be posted to students' My Tuition Bill (students are notified via email when registered).
  • There is a one-time $75 non-refundable International Office administration fee for participation in a UT-Austin Study Abroad Program.
    • This fee supports the advising and technology needed to assist students studying or conducting research abroad.
  • As of Fall 2011, all UT Austin students studying abroad are enrolled in mandatory Overseas Insurance for their travel dates abroad.
    • All students - regardless of college/school, classification or program type - are charged for this fee (charges are determined by the listed dates of travel inside the Study Abroad Portal, and posted to student's "What I Owe" page).
    • There is one exception: international students returning to their home country are automatically exempt from this coverage and associated charges.
    • Students cannot opt out of the UT Overseas Insurance, even if their program or overseas sponsor provides them with a similar type of coverage.

International Students:

  • International students MUST speak with an Immigration Advisor in International Student and Scholar Services in the International Office prior to departure from the United States. There are possible immigration implications for those students that fail to meet with an Immigration Advisor.
  • All international students that are accepted into ISR will be automatically charged for UT Domestic Student Health Insurance. This requirement is due to the fact that the university cannot be certain that ISR students will remain abroad for the full term.

To request ISR status:

1.  Determine if you will be traveling to a UT-Restricted Region.  Students traveling to a UT-Restricted Region must obtain International Oversight Committee (IOC) Approval(Note: The IOC Approval process for travel to Restricted Regions is separate from the ISR request process detailed below.  Without IOC approval - Study Abroad is not able to grant final approval of any ISR applications for students traveling to UT-Restricted Regions. We recommend students work on both processes at the same time).

Students not traveling to a UT-Restricted Region do not need IOC approval, and should proceed directly to the next step.

2.  Email with the following information:

  • Subject line: ISR Request
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • EID
  • First Semester abroad
  • The country where the research will take place
  • Indicate if you are awaiting IOC approval for travel to a UT-Restricted Region

Once received, the student will be granted access to the online portal or "My SAO".  An email notification will be sent to the students confirming their access to the SAO Portal.

3.  Required Application Materials: There are three parts to the "My SAO" application process - all will be required before the application can be considered.

  • Study Abroad Portal Steps: Log into the online portal or "My SAO" and complete the "Online Registration Form" along with all listed steps/modules.
  • Cover Sheet: Download the ISR Cover Sheet, and obtain the required signatures. Study Abroad realizes that ISR applicants and/or supervising professors may be out-of-country and obtaining ink signatures will not be possible. In this situation, applicants may email the cover sheet and one page proposal to their faculty member and graduate adviser. Email approvals from departmental cfaculty/staff are accepted. Please send all documents and approvals to the ISR Coordinator at
  • Proposal: Complete a one-page abstract/proposal. The proposal needs to address when, where, for how long, and for what purpose the student will be abroad.  Students should email the application to may also turn in the application at the International Office front desk, or mail the application to Study Abroad's physical address - [attention ISR Coordinator])

4. Once final approval has been granted, and (if necessary) IOC Approval has been granted, an email notification will be sent to the students confirming the student's ISR application status. The student will then be directed to complete a series of pre-departure requirements online including forms, insurance, and registration.

Note: Applications for travel to American protectorates (example: Puerto Rico) will not be approved.

Extension Request:

Students proposing to continue research in the same country as their previous research are eligible to apply for an extension. To apply for an ISR extension, students must fill out the ISR Extension Request Form and receive approval from their Graduate Advisor and Supervising Professor. Approvals must be submitted prior to the application deadlines listed above in the "Application Deadlines" section. Approvals are accepted via email. Students are not required to pay a $75 application fee to extend their ISR status. Students must also be in compliance with our insurance requirement for the continuing semesters. If you are traveling to a country on the UT Austin Restricted Regions List, you must seek a Restricted Regions approval extension from our International Oversight Committee before your ISR extension can be considered. Registration for ISR will not occur until all approvals have been submitted and the registration period is open. It is the student's responsibility to make sure all approvals have been received. Please submit Extension Requests to:


Last Updated 04/02/2014 (SB)