Independent Study and Research

New Travel Guidelines in response to COVID-19

The university has implemented new travel guidelines including:

  • Effective March 27, 2020: UT domestic and international travel restrictions have been extended to May 31, whether paid for by UT sources or external sponsors.  A decision will be made by April 30 about travel starting after June 1. International travel will follow the guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Department of State (USDOS) for dates later than June 1.
    • UT will not permit reimbursements from any source for deposits, down-payments, change fees, or non-reimbursable airfares booked after March 26 for travel at any future time.
    • Restricted Regions requests will not be accepted. Faculty and staff who require travel approval for COVID-19 pandemic research must contact Global Risk & Safety in Texas Global for further direction.
  • Effective March 27, 2020: All visiting delegations to UT Austin have been canceled through June 1, with the possibility that this date could be extended, per CDC and USDOS guidelines.
  • Worldwide recall of all university-sponsored travelers (students, faculty and staff), effective March 11, 2020.
  • Cancelation of all education abroad programs through Aug. 18, effective March 11, 2020. 


If you're interested in conducting research or studying independently abroad while maintaining UT enrollment, independent study and research (ISR) may be right for you. Learn more about requirements, credit, deadlines and other pertinent information.

  • Students may enroll in ISR for a maximum of four consecutive long semesters (Spring and Fall). There is no official minimum time period abroad.
  • ISR students are considered full-time students by the university for the term abroad.
    • Note: the university does not consider ISR to be full-time enrollment for the purposes of employment.
  • Credit will be granted by your departmental advisor sometimes in conjunction with the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC).
  • Doctoral candidates who meet the requirements for ISR registration can use their time in ISR as a substitute for dissertation hours, but can’t use it to circumvent the continuous registration requirement for doctoral candidacy. Consult your graduate coordinator for more information regarding your continuous registration requirement.
  • Travel to U.S. protectorates, such as Puerto Rico, will not be approved for ISR status.

While most students will be abroad for the entire semester or year, many students in ISR status have some days, weeks or months in Austin before going abroad and will be able to use these resources before, during, and upon return.

  • UT Austin Libraries
  • ITS computer support services
  • University Health Services
  • University Housing
  • University Writing Center
  • UT RecSports facilities access
  • Eligible to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
  • Not included: Federal grant or loan programs administered by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Education Abroad will accept new applications or extensions until the deadlines. Students must complete all requirements for application prior to the application deadlines.

  • August 1 – fall semester abroad
  • December 1 – spring semester abroad
  • May 1 – summer semester abroad

Once approved for ISR, your registration will be completed by Texas Global. However, you must confirm your registration by paying your tuition bill. ISR is an exclusive registration, and cannot be combined with any other courses.

Application Fee: There is a one-time, $75, non-refundable Texas Global administration fee for ISR status.

Registration: The fee for registering in ISR status is $600 per semester. This fee, in lieu of tuition, will be posted to your My Tuition Bill. Student will receive an email notification of the fee and must make payment by the university fee bill due dates.

Insurance: All UT Austin students studying abroad are enrolled in mandatory Overseas Insurance for their travel dates abroad. The cost is $19 per week. 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 returning to their home country are automatically exempt from this coverage and associated charges, although they are able to opt in to the overseas insurance coverage by emailing However, international students may still be subject to charges for US-based insurance coverage. This is separate from overseas insurance, and is often required in order to maintain visa status.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Students in ISR are not eligible for federal, state, or institutional loans. Students should also note that ISR does not satisfy the enrollment requirement for either academic or non-academic employment with the university. Some grants and scholarships may be awarded to students in this registration category. To apply for scholarships in Global Assist use program code 300999. All students in ISR are eligible for apply for the International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS).

International students MUST speak with an Immigration Advisor in International Student and Scholar Services in Texas Global before leaving the United States. All international students accepted into ISR will be automatically charged for UT Domestic Student Health Insurance because the university cannot be certain that ISR students will remain abroad for the full term.

Step 1: Determine if you will be traveling to a UT-Restricted Region. If you are, you must get International Oversight Committee (IOC) Approval. You can apply for this and ISR at the same time. Students not traveling to a UT-Restricted Region should proceed directly to the next step.

Step 2: Email with the following information:

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

You will then be granted access to the MyAbroad Portal and sent an email notification.

Step 3: Additional application elements

  • Log into the online portal or "MyAbroad" and complete the "Online Registration Form" along with all listed steps/modules.
  • Download the ISR Cover Sheet, and obtain the required signatures. If you or your supervising professors are out of the country, email the cover sheet and one-page proposal to your faculty member and graduate adviser for an email approval. Send all documents and approvals to the ISR Coordinator at
  • Complete a one-page abstract/proposal that addresses when, where, for how long, and for what purpose you will be abroad. Email the application to or turn it in at Texas Global front desk or mail it to Education Abroad's physical address (listed in our website footer) - [attention ISR Coordinator]

Step 4: Once final approval has been granted, including Restricted Region requests, an email notification will be sent to the students confirming the student's ISR application status. You will then be registered in ISR 00090.

Students who want to continue research in the same country should complete the documents listed below for each subsequent semester they are in ISR beyond the initial semester. Students must submit approvals before the application deadlines listed above. Students will have to pay the tuition and insurance fees for the extension semester but the $75 application fee will be waived.

  1. ISR Extension Request Form
  2. Updated Emergency Medical Authorization and Risk & Indemnification Agreement
  3. Any other updates from original request

If you are traveling to a country on the UT Austin Restricted Regions List and the approval period listed on your letter from the IOC has expired or will expire during your proposed extension period, you must seek a Restricted Regions approval extension from the International Oversight Committee before your ISR extension can be considered. Please submit Restricted Regions extension request to with the following information:

  1. Updated itinerary (accommodations, dates, etc.)
  2. Letter to IOC explaining reason for extension
  3. Updated Emergency Medical Authorization and Risk & Indemnification Agreement
  4. Any other updates from original request

Email all requirements to