International Summer Immersion Program

Through the International Summer Immersion Program (ISIP), students from select partner universities outside of the United States, spend 5 to 6 weeks experiencing research activities and campus life at a major research university. 

Click here to download the program brochure.



The Office of International Programs in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) initiated the International Summer Immersion Program (ISIP) in partnership with China’s Zhejiang University in 2010. The ISIP program has been growing ever since. Beginning in 2015, the program expanded to include students from additional universities around the world.

The purpose of this short-term program is to facilitate independent, undergraduate research activities for visiting students and to expose them to the high-quality scientific research at the University of Illinois. In addition, the program provides ACES faculty with an opportunity to extend their international collaborations, both research and teaching, to premier universities around the world.

Students in ISIP have participated in various projects relating to livestock management, food science, plant genetics, horticulture, and the environment. They have taken part in industry-oriented field trips, cross-cultural engagements, and trips to places of cultural and historical importance.

More than 120 students have graduated from this unique program. Its quality and value have been repeatedly recognized by faculty and students at our key partner universities. At Zhejiang University, our program received the “Best Summer Group Program” award in 2012 and 2013.



ISIP is a short-term summer program which introduces the College of ACES to promising undergraduate students from selected partner institutions. Students gain an understanding of the scholarly research process through the direct mentorship of an ACES faculty member. Participants are also introduced to the U.S. higher education system and to what it means to be a graduate student at the University of Illinois. In addition, students learn about the history and the culture of Illinois and the United States, and participate in many cross-cultural activities on campus and beyond.

Research Project

Through direct mentorship by an ACES faculty member, students complete a research project. Participants must dedicate a minimum of 30 hours per week to their research activities. The ISIP program culminates with a group poster session where the students showcase their research findings. 

Cultural Immersion Activities

The program offers many opportunities for immersion into U.S. culture and exploration of the rich history of the state of Illinois and the region. Students also mingle with their domestic peers through special on-campus mixers and community social events.


At completion of the program, students have:

  • a better understanding of the academic research process
  • a completed research project and a research poster in hand
  • a strong relationship with a faculty member and other co-researchers
  • a better understanding of the ACES graduate programs and admission process


The ISIP is highly competitive. The application process is initiated through the students' home university, which must be a partner institution of the program.

Program Requirements

  • High-level English language proficiency as demonstrated by TOEFL results. (Minimum requirement: 80 electronic and 550 paper based test)
  • Completion of at least two years of university training in good academic standing
  • Demonstration of basic research knowledge and skills 
  • Clearly articulated research interests
  • Applicants must to be currently enrolled at one of the following partner institutions and must be nominated by that institution: Zhejiang University (China), Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (Mexico), University for Development Studies (Ghana), Hokkaido University (Japan), and Chungnam National University (South Korea).


The Office of International Programs makes every effort to keep ISIP accessible to students who are ready to take on new academic challenges and are eager to build their research skills.   

  • The per student program fee includes the cost of the program participation, housing, and meals as well as all day-trip related expenses. It does not, however, include the travel (to U.S.) cost or the cost of the visa application process.
  • The per student fee is determined each year, based on the current costs of the services provided (listed above).
  • All participants are responsible for covering the cost of the program before the arrival to Illinois. In addition to covering costs of travel and visa applications, students must also arrange for health insurance while in the U.S. 

Application Process

Students interested in ISIP should read the instructions and fill out the program application form and submit it to the unit at their home-institution which facilitates the ISIP selection process.

In addition to the application form, the student must submit a one-page personal statement clearly outlining the reasons why he/she wants to join the program. The personal statement should also reference the research area of interest to the student and the reasons for this interest. Lastly, the students should submit their most recent transcripts/ grade records and TOEFL scores, where applicable.

Sample Timeline

February: Application process starts
End of March: Application deadline and applicant selection at home institution
Mid-April: Second round of applicant selection (at Illinois)
End of April: Cohort announcement
May and June: Students apply for an entry visa and make travel arrangements
Early July: Program starts
Mid-August: Program ends


All questions about the ISIP program, including how institutions can participate, should be addressed to the Associate Director, Suzana Palaska at