Immersive Field Courses (IFC) are three credit courses offered in the Elective Curriculum (EC) Year that offer an off-campus, experiential learning opportunity during the January term that allows second-year students to apply the knowledge and skills gained from their on-campus MBA coursework first-hand. A cornerstone of these courses is the expertise of faculty, who develop course content focused on teaching objectives achieved primarily through student-centered active learning exercises, which could include team projects with companies or working on a research project identified by faculty. In both cases, site visits and guest speakers will be an additional element of the courses. Courses begin in the fall with several required on-campus sessions to set the context for January. These on-campus sessions vary and could include lectures, case discussions, and project work if applicable. The following course policies pertain to both the on-campus sessions and the off-campus components of the Immersive Field Courses.

Academic Policy

As with any academic course, students are expected to adhere to all HBS Academic Policies for the duration of the course.

Attendance Policy

On-Campus/Boston Sessions 

The Attendance Policy applies for the duration of the on-campus/Boston sessions of Immersive Field Courses, and students are required to participate fully in all scheduled course activities. Students are required to report all of their absences in advance of class into the Student Absence Notification Tool. It is important to note that Immersive Field Course class days are not eligible for excused recruiting absences, and all recruiting absences on these days will be unexcused. Unexcused absences during the course will be reviewed for grading implications and/or other disciplinary action.   


While on location, students are required to participate fully in all scheduled immersion activities (in both the designated mode and content). Remote participation, including while on location, is not possible. Late arrivals and early departures from the immersion are considered unexcused absences and are in violation of the Attendance Policy. Before the immersion begins, if a student anticipates needing to arrive late, leave early, or otherwise identifies a conflict that would cause them to be absent from any portion of the on-location immersion, they should contact as soon as possible to discuss their situation. During the immersion, students should contact their Program Manager directly and not use the Student Absence Notification Tool to report that they will need to be absent from a session.


Participation in all academic sessions and course activities is mandatory unless listed as optional. Due to the condensed format and teamwork required in Immersive Field Courses, unexcused absences from the on-campus course sessions or immersion programming may significantly impact a student’s grade. Additionally, as absences significantly impact the ability of the team to function effectively, they may also be reflected in peer feedback which, when applicable depending on course structure, is an important component of the course grade.

Circumstances Limiting Travel

These elective courses are designed for HBS students only. There may be personal, health, visa, or other unforeseen circumstances that limit a student’s ability to travel, and those students should consider their options carefully before committing to the course.

Community Values and Standards

All HBS policies, including but not limited to the HBS Community Values and MBA Honor Code, apply during the Immersive Field Courses, both on campus and on location. Students are also expected to abide by the following:


Students are expected to arrive punctually and participate in person until the end of all scheduled events.

Dress Code

Students are responsible for packing attire that is appropriate for the weather and respectful of cultural norms in the immersion location. Students are responsible for confirming dress codes directly with their project partner in advance of meetings. GEO will provide a detailed itinerary for the immersion, which will include dress code recommendations for other scheduled group activities (e.g., site visits, cultural activities).

External Participants

Friends, family (including partners and children), and/or colleagues who may be visiting or residing in the immersion location may not participate in course activities (e.g., group sessions, field work, cultural excursions, group meals, etc.) nor may they stay in GEO-provided accommodations whether a student has been assigned a single room or has requested a single supplement.

Cost & Payment

Course Fee

IFCs require a firm commitment and carry a financial obligation. Financial aid is available in the form of a student loan, a need-based HBS scholarship, or a combination of both depending on individual circumstances. The Add/Drop process at the start of the term is the mechanism for any IFC enrollment changes. After that point, the course fee is non-refundable and any financial aid will be removed if the course is dropped. Students should refer to the GEO website (login required) for full details on IFCs and to be sure they understand the course policies, course fee, and financial aid. A quick financial aid assessment is included to determine eligibility and process.

The IFC course fee will appear on the student bill in October. Students are required to pay the full amount by the deadline indicated on the bill. Contact Financial Aid ( for more information.  

Additional Costs

The IFC course fee covers hotel accommodations, some meals, pre-identified activities, and local transportation (including transit from one immersion city to another) during the immersion. Students must arrange and pay for their own flights, visas, immunizations, most meals, and other incidentals.

Disability Support & Accommodation

Accessibility standards vary worldwide, and advance planning is beneficial in promoting a positive experience, as well as safe and effective participation during the immersion. It is important that a student be forthcoming with the Global Experience Office about specific needs or limitations and seek guidance in selecting an experiential location aligned with the personal challenges they may face while traveling. A student with concerns about their ability to travel, or the Global Experience Office’s ability to accommodate their needs while in-country, should contact the Global Experience Office ( Depending on the personal situation, the student may also want to consult with a health care provider. Topics for consideration include, but are not limited to, personal health (disability, mental health, physical limitations) and family health (care of a spouse/dependent, family member illness). Note that even with advance planning, a student should anticipate and be prepared to address unforeseen accessibility conditions throughout the immersion. To this end, on a case-by-case basis, the Global Experience Office reserves the right to modify the course or deny a student’s choice of location(s) for coursework participation, whichever is the least-restrictive reasonable alternative.

Drug & Alcohol Policy

The HBS Drug & Alcohol Policy states expectations for responsible alcohol use and applies during the Immersive Field Course. Students are expected to behave responsibly regardless of proximity to the HBS campus or classroom. As ambassadors of HBS while off campus, students should also consider both local laws and cultural norms when determining what constitutes responsible alcohol use in the immersion location.

Health & Safety (International IFCs only)

Students will be automatically enrolled in International SOS once their travel has been registered in MyTrips, Harvard University’s travel registry. International SOS offers general medical and safety travel advice. It can also provide emergency medical assistance and evacuation services if warranted as well as lost document assistance. This service is a supplement to, not a substitute for, health insurance. Therefore, a student may incur personal charges in the event that a third party is engaged for medical assistance services via International SOS. Students are responsible for confirming the details of their personal international health insurance coverage, which includes verifying the details of benefits, the claims submission process, and potential out-of-pocket costs while traveling.

Photography/Videography Policy

During Immersive Field Courses students, faculty, and Program Managers often take pictures or recordings featuring elements of the immersion and submit images to the Global Experience Office. Unless a student clearly specifies to the photographer/videographer that they do not want their name, voice, and/or likeness used, students will be deemed to have granted permission to the MBA Program to repurpose content in internal and external publications related to Immersive Field Courses.

Global Experience Office Travel Policies


Students are responsible for booking and paying for their own arrival and departure flights to/from the immersion location(s). Students are expected to arrive on time for the start of the immersion and should not leave before the conclusion of the course. Students must research and obtain any required visas (including transit visas) based on their chosen flight routing.

Visa Considerations

Some non-U.S. citizens may encounter delays or challenges securing a visa for certain Immersive Field Course countries due to more complex application procedures, additional consular security, or documentation requirements. The application process varies significantly depending on the passport holder and immersion location, and therefore the ability for the Global Experience Office to operationally support and provide insight for individual students is limited. Certain countries require travelers of specific nationalities to apply directly (direct submission) to a consulate, embassy, or at a third-party visa services company (e.g., VFS Global) to process their visa application. In certain cases, a country may require the applicant to complete the additional step of appearing in person at the consulate to submit the visa application rather than submitting it by mail or online for an eVisa. In such cases, GEO is not able to assist or intervene on a student's behalf. The personal appearance requirement (PAR) may involve weekday travel to the visa processing facility for a face-to-face interview, biometrics screening, or in-person application. If a student selects an Immersive Field Course in a location with such a requirement: GEO will provide standard supporting documents but cannot intervene on the student’s behalf should they encounter issues obtaining their visa; if the student misses class due to the visa application process, it will be considered an unexcused absence; and the student is responsible for researching all visa-related requirements pertaining to their particular circumstance(s). If a student’s visa application is denied or is not issued in time for travel, they will need to withdraw from the IFC and will forfeit their course fee. The visa process can take several weeks and therefore early planning is critical.


Students are required to stay in the GEO-provided hotel with their peers for the duration of the immersion. Family (including partners and children) and friends may not stay with students, whether a student has been assigned a single room or has requested a single supplement.

Insurance (Health)

Students are responsible for confirming the details of their personal health insurance coverage, which includes verifying the details of benefits, the claims submission process, and potential out-of-pocket costs while traveling. 

Insurance (Travel)

Purchasing travel/trip insurance is encouraged, as HBS is not able to assist in the event of flight delays or cancellations due to extreme weather or other extenuating circumstances. Students are responsible for all costs associated with flight changes or rebooking and must make a reasonable effort to arrive on time to the immersion. The Global Experience Office provides more information on travel insurance recommendations on myHBS.

Phone Policy

Students participating in an Immersive Field Course must activate a global plan (voice, data and text) with their mobile carrier for their personal devices and confirm that their phone number in MBA Classcards is accurate. GEO requires reliable contact information before students travel to ensure continuity of communications. In the event of an emergency, the school will communicate via voice, text and email. GEO will not reimburse students for this cost. Students with concerns should reach out to the Global Experience Office (

Travel During the Immersion

During free time built into an IFC itinerary, personal travel that involves leaving the country, taking a flight, or staying overnight in alternative accommodations is not permitted. Where safety is of heightened concern, students will be asked not to leave the immersion city or to avoid specific locations within the city and/or country.

Financial Responsibility

The cost of double-occupancy hotel rooms and some meals are covered by HBS during the immersion. Students should expect to pay out-of-pocket for most meals, a single-occupancy room (if preferred), an international mobile voice/data/text plan, and incidentals throughout the immersion.