Recommended Programs for Psychology Major

As a Psychology major, many study abroad options are available to you.  Imagine developing practical counseling skills in Denmark, experimenting in neuro-psychology and psychophysiology in purpose-built laboratories in the UK, or studying Maori development and psychology in New Zealand.  Programs are available in almost every language, and many programs are also available in English.  Study psychology, or take advantage of your destination to study history and culture, fulfill General Education Requirements, study a language, complete research in a special topic, or do an internship.


Although we generally do not encourage Psychology majors to study abroad until their junior or senior year, the summer between freshman and sophomore year provides an excellent opportunity to participate in a short-term program. For more information, explore this website, drop by the Study Abroad Resource Room, or contact a study abroad adviser. Also, remember that you need to take a statistics course before you can complete your research methods course. So, if you'd like to go overseas as a freshman, look for a program that offers a comparable statistics course so that you'll be on track for your sophomore year. Similarly, you must take your research methods class before any of your upper levels, so plan ahead for after your return.

Students in Paris.


Sophomore year is a perfect time to plan your study abroad experience by defining your goals and choosing the type of program in which you are interested. You should plan on doing some research at the Study Abroad Resource Room and talking with your academic and study abroad advisors to make sure that the classes you are taking at the UI match well with your future study abroad objectives. Also, consider going abroad as a sophomore to complete General Education Requirements. However, remember that your research methods course must be taken before you can complete any of your upper level electives. So, it is suggested that you take it and statistics before going overseas. Most students finish these requirements during their sophomore year.


Junior year is a great time to spend a semester or year abroad. As a junior, you should choose a study abroad program that will allow you to take classes that satisfy your lower or upper level elective requirements. You are required to take 12 hours of lower level electives, and these classes may be taken abroad. Be aware that classes similar to the UI's will likely have different names overseas. Social Psychology is sometimes know as Cognitive Psychology, while Biological Psychology can be called Brain & Behavior. Ask your departmental advisor for more information. You are also required to take 8 hours of upper level electives. Again, these classes can be taken abroad. Not all of the examples listed below are directly equivalent to UI courses, but they are transferable, and students are encouraged to take classes that aren’t offered at the UI:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Personality
  • History of Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

You can also take classes that will satisfy some of the requirements of a minor or second major. Also, consider taking classes that will enhance your understanding of the culture you are visiting. Language study is also a good option. If you haven't yet completed your language requirements, talk to your academic advisor or a study abroad advisor about your options.


Senior year is another great time to study abroad. As a senior, you can pick a program that is geared toward your academic and professional interests. Also, take this time to enrich your understanding of psychology by looking for classes that are unique to foreign environments and universities. Juniors and seniors might also consider doing an internship overseas. However, if you're working on a BS in Psychology, remember that your are required to take the Psychology Seminar and Lab in Psychology. These classes are usually taken during your senior year, they don’t transfer, and are not offered in the summer, so you'll need to plan around them. These two classes can be taken in the same semester, but generally they are not.

General Education Component

Most study abroad locations will offer course work that will count towards Humanities and Social Sciences GEC requirements.

Language study is a good option, too. Talk with your academic advisor or a study abroad advisor to learn more.

Required Courses for Psychology Majors

Early planning is the key to successfully finding equivalencies for your major requirements on a study abroad program. Classes offered by our partner universities will provide you with a perspective on your field that is unique to the country and culture where you are studying, and that will augment the perspectives you receive in the U.S. classroom.

B.A. Program

  • Psychology Core Courses (10 S.H.)
    • Statistics can be taken overseas, but your research methods course must be taken at the UI.
  • Lower Level Electives (12 S.H. )
    • All of these classes can be taken while abroad. Sometimes, classes similar to the UI's will have different names overseas. For example, the UI's course in Biopsychology may be called Physiological Psychology and Developmental Science may be called Child Development or Child Psychology. Be sure to read course descriptions and talk with your advisors to find out if a course is transferable.
  • Upper Level Electives (9 S.H.)
    • All of these classes may be taken overseas. Many classes offered abroad will not be a direct match for a UI class, but they will still count for transferable credit. Talk with your advisors to learn more.
  • Second Area of Concentration (9 S.H.)
    • Transfer credit may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

B.S. Program

  • Psychology Core Courses (9 S.H.)
    • See above.
    • The Calculus requirement can also be taken overseas.
  • Lower Level Electives (12 S.H.)
    • See above.
  • Upper Level Electives (9 S.H.)
    • See above.
  • Selected Topic Courses (7 S.H.)
    • Talk with your major advisor to learn more about options for taking these courses while abroad.
  • Cognate Requirements (14 – 16 S.H.)
    • Talk with your major advisor to learn more about options for taking these courses while abroad.
  • Also, remember that the Psychology Seminar and Lab in Psychology are required for the BS degree and that they are not offered in the summer, and are generally taken in two separate semesters during the senior year, so plan accordingly.


Electives are an excellent opportunity to earn Psychology credit.


  • If you are a double major, please check with you other major advisor to make sure that you are meeting their requirements, as well as Psychology's.
  • Abnormal Psychology is studied very differently abroad. Germany and Italian psychologists have wildly different views of psychopathology. They conceptualize and categorize it differently. On the other hand, Australia and the UK have a very similar approach to psychopathology as the US. While studying this specialty abroad could be very interesting, it could also lead to confusion, so be aware of these difference as your are picking a program and selecting your courses.
  • Finally, while Calculus can be taken overseas, it is recommended that Biology and Chemistry be taken at the UI. While Bio and Chem classes may be offered by foreign universities, the course content could be very different.

The University of Iowa administers a large number of study abroad programs, and programs offered by other US colleges and universities are also available to University of Iowa students. The Department of Psychology has worked closely with Study Abroad to select programs that fit Psychology majors particularly well. All areas of emphasis within the Psychology major include options for study abroad. Consider your area of emphasis, your career interests, and your academic goals. Use these webpages and links, talk with your major adviser, and work with an adviser at the Study Abroad office and you will find a program that fits your needs.

While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of the Study Abroad website, explore an online directory of study abroad programs, and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.

Students in South Africa


University of KwaZulu-Natal Exchange

The Department of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa offers a number of courses for undergraduates, including Intro to Psychology, as well as classes covering developmental and organizational psychology, psychology and society, and psychoanalysis and social issues.

Non - UI: University of Ghana - ISEP

The Department of Psychology, established in 1967, is one of the biggest departments in the University. Over 30 undergraduate courses are offered at Levels 100, 200, 300, and 400.

  • The UI is a part of the ISEP consortium, which provides a wide selection of programs in many different countries for Psychology majors to choose from.


Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The University of Newcastle

Students can choose from a variety of courses in psychology. Previous classes have included Psychobiology, Personality and Social Processes, Introduction to Abnormal Behavior, Basic Processes, Psychopathology and Neuro-psychology, and Social and Organizational Psychology.

The University of Tasmania

The School of Psychology offers undergraduate and Honors study in core and applied areas of psychology. The program follows the scientist-practitioner model.


Aalborg University Exchange in Aalborg, Denmark

University of Iowa students are invited to enroll in courses offered in English by Aalborg University faculty in the Department of Communications and by guest faculty from partner universities. In addition to these courses, students work individually or in groups to prepare projects or mini-projects. A selection of courses offered by the International Cultural Studies program are also available. Applicants should have completed a minimum of one year of university-level work in the field of psychology. During the exchange program, students are required to complete courses in three subject areas: psychology, international cultural studies, and Danish language and culture. In the fall semester, students must select two courses from the following psychology courses:

  • Advanced Cognitive
  • Developmental and Neuro-psychology
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods
  • Counseling Practicum

In the spring students choose two courses from the following:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Work and Organizational Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Advanced Psychological Assessment


American College of Thessaloniki

The Department of Psychology’s BA program includes courses in each of Psychology’s major sub-disciplines (Abnormal, Applied, Cognitive, Counseling, Developmental, Educational, Group, Health, and Organizational Psychology), and it provides students with the opportunity to study the field of Psychology holistically at the undergraduate level. Courses offered include:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Lifespan Development
  • Personality Theories
  • Social Psychology
  • The Psychology of Gender
  • Applied Psychology
  • Research Methods & Statistics I
  • A History of Psychological Thought and Discourse
  • Theories of Self
  • Educational Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Introduction to Counseling Psychology
  • Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
  • Introduction to Psychoanalysis.


Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland

University College Cork

Psychology students can choose from an extensive offering of classes, including Social Psychology, Probability and Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Psychology Applied to Health Care, Occupational Psychology, Biological and Cognitive Models of Mind Cognition and Culture, Intro to Human Development, and Intro to Social Psychology.


Non-UI: John Cabot University in Rome

This program offers courses taught in English that can be used as transfer credit to the UI. Psychology courses offered include:

  • General Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology
  • Special Topics in Psychology

Some of these courses have prerequisites, so speak with a study abroad advisor for more information.


Radboud University Nijmegen Exchange Program

The University of Iowa and the Radboud University Nijmegen have established a reciprocal exchange program which allows UI undergraduate students to undertake an academic year or semester of course work in the Netherlands. Dutch language is not required. The School of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences offers a wide variety of courses in the fields of Biological, Clinical, Cognitive, and Social Psychology.

New Zealand

Non-UI: University of Waikato - USAC

Within the University of Waikato's Department of Psychology, you can choose from a variety of courses in cognitive, abnormal, organizational, or physiological psychology, as well as psychological research and counseling topics. Psychology and Women, Violence in New Zealand, or Maori Development and Psychology, have all been taught recently.

The United Kingdom

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales

You can choose from the following classes: Cognitive Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Eating Behavior, Psychology of Early Childhood, and many others. Students who have at least sophomore standing at the time the program starts and a minimum 2.8 g.p.a. are eligible for this program.

UK Exchange Programs

Yearlong study in the UK is available through exchange programs between the University of Iowa and Lancaster University, the University of Hull, and the University of Strathclyde. Students enroll in classes that are part of the host institution’s regular curriculum. Most of the classes in the British system are yearlong. Students typically take between three and five courses during the academic year, earning between 24 and 32 semester hours of transfer credit.

Lancaster University

The Psychology Department at Lancaster University provides a broad selection of courses which cover the different major approaches to the study of human psychology. The department has a prolific national and international reputation. Courses are offered in social, developmental, cognitive, and physiological psychology, psychological issues, as well as in psychological research methods.

University of Hull

The University of Hull Psychology Department facilities include a new suite of purpose-built laboratories for the study of psychophysiology, neuro-psychology, perception and motor skills. There are also networked computer suites, a child observation suite, and an extensive psychological test library. Hull maintains a strong tradition of small-group teaching with an enthusiastic and dedicated teaching staff who provide expert support for learning at all levels. Students can choose from an ample variety of course choices in psychology, counseling, and research.

University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Students studying with the Department of Psychology at Strathclyde are required to have the necessary level of statistics knowledge. Students can choose from the following courses:

  • Cognitive Development
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Biological Aspects of Behaviour
  • Individual Differences
  • Social Identity and Social Cognition
  • Sensation, Cognition and Performance
  • Thinking and Language