Sociology Major

There are many exciting study abroad options available for Sociology majors. Imagine learning about African societies in sub-tropical Ghana, studying the sociology of conflict in the politically turbulent city of Belfast, researching Aboriginal communities in Australia, or learning about culture and communication in South Africa.

Students at the Great Wall

By its nature, sociology takes place in a cultural context. There is much to be gained from understanding the history, traditions and values of societies outside your own. Study abroad is one very exciting way to begin to discover new approaches to sociology and build professional skills.


The transition from high school to college is a big one, so we do not usually recommend that students attempt to fit study abroad into their first year at the UI. However, the summer between freshman and sophomore year can be a good time to participate in a short-term program.


Sophomore year is the perfect time to plan your overseas experience. Explore this site, drop by the Study Abroad Resource Room, and talk with both your academic and study abroad advisor to learn more and determine what programs best fit your needs.


Junior year is the most appropriate time for Sociology majors to spend a semester or year abroad. Do some research on this site, visit the Study Abroad Resource Room, and schedule meetings with your academic and study abroad advisors to learn more.


Senior year is a busy time for Sociology majors, and so not the ideal time to study abroad. However, if you are already a junior or senior, and would still like to go overseas, contact a study abroad adviser. Internships and work-abroad are possible options. Also, consider summer programs for in between your junior and senior year.


Summers can be a very good time to study abroad. You can complete elective and foreign language requirements, or take a class or two that will count toward your major, all of which will lighten your course load when you return to the UI in the fall. Another option might be looking for a summer internship overseas, which looks great on a resume.

General Education

Most study abroad locations will offer course work that will count towards Historical Perspectives, Fine Arts, Foreign Civilization & Culture, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and/or Social Sciences General Education Program requirements. And, of course, if you need to complete the General Education Program foreign language requirement, intensive study abroad language programs allow you to do so in as little time as a semester. GEP courses taken overseas are approved by the Study Abroad office.

Sociology Major Requirements

The BA degree in Sociology requires a minimum of 34-5 semester hours and the BS degree in Sociology requires 45 semester hours.

Students may satisfy no more than 15 semester hours of their total hour requirement in the major with sociology courses transferred from other schools. However, some study abroad programs allow students to earn resident credit, so speak with a study abroad advisor for more information.

The Sociology major also requires the completion of a portfolio, so when considering study abroad, make sure your requirements are being met. Know what classes you must take at the UI to graduate, keeping in mind general education requirements, too. Please see the Sociology Department's website for a breakdown of major requirements. Consult both your academic advisor and a study abroad advisor as soon as possible in this process.

Most sociology classes can also be taken overseas, excluding 34:195 because it involves highly-specified assignments that are required elements of student portfolios. Furthermore, overseas courses to be substituted for 34:009, 34:010, and 34:011 must exhibit significant rigor before they will transfer, where rigor is determined by a University of Iowa instructor of the course in question. Before the 34:011 requirement may be satisfied away from the University of Iowa, the student must commit to completing an independent research project that tests a sociological theory because such a project is a required element of the graduation portfolio. Consult a University of Iowa instructor of 34:011 to obtain a list of requirements for the research project

Also, if you are a double major, be sure that your requirements for that major are also being met.

  • If you are planning on entering the workforce directly after graduation, consider an overseas internship. This will look great on a resume, give you valuable work experience, and provide you with a great way to experience a foreign country.

Language study is also highly marketable. If you haven't already completed your language requirements, consider taking them overseas. Or, if you have already finished these courses, think about taking more advanced language classes while abroad. Good foreign language skills are becoming increasingly important in the job market, and advanced language study is a great way to really get to know a country or culture.

The programs on this page were chosen because they offer unique cultural experiences and a diverse representation of the issues that are currently at the heart of the study of sociology. While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse an online directory of study abroad programs. As the Department of Sociology works with Study Abroad, the specific program recommendations on this sheet may change, so check with your advisors for the latest updates.


KwaZulu-Natal Exchange

The University of Iowa's Semester in South Africa is offered both during the academic school year and during the summer. UI Sociology students that choose to study at the UKZN are provided with a variety of courses, including:

  • The Sociological Tradition
  • Social Issues in Development
  • Sociology of Rural South Africa
  • Culture, Communication and Development
  • Social Studies in Conservation
  • Gender Studies

For more information, visit UKZN School of Sociology and Social Studies homepage.

Ghana - ISEP

The University of Ghana

The ISEP Exchange program allows UI students to study for a semester or for a year at the University of Ghana. One of the University of Ghana's objectives for its own students is to ensure that they have an understanding of world affairs, and in particular, the histories, institutions, and cultures of African civilizations.


Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The Iowa Regents Semester in Australia offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Newcastle or the University of Tasmania.

The University of Newcastle

Through Newcastle's School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology, students can choose from many exciting courses, including Social Policy in Australia, Traditional Aboriginal Society, Working with Aboriginal Communities, Melanesian Societies, Islam in Modern Society, Media and Society, Juvenile Justice, and many others.

University of Tasmania, Australia

At the University of Tasmania School of Sociology and Social Work, students can choose from many courses:

  • Australian Society
  • Sociology of Youth
  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Love, Family and Sexuality: East-West Comparison
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Social Problems and Social Policy
  • Gender and Power


Regents Semester in Cork

University College Cork (UCC)

At UCC, students can choose from classes such as Policy, Society and Economics, Community Care, Social Policy, Sociology and Society, Social Policy and Social Practice, Welfare and Social Services, Society, Welfare and Economics, and Community and Social Institutions. For more information, visit the UCC Department of Sociology homepage.

Non-UI Program: National University of Ireland, Galway

The Kayak Club at NUIG

At NUI Galway, Sociology majors can choose from a variety of classes that discuss topics specific to Ireland, or that address more general sociological issues. More information is available at the NUIG School of Political Science and Sociology webpage. Previous classes have included:

  • Women in Irish Society
  • Sociology of Work
  • Social Stratification and Inequality
  • Aging in Irish Society
  • Data Analysis for the Social Sciences
  • Sociology of Culture, Youth and Society

United Kingdom

Iowa Regents Semester in Scotland

University of Edinburgh

At Edinburgh, Sociology is studied as a part of the School of Social and Political Studies. The Department was started in 1964, and its faculty and students conduct research in the areas of national identity, identity, economics, sociological theory, South Asia, and technology.

Semester at Queen's University Belfast

QUB School of Sociology, Social Policy, and Social Work offers classes in Criminology, Social Policy, Social Work, and Sociology. QUB students generally take six modules (courses) a year. These modules are organized by levels (1-3), which are roughly equivalent to the US freshman-senior system.

Regents Semester in Wales

University of Wales - Swansea

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Swansea offers many classes that might be of interest to Sociology majors, including:

  • Classical Social Theory
  • Historical Sociology
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Labor, Power and Inequality
  • Employment & Urban Economies in the Third World
  • Sociology of Gender

Non-UI Program: University of Brighton

University of Iowa Sociology students can choose from a variety of pre-approved classes, including Contemporary British Culture and Society, The Sociology of Deviance and Control, Gender Issues and Physical Culture, and Social Psychology. Students can enroll directly in the university, or by using any of a number of study abroad providers.