University of Iowa


Anthropology is, by definition, multi-cultural and international. In the university setting, professors and their students explore when, why, and how distinct cultural perspectives and practices interact. In the business world, both employers and employees must deal with the realities of an increasingly interconnected and global economy. Also, public health, economic development, and resource conservation programs administered by NGOs or at various levels of government are far more likely to succeed if input from local people is incorporated into the planning and implementation.

Taking courses abroad will give you real-world access to a variety of cosmopolitan issues and cross-cultural experiences. The skills you will develop while abroad will help you in your current coursework and research. They will also look great on resumes and applications to law schools, graduate schools, and schools of public health.

Kyra Seay at The Great Wall of China

By going abroad, you can complete coursework for your Anthropology major, work on the requirements for a second major or minor, work on GERs, study a foreign language, do an archaeology dig, or create your own research program. To find out more about these options and many others, explore this website, talk with your academic advisor, and stop by the Study Abroad office.


Usually, we do not encourage students to study abroad during their first year. However, Freshman year is a great time to start thinking about when, where, and why you’d like to go overseas. Explore this website and stop by the Study Abroad office to see all of your options. 

Also, the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year is good time to study abroad on a short-term program, especially for Anthropology majors. There are some great dig and field experience opportunities out there, so talk to your major advisor and a study abroad advisor to learn more.


Sophomore year can be a very good time to study abroad. You can work on foreign language requirements (always a good skill for Anthropology majors!), finish GERs, or work on some of your major coursework. If you’d like to take anthropology classes abroad in your Sophomore year, think about going overseas your second semester, and then try to complete your introductory level classes during your Freshman year, or during the first semester of your Sophomore year.


Junior year is perhaps the best time to go abroad. By now, you’ve probably taken some if not all of your language requirements, as well as your intro-level anthropology courses, so you’ve got a good foundation to build on. Look for programs with courses that fit into your academic plan – are you interested in biological anthropology, linguistics, or gender studies, for example? Or, think about visiting a country or location you’re interested in researching either as part of a GIS back at The University of Iowa, or as preparation for an undergraduate honors thesis. However, remember that if you’re interested in graduating with honors in anthropology, you must take the Honors Research Seminar, and it is only offered in the Fall, so plan ahead and talk to your advisor about your options.


Senior year can be another great time to go abroad, especially if you’ve planned ahead and spoken with you major and study abroad advisors. Studying abroad Senior year can help you finish a research project, gain additional language skills, take classes not offered at the University of Iowa, or even do an internship or field study. All of these things will look great on a resume or application, and in general, studying abroad is a fantastic way to prepare for life after college!

BA in Anthropology

The major requires at least 33 semester hours of coursework in anthropology, 15 of which must be earned at The University of Iowa.

Requirements include the following:

All of these:

ANTH:1101 Cultural Anthropology
ANTH:1201 Introduction to Prehistory
ANTH:1301 Human Origins
ANTH:1401 Language, Culture, and Communication
ANTH:1001 Issues in Anthropology

  • Students are encouraged to take the introductory anthropology courses at The University of Iowa. However, advisors are willing to consider study abroad options. Meet with your advisor for more information.

One 2000-level or higher course in archaeology (areal or topical) or biological anthropology
One 2000-level or higher course in sociocultural or linguistic anthropology
One 2000-level or higher course in area studies

  • Upper-level courses and electives are great things to take while studying overseas. However, before leaving The University of Iowa, you must get all courses approved by the department.

BS in Anthropology

In addition to meeting the requirements of the BA Anthropology degree, students interested in earning a BS must also:

Take a minimum of one course/three semester hours of quantitative or formal reasoning beyond that required for the GER. You should speak with your advisor before selecting these courses.

  • These courses can often be taken overseas.

Complete a minimum of one course/three semester hours of directed laboratory or field research experience. 

  • There are a variety of options here, so speak with your advisor to learn more and to see if study abroad could fulfill this requirement.

Fulfill an allied topical coursework (related minor). 

  • Meeting this requirement could be a great reason to go overseas.

To graduate with a BS, students must earn 39 hours, not including the hours need to complete their minor.

In some countries, anthropology and archaeology are taught very differently than they are here at The University of Iowa. However, rather than preclude study abroad, these differences are a great opportunity to learn new and different approaches to your chosen field of study. For more information about these differences, speak with your major advisor, and read about the specific courses by visiting the Programs section of this site and by stopping by the Study Abroad office and scheduling an appointment with one of our advisors.

If you are a double-major, like many Anthropology students, it is important to consider the requirements of both of your majors and talk with all of your advisors before planning to spend a semester or year abroad.

The programs listed below were chosen because they offer a diverse representation of issues in anthropology, unique cultural experiences, or specialized internship options. While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to explore other options via our online search engine.

As the UI Department of Anthropology works with Study Abroad, the specific programs listed here may change, so check with your advisor for the latest updates.

The programs listed below are divided into two categories: General Anthropology Programs, which are arranged alphabetically by location, and Multiple Location Programs, which feature strong field school or hands-on experiences. There is some overlap between these sections.


Regents Semester in Australia: University of Newcastle

At the University of Newcastle, anthropology is taught through the Faculty of Education and Arts and the School of Humanities and Social Science. The university is also connected with several research institutions that specialize in women's studies, transformational studies, and health and aging. For more information and a list of available courses, see a study abroad advisor.


USAC Studies in Chile

Elqui Valley Tour in Chile

This program offers classroom study in Santiago for either a summer or a full semester. The semester program offers an anthropology class on indigenous groups, leaving time to pursue language study, other coursework, and travel.

The summer program includes a one-week excursion to the North, visits to San Pedro de Atacama and to other communities, and trips to geological and archeological sites on the desert plateau. The two summer courses, Chile’s Native Cultures from the North and Chile’s Native Cultures from the South, earn a total of six semester hours. Students are encouraged to have already completed their introductory coursework in anthropology. Spanish language skills are desirable, but not required.

CIEE Santiago (Chile) Liberal Arts Program

This program combines group and direct enrollment courses, including anthropology classes. For more information, visit the Study Abroad office.


University of Iceland Exchange

At the University of Iceland, anthropology and archeology are administered by the Faculty of Humanities. Courses of interest to Anthropology students include: Icelandic Culture, Theoretical Issues in Contemporary Archeology, Viking Age Archeology, Icelandic Landscape Archeology, and History of Iceland from Settlement to the Present. For more information, visit the Study Abroad office and schedule and appointment with an advisor.


CIEE Thailand Development + Globalization

This program is based in Khon Kaen in northeast Thailand and is offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. This group program provides both area studies, introducing students to current issues and Thai culture, as well as providing hands-on experience with the implementation of development projects in Thailand. Projects can be shaped with substantial input from UI faculty well ahead of the student’s arrival in Thailand.


SIT Vietnam Culture, Social Change, and Development

Students are based in Ho Chi Minh City, where they participate in interdisciplinary coursework, intense language study, field work, homestays, and sponsored excursions. Students also have the chance to do independent research. Previous projects have included research on HIV/AIDs in the region, regional interpretations of the US/Vietnam War, malaria, and child workers.

Multiple Location Programs


SIT's IHP/multi-country programs focus on independent research projects that are based on gathering of field information. Supplementary seminars provide background to the country and society. Visit the Study Abroad office to learn more.