The University of Iowa

Honors Program

An honors student in England.

"Honors at Iowa supports students in challenging themselves educationally; one of the best educational challenges for an undergraduate student is study abroad."

- Bob Kirby, Associate Director, University of Iowa Honors Program

As the world becomes increasingly globalized, study abroad is evermore advantageous for students wishing to excel in all areas of study. The University of Iowa Honors Program is a small community of outstanding students within the larger university setting designed to provide support for those who stand to benefit. It is the goal of the program to aid students in getting the most out of their education.

In order to further this mission, honors students are very much encouraged to pursue study abroad experiences. With a particular eye towards personal growth and intellectual development, it is the hope of the University of Iowa Honors Program that all students who would like to participate in learning abroad do so. When you study abroad, you have the opportunity to turn every minute of every day into a learning experience.

For more information visit the Honors at Iowa Study Abroad web page.

An honors student in Peru.

The University of Iowa Honors Program is committed to working with students on an individual basis to help them plan a course of study that is valuable. The best way to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by the Honors program is to become a member early and speak directly to honors staff about your particular educational needs.

It is the opinion of the University of Iowa Honors Program that study abroad experiences are best undertaken earlier in one's academic career. You will find that participation in study abroad makes you a more appealing candidate for graduate and professional schools. Furthermore, if you are planning on applying to advanced degree programs, you may find it necessary to be present on the UI campus during your junior and senior year, when much of the academic preparation takes place. Additionally, chances of winning scholarship competitions are increased by study abroad.

Please speak with the Honors Experiential Learning Director in order to discover what time frame is best for you.

An honors student in Rwanda.

Honors Credit

Honors students may earn experiential learning credit while studying abroad by completing the honors reflection process. This includes pre- and post-experience questionnaires and a narrative piece. The narrative must include:

  • an author bio
  • where you went and what you did
  • how long you were there
  • highlights of the experience and their significance
  • at least two images

The narrative piece can take many forms, including a written piece, comic strip, video, or slideshow. The purpose is to present the highlights of a student's experience and how they have contributed to growth and self-discovery. Narratives should be fun and informative, yet easy to read and understand.

To learn about how to earn honors credits in addition to those earned by completing the reflection assignment, contact the Honors Experiential Learning Director.

An honors student in South Korea.


Students may conduct research abroad. Because it can be difficult to navigate life in an unfamiliar international setting, it is recommended that students travel abroad via a UI-sponsored or other reputable study abroad program that will provide them with basic infrastructural support (e.g. housing, access to public transportation, embassy contact, etc.) so that they can gain familiarity. Many study abroad programs incorporate research components. It is also possible to use time in a program to familiarize oneself with the culture of the area and establish contacts, then return to complete a research project at a later time. General advice about conducting research abroad is available on our Undergraduate Research Abroad page.

An honors student in Australia.

Internships and Service-learning

Choosing a program that includes an experiential piece is a great way to extend your learning beyond traditional classroom studies. Some students work with an internship placement organization to be able to intern abroad in a field of interest where they can participate in the workplace and gain firsthand knowledge from shadowing professionals. Other students enroll in service-learning courses that include both a community service project and opportunities to study the broader context of that project's importance. General advice about internship opportunities is available on our Internships page.

An honors student in Ireland.

As an honors student at The University of Iowa, there are study abroad programs available to you all over the world. Studying abroad allows students to take classes they would likely never be able to take in the United States.

While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse the programs section of the Study Abroad website and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room (located in the Study Abroad office, 1111 University Capitol Centre).

SIT Study Abroad Programs

These programs combine classroom instruction and field study in a variety of locations. Students advance from a structured learning environment (i.e. an interdisciplinary seminar with field-based activities and a research methods course) to an independent field-based research project on a related topic of their choice. Some projects may include community volunteering or a guided practicum experience. Students who will conduct research abroad are encouraged to read our Undergraduate Research Abroad page.

UI-sponsored programs:

SIT Argentina Social Movements and Human Rights

* Some previous study of the Spanish language required.

SIT Australia Sustainability and Environmental Action

SIT Bolivia Multiculturalism, Globalization & Social Change

* Some previous study of the Spanish language required.

SIT China Community Health

SIT Ecuador Development, Politics & Languages

* Some previous study of the Spanish language required.

SIT Iceland Renewable Energy, Technology & Resource Economics

SIT India Public Health, Policy Advocacy, and Community

SIT India Sustainable Development and Social Change

SIT India Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices

SIT Jordan Engineering and Design for Sustainable Environments

SIT Jordan Geopolitics, International Relations, and the Future of the Middle East

SIT Jordan Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

SIT Madagascar Biodiversity & Natural Resource Management

* Some previous study of the French language required.

SIT Madagascar Traditional Medicine & Healthcare Systems

SIT Morocco Arabic Language & Community Service

SIT Morocco Field Studies in Journalism and New Media

SIT Morocco Multiculturalism & Human Rights

SIT Netherlands Sexuality and Gender

SIT Rwanda Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

SIT Senegal Global Security and Religious Pluralism

SIT South Africa Community Health and Social Policy

SIT South Africa Education & Social Change

SIT South Africa Multiculturalism and Human Rights

SIT South Africa Social & Political Transformation

SIT Tanzania Coastal Ecology & Natural Resource Management

SIT Tanzania Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology

SIT Uganda & Rwanda Peace & Conflict Studies

SIT Uganda Development Studies

Non-sponsored programs:

See SIT's website for additional program opportunities that explore other topics in other countries.