For students of world politics, study abroad can be one of the most important experiences of their academic career. The International Relations major is designed to provide knowledge from a wide range of disciplines regarding the historical, political, economic, and cultural ties between nations. Study abroad can provide you with the unique opportunity to experience those relationships firsthand. In addition to studying foreign cultures in the classroom, you will interact with people of other cultures and develop international connections of your own. This will broaden your worldview and give you a more personal stake in the well-being of international relations.

Students who earn an International Relations degree often find jobs working for NGOs, intelligence organizations, multinational corporations, news organizations, think tanks, and more. Students who have studied abroad will have a competitive edge when applying for these positions, especially when seeking work in a country where they have lived. Many International Relations students pursue graduate degrees on their way to these career, and study abroad experience is also a valuable distinction when applying for graduate programs.

After reading through this MAP, make sure to head over to our Steps to Studying Abroad page to learn about our Discover Study Abroad sessions and how to start planning your time abroad. Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date. Be in touch with a Study Abroad advisor and your advisor in the Political Science department early in the planning process.

For more information about studying abroad as an International Relations major, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

While you can study abroad as early as the summer after your first year, the second semester of your second year can be a good time to study abroad, as well as either semester during your third year. Semester-long programs are encouraged regardless of when you study abroad. If you plan to conduct research for your senior paper while abroad, the summer after your third year can be a good time to study abroad. Whenever you plan to study abroad, be sure that you are on track to graduate when you return. Your academic advisor can help you understand how study abroad can fit into your academic timeline by customizing a Sample Plan on MyUI.

Summer and winter programs can be good options, especially for double majors who do not have time to study abroad during the school year. While you might not be completing coursework that applies to your major, you can take courses to fulfill General Education Program and World Languages requirements. More information about fulfilling academic requirements abroad as an International Relations major is available on the Academics tab of this MAP.

Before you enroll in courses abroad, be sure to consult with your International Relations advisor and a Study Abroad advisor to discuss which of your academic requirements can be taken abroad for credit.

Double majors should be sure to check out the Major Advising Page (MAP) corresponding with their second major, as there are likely study abroad options relevant to both majors.

Major Requirements

Whichever International Relations track you choose, there are plenty of opportunities for you to fulfill your major requirements while abroad. Consult with a departmental advisor before your departure to discuss which overseas courses can apply towards your degree.

If you are a B.S. candidate, keep in mind that you are required to take a sequence of mathematics or statistics courses. These courses are best taken in the U.S. since direct equivalents will be difficult to find abroad.

International Relations majors are required to take a series of core courses before choosing an emphasis area. These courses can usually be fulfilled abroad. You are also required to take a senior seminar during which you will complete a final paper. While this course needs to be taken at the UI during your senior year, you are encouraged to conduct research abroad – most likely during the summer before your senior year – to inform your final paper.

The department will review coursework from other colleges or universities for credit toward the International Relations major. However, students must complete at least 18 s.h. of coursework for their major at the University of Iowa.

General Education Courses

International Relations majors, especially those who are in their second year at UI, are encouraged to fulfill general education requirements abroad. The World Languages requirement, in particular, lends itself to study abroad. Most study abroad locations offer coursework that will count as part of your general education requirements. For more information, check out our General Education Program MAP.

Honors Courses

You may be able to receive International Relations Honors credit for courses taken abroad. For more information, consult with the Political Science Honors advisor. Keep in mind that if you are pursuing University Honors, it is possible to earn an Honors Commendation for 12 hours of Honors coursework taken abroad. For more information, please refer to the Political Science Honors page.

Minor Courses

International Relations minors may be able to receive minor credit abroad. Consult with your departmental advisor about which courses may be fulfilled abroad. Refer to the Minor in Political Science webpage for more information.

The Political Science department allows up to 3 s.h. of transfer credit towards a minor. Check with your faculty advisor to confirm transfer credit limits. This limitation does not apply to study abroad programs that grant resident credit.


Consider taking advantage of an internship for credit while abroad; it is a wonderful way to help ease the transition into post-academic life. International Relations majors are encouraged to serve as interns, particularly for government-related organizations. More information can be found on our internships page.

International Relations majors are encouraged to think of study abroad as more than learning a foreign language. Although speaking multiple languages is a valuable skill, some of the best global citizens are those who can empathize with peoples of other cultures and view their own identity as one of many overlapping cultures.

Funding your trip abroad

Various scholarships are available for UI students planning to study abroad. Information about these scholarships is available on the scholarships webpage. Additionally, International Relations students may be eligible for departmental scholarships. More information can be found at the Political Science Department scholarships webpage. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with a faculty advisor and a Study Abroad advisor about financing their study abroad experience.

You can start your search with the recommended programs below, but feel free to browse our program database or contact Study Abroad ( for other possibilities. The specific programs recommended below may change, so check with your major advisor and Study Abroad for the latest updates.

All students who study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Each program listed has coursework taught in English unless otherwise stated. In addition, each program has specific eligibility requirements that may include GPA, prerequisites, and/or class standing. Please see the specific program page on the Study Abroad website at



ISEP Sweden: Linnaeus University
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Linnaeus University has two campuses in Southern Sweden, but it is at the Växjö (pronounced Vex-sure) where UI students can study political science. Classes are taught in English. Courses include European Union Politics, Democratization Studies, Welfare State and Social Policy in Sweden, Democratization in the World, Political Analysis, and Swedish Politics for International Students.


ISEP Finland: Tampere University
Fall, Spring

Located in a region renowned for pristine nature and thousands of lakes, Tampere is Finland’s most sought-after city in which to live and study. Through their bachelor’s program in politics, students have several course options. Courses include Civil Society and Forms of Political Participation; Comparative European and Nordic Politics; Foreign Policy; International Society and Diplomacy; European Union’s External Relations and Regional Cooperation; and International Institutions, Human Rights, and Conflict Resolution.

United Kingdom

Regents Semester in Scotland
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

The Regents Semester in Scotland program allows Iowa students to spend a semester or academic year at the University of Edinburgh. Students experience campus life in Edinburgh, fully enrolled in classes with their Scottish peers and living with students from Scotland and around the world in local student accommodations. Edinburgh’s Political Science department allows Iowa students to explore local, regional, and international politics and relations through coursework from the introductory to advanced level. Courses include Comparative Politics in a Globalized World, Democracy and Its Discontents, Global Security, Political Economy of Latin America, and The Politics of the UK Constitution.

Lancaster Exchange Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Students enroll at Lancaster University, living and studying on campus with their British peers while fully immersed in the local culture. Lancaster’s Political Science department is ranked among the top in the UK, offering courses examining politics and international relations from the British perspective. Courses include Power in British Politics: The Role of the Prime Minister, Peace Studies in Action, Russian International Politics, Politics of Global Danger, and Race and American Politics.


IES Freiburg European Union
Fall, Spring, Summer

Through the IES Freiburg European Union program, Iowa students can take courses that explore European politics, economics, business, international relations, and related topics through an in-depth and hands-on approach. The program includes extensive excursions around Germany and to the UK, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and a variety of other locations around Europe. English is the primary language of instruction, but courses taught in German are also available. Courses include EU Studies Integrative Seminar; International Relations and the EU; Migration, Ethnic Minorities, and Multiculturalism in Europe; Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice; Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation in Europe; and Transition to Market Economies in Central and Eastern Europe.


SIT Switzerland International Studies & Multilateral Diplomacy
Fall, Spring

Students study international diplomacy and learn how countries solve global problems. Geneva is home to many different major international organizations such as the World Health Organization, Red Cross, United Nations, and World Trade Organization, allowing students numerous opportunities to partner on projects and assignments. Program participants take excursions to Paris, France, to visit the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and to Brussels, Belgium, to view the European Union headquarters. Courses include International Relations and Multilateral Diplomacy; International Security, Peace, and Stability; French; Research Methods and Ethics; and an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program.


CIEE Paris Open Campus
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Students take courses in international relations and political science in English while studying in Paris. Two courses are taken during each six-week block, and UI students participate in all three blocks for 18 semester hours. Students choose one of six coursework “tracks,” although all courses are open to all students. Courses for the international relations and political science track include Contemporary Controversies in International Relations; Intercultural Communications and Leadership; Politics of Religion; Comparative Politics Theory, Methodology, and Practice; Directed Independent Research; Internship Seminar; and Service-Learning Project.


IES Barcelona
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

IES Barcelona offers students the opportunity to deepen their study of political science and international relations by exploring themes related to the Spanish and European experience. In addition to a required Spanish language course, students can take English-taught courses that align with their major. Relevant courses include The American Century: US Policy in Western Europe, the Arab World and the West, Politics in Spain, and Democracy in Western Europe.

CIEE Seville International Business & Culture
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Through this unique program, students study in Seville with the support services of CIEE while enrolling primarily in courses at a local university, Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO). After completing an intensive Spanish course in beginning through intermediate level at CIEE, students can choose from a wide variety of courses taught in English at UPO. Studying alongside other international students at UPO, participants can take courses such as US-European Relations Since World War II; Contemporary Spanish Politics; The Road to Democracy in Greece, Spain, and Portugal; and Historical Ties Between Spain and the US. Students with higher Spanish proficiency may have access to additional UPO courses taught in Spanish. 


IES Rome
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Students take an Italian language class and can select from a variety of area studies courses. IES Rome offers students the opportunity to intern and earn credit through an accompanying academic seminar. Courses include Contemporary Italian Politics; Italy and the Mediterranean World; The Wall: Borders, Violence, and Separation in the Contemporary World; Terrorism: Strategies of Destruction; Politics and Philosophy of Power in the Land of Machiavelli (Spring); and Valuing Diversity? Italian Contemporary Immigration and Integration Policies.

Latin America


USAC Studies in Chile
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

Through USAC’s program in Chile, students will discover the amazing international and political past and present of this South American nation. The program includes field trips to nearby cities and opportunities for students to attend seminars in politics and economics, volunteer, and intern. Courses in English include Chilean History; International and Cross-Cultural Reporting; International Political Economy and Business: Globalizing Latin America; Introduction to Politics in Latin America; Latin America and Its Cultures; Peace, Conflict, and Democracy in Latin America; and International Human Rights.



TEAN Australia: University of New South Wales
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

At UNSW’s Social Sciences department, the study of politics and international relations focuses on the complexities of government and global politics. The result of studying politics and international relations is an intricate understanding of the forces that mold political development and our world at large. Courses include Colonialism: Resistance, Justice, and Transition; Diplomacy and Statecraft: Past, Present, Futures; Globalization and Governance; Who Gets What? The Global Politics of Inequality; Manias, Panics and Crashes: Global Political Economy in an Era of Crisis; and Security in Asia: Politics Meets Economics.

Iowa Regents Semester in Australia: University of Tasmania (UTas)
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

With a strong reputation in politics and policy relations research, UTas offers a variety of courses that develop students’ advanced research knowledge and skills, helping students understand issues associated with politics and policy theory and practice. Courses are taught by experts, and students gain perspective from guest lecturers and forums. Courses include Human Rights and Global Justice, Marine and Antarctic Politics, The Great Powers, Climate Politics and Policy, and Global Environmental Governance.

TEAN Australia: Bond University
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

Studying international relations and political science at Bond University occurs in a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment. Students bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring that they are equipped with knowledge and dynamic skills that are transferrable to a range of career paths. Courses include Australian Public and Foreign Policy; The United Nations; Diplomacy: Theory and Practice; Political Philosophy: Freedom, Justice and the State; and Australian Government and Politics.

New Zealand

TEAN New Zealand: University of Otago
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

The Politics department at University of Otago is a vibrant community of experts from many different countries who take students and their interests seriously. The Department of Politics is arranged in four fields: International Relations, New Zealand Politics, Political Theory, and Comparative Politics. Courses include Interventions, Peacekeeping and the Global South, International Security in a Globalizing World, Nationalism and Identity, Power and Liberty, and Contemporary Issues in Global Politics.

TEAN New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

Through courses at Victoria University, students can explore how politics really operate. Students discover the big concepts at the heart of the world's governments and parliaments and the real-life workings of governing bodies in New Zealand and overseas. Courses include International Organizations: Change and Continuity; Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Elections; Governing Divided Societies; Cyber Power in International Relations; and International Relations Theory: World Order and Its Critics.


South Korea

TEAN South Korea: Korea University
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year, Summer

TEAN facilitates direct enrollment for students at Korea University. UI students enroll in classes in the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Established in 1905, Korea University is a member of the prestigious group of SKY universities in Korea, similar to the Ivy League in the U.S. Their traditional campus is located three miles from the center of Seoul. Courses include International Relations: Southeast Asian Politics, Comparative Political Systems, International Law and International Relations, Political Culture, Political Economy of International Trade Relations, Foreign Policy Decision Making Process, International Relations of East Asia, and Understanding Korean Politics.

Africa and the Middle East


SIT Jordan: Geopolitics, International Relations & the Future of the Middle East
Fall, Spring

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has long played a pivotal role in the geopolitics and international relations of the Middle East. Students gain an understanding of the traditional values of a country with history dating back to ancient times while delving into regional politics and social change. Courses include Geopolitics, International Relations, The Future of the Middle East, The Psychology of Peace, Arabic language, Research Methods and Ethics, and either an Internship or an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program.


SIT Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration, Development & Peace Building
Fall, Spring

Students study the history of Rwanda’s genocide and the reconciliation and peace-building process the country experienced. Other key topics of the program include post-conflict reconstruction and economic development in Rwanda and Uganda, the role of transnational justice, forced migration, complex humanitarian emergencies, and refugee settlements. Students will also travel to Uganda as part of the program. Courses include Anatomy of Genocide and Intra-State Conflict, Contemporary Global Development, Research Methods and Ethics, and either an Internship or an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program.