International Studies

Few opportunities can be as beneficial to International Studies as immersion in a different culture. Study abroad can give you a perspective and experience of people and places like nothing else can as you study the complex connections between culture, politics, art, economics, and society. And as an International Studies major, you can even spend an entire year abroad without delaying your graduation plans.

You can also take General Education classes, explore general electives in subjects that interest you, or immerse yourself in language study and internships. Many study abroad options are available to you.  From short-term, faculty-led programs to full-year enrollment at an international university, there are plenty of opportunities to earn credit toward your International Studies “track,” (i.e., a content area that you choose), or to fulfill other International Studies requirements.

Freshmen

Your initial year at the UI might be best spent taking IS introductory and foundation courses, beginning a language, or working on General Education Program requirements. The IS introductory and foundation courses should help you choose your direction in International Studies and guide you toward your choice of an IS “track” (i.e. a content area of your choosing). Also, the transition from high school to college is a big one. Study abroad might be best left for your later years as a UI student.

Sophomores

This is an excellent time to complete General Education Program requirements overseas, begin or continue your language requirement, or begin working on your IS track.

Juniors

What applies to sophomores applies to juniors as well.

Seniors

IS majors who are doing a senior project or an honors thesis should plan to spend at least one semester of their senior year on campus to complete the project/thesis. The other semester might be spent abroad doing research for the project/thesis or finishing up the IS track(s). If you are doing a senior project or honors thesis, you must complete the international research proposal course on campus and should plan ahead appropriately if you wish to study abroad during your senior year.

General Education and Electives

Most study abroad locations will offer coursework that will count towards the General Education requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires that all majors acquire either fourth-semester competency or the departmental equivalent in a world language. If you need to complete your world language requirement, you could consider studying abroad to immerse yourself in a language and complete this requirement in as little as one semester. Study Abroad approves GEP courses, so please talk to an advisor in the Study Abroad office.

General electives can also be earned overseas. Study abroad gives you the chance to study a topic you could never study in the U.S.

IS:1000 Designing Your International Studies Major

This course must be completed at the University of Iowa and no later than the semester after a student declares the International Studies major.

IS:2000 Introductions to International Studies

This course must be completed at the University of Iowa.

Foundation Courses

These courses should be completed at the University of Iowa. It is sometimes possible to take foundation courses abroad, but the overseas course must be a direct equivalent to the UI course offered by the relevant department. (Note: Most of the courses approved for the International Studies major foundation also fulfill general education requirements.) 

Track Courses

Study abroad is an excellent way to fulfill these elements of the IS major.  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.

World Language

The International Studies major requires two semesters of world language study beyond what is required for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences general education requirement.  Study abroad programs are a great place to begin (or continue) language immersion.

Program Option A

6 s.h. of 2000+  upper-level coursework in a second track. Study abroad is a great way to complete Program Option A.

Program Option B

Students complete international research to inform a senior project or honors thesis.

IS: 3010 Creating a Proposal for International Research

This course must be completed at the University of Iowa prior to enrollment in the International Studies senior project or honors thesis. Students generally enroll in this course the semester before they complete the senior project/honors thesis; students who plan to study abroad the semester before they enroll in their senior project/honors thesis should take the project prep course before going abroad.

IS: 4990 Senior Project or IS: 4991 Honors Thesis

The senior project and honors thesis are independent research experiences designed to be completed on the University of Iowa campus under the direct supervision of your faculty mentor. If you are completing a senior project or honors thesis, you might consider studying abroad in the first semester of your senior year as a way to gather data for your research project. International Studies majors who complete senior projects or honors theses usually do so during their final semester on campus. 

Program Option C

International Studies majors who choose Program Option C must complete an approved experiential learning activity, and study abroad is an approved experiential learning activity. In addition to completing a study abroad experience, IS majors in this option complete IS:2009 World Travel: Cross-Cultural skills for International Business, Education and Service, IS:2500 Working Internationally, one approved writing course, and submit an essay to the International Studies Program in which they reflect upon how studying abroad affected their academic, professional, and personal goals.

Consider the possibility of studying environmental policy in China, interning for a Member of Parliament in London, or taking courses in Islamic Studies at the University of Granada, Spain, or the University of Jordan in Amman. Studying overseas lets you take classes you would probably never be able to take here at home. You may gain perspectives unimagined in the U.S. classroom.

The programs listed below are administered primarily by the University of Iowa and are either based at comprehensive international universities or are short-term, faculty-led programs. This page is arranged by Geographic Tracks and by Thematic Tracks.

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.

Study Abroad programs which may contribute to the International Studies BA:

Geographic Tracks:

African StudiesEast Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, European StudiesRussian, Eastern European & Eurasian Studies,
Latin American StudiesMiddle Eastern & Islamic Studies

Thematic Tracks:

DevelopmentGlobal Resources & the EnvironmentGlobal Health StudiesInternational Human RightsInternational BusinessInternational Communication & InformationGlobal South and Diasporic Studies

Geographic Tracks

African Studies

CIEE Senegal

CIEE programs in Senegal include a language and culture program, a development studies program, and a summer program in Senegalese studies. For more information, visit the CIEE website—linked to above.

East Asian Studies

CIEE China

  • CIEE China Program at Peking University 
    Choose between an Intensive Chinese Language course and an Advanced Chinese Studies course. Both offer a semester or year program of intensive Mandarin language training in the capital of the world’s most populous nation, a city that was the home and showcase of succeeding dynasties throughout the centuries. 
  • CIEE Nanjing Program
    A semester or year program offering intensive Chinese language and a Contemporary Chinese Studies seminar in a city of manageable size and great tradition that has been the country’s capital intermittently in ancient and in more recent times. This program might be of particular appeal to students interested in oral history or in women’s studies.
  • CIEE Shanghai China in a Global Context
    A semester program for students that provides an introduction to modern China through a combination of English-taught seminars and language study.

Ewha Womans University Exchange

Students of all genders are welcome to study at the world's largest female educational institute and one of the top universities in Korea for a semester, academic year, calendar year, or summer. Participation in this program does not require any prior knowledge of the Korean language, as there is a diverse course offering in English, but the program offers Korean Language courses as well.

South Asian Studies

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European Studies

Denmark

Aalborg Exchange
In addition to Communication Studies, this is an excellent option for majors in Political Science (European Union interest) and International Studies (internships with international NGOs).

Germany

Academic Year in Freiburg
This consortial program with the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan, and Michigan State offers students the opportunity to improve fluency in the German language while taking a blend of program classes and regular German university classes.

University of Dortmund Exchange
The University of Dortmund exchange offers UI students a unique blend of courses that combine language and culture courses with academic work in their major and minor subjects.

France

CIEE Paris Global Institute
The Contemporary French Studies Program at the Paris Center for Critical Studies combines an interdisciplinary academic program on contemporary French society and culture with the opportunity for students at intermediate level French to quickly develop language skills.

Greece

American College of Thessaloniki
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a courses in Greek language, Business and Technology (Computer Science & CMIS) and Arts and Sciences (English, History & International Relations, Psychology, Philosophy and Social Sciences) while studying at the American College of Thessaloniki. The campus primarily hosts Greek students as well as international students from other European countries.

Ireland

Iowa Regents Semester in Cork
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in Ireland. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Irish peers.

Spain

CIEE Alicante Summer Program
This semester or academic year program helps solidify the informal and academic language skills of advanced students of Spanish and to foster an appreciation for and understanding of issues relevant to contemporary Spain and its people.

CIEE Language in Context Program in Alicante
The goal of this program is to provide students with 0-1 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) with a solid foundation in the Spanish language. The program allows participants to improve language skills while pursuing studies focusing on Spain and Europe through topics such as history, art history, political science, and international business.

CIEE Language and Culture Program in Alicante 
Designed for students with 2-4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), this semester or academic year program helps students make rapid progress in the language as they take area studies courses related to Europe and Spain.

CIEE Language and Society Program in Seville
This one-semester program (fall or spring) is designed for intermediate-level students of Spanish interested in rapidly improving their language skills and in acquiring an understanding of the Spanish culture and its artistic, literary, historical, or political traditions.

United Kingdom

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales
The Regents Semester in Wales offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at a British university. Students are integrated academically and socially with their British peers at the University of Wales-Swansea. The program begins with a three-week course on British life and politics, after which students enroll in regular courses offered by the university.

Iowa Regents Semester in Scotland
This semester or academic year program offers undergraduates the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University of Edinburgh, one of the finest universities in the United Kingdom in one of Europe's most exciting cultural centers. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Scottish peers.

The University of Edinburgh is a venerable institution – founded in the 1850s – and has forged a special position in academia. Its national and international reputation is excellent, and it has a large, diverse, and multinational student body. It is Scotland's leading research university and is ranked 5th overall out of 115 UK institutions.

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

ACTR Language and Area Studies Program
This semester or academic year program, organized by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR), is designed especially for students with three or more years of college Russian who want to improve Russian language skills while experiencing the culture.

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

ISEP is a multilateral exchange program involving hundreds of universities around the world. The University of Iowa is a member of ISEP. Participating on an ISEP exchange program requires a high level of language proficiency and an independent, confident attitude. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

USAC Studies in the Czech Republic

This program offers students the opportunity to enroll in courses in a variety of disciplines related to Czech and to Central and Eastern European studies. No prior Czech language study is required, and most classes are taught in English. The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI students earn resident credit.

Latin American Studies

CIEE Argentina Community Public Health

This program for advanced Spanish students with strong language skills offers a unique opportunity to students by combining classroom coursework with field work. It is designed to expose students to the social inequities that impact health in various parts of Argentina and the challenges facing the global health arena along with the variety of solutions being implemented locally. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit.

USAC Montevideo (Uruguay) Program

Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies

SIT Programs

Thematic Tracks

Development

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Global Resources and the Environment

Iowa Regents Semester in Cork
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in Ireland. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Irish peers.

Lancaster University Exchange
Direct enrollment at the University of Lancaster in England is particularly suited to students prepared to take upper-level coursework in both their major and/or a secondary field of interest.

USAC Costa Rica
Three USAC programs in HerediaPuntarenas and San Ramon allow students to experience the culture and physical beauty of Costa Rica through study in specially designed courses combined with family home stay and some program travel. Students will study the Spanish language and the complexities of Chilean and contemporary Latin American societies through a wide selection of academic courses, as well as through personal interaction with the host culture.

CIEE Monteverde Tropical Ecology and Conservation Program

This program offers a combination of science courses taught in English, a Spanish language course at various levels, and travel to diverse ecosystems. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program.

SIT Programs

Global Health

USAC Community Health Science Program

Courses in the Life and Health Sciences and Culture Studies program are taught in Spanish and English (and include “Health Disparities and Promotion in Diverse Populations”). Internships (which require a minimum of four semesters of college Spanish) are in Spanish-speaking environments such as local hospitals, pharmacies, NGO’s, community/educational centers, and municipal health offices.

CIEE Summer Community Public Health 

Programs in Argentina, Botswana, the Dominican Republic, and Thailand combine coursework on issues that developing nations face in providing sustainable healthcare with a community service practicum (during which students work in government sponsored clinics or other public health-focused non-governmental organizations) or field research (guided by local public health practitioners and academics). 

SIT Study Abroad: Global Health

SIT Study Abroad global health programs combine classroom instruction and field study in a variety of locations in Africa, Latin America, China, India, Jordan, and Switzerland. 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 global health topic of their choice. Some projects may include community volunteering or a guided practicum experience.

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

MSID programs in Senegal, Ecuador, and Thailand provide students direct contact with social and economic realities of communities through classes (7 weeks), field trips, and research or an internship (6 weeks). Internship placement will be with an agency engaged in grassroots work related to your topic, such as women’s groups, small business development, environmental protection, sustainable agriculture, and public health.

India Winterim (Various Cities)

India Winterim is an intensive, three-week, field-based program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with leading social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course is based in or near one of several cities throughout India. This program is designed for undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members with related interests and experience.

Child Life Experiential Learning Program (Cape Town, South Africa)

This program is a three-week, faculty-led course based in Cape Town, South Africa. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Maitland Cottage Home, and the Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital. Students interested in health and child life are welcome to participate, regardless of major or skill level.

International Perspectives: Xicotepec

This is a three credit hour, interdisciplinary, service-learning course co-sponsored by the University of Iowa and District 6000 of Rotary International. Students enroll in International Perspectives spring semester and travel to Mexico over spring break. In collaboration with Rotarians and local community members, students will work in teams to develop and execute discipline-specific projects that address community-identified needs.

International Human Rights

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International Business

Australia

Regents Semester in Australia
Both the University of Newcastle and the University of Tasmania enjoy reputations nationally and internationally for teaching and research excellence. Both offer Iowa students a broad array of courses in the arts and humanities, sciences, social sciences, business, architecture and engineering.

Austria

Vienna Exchange Program
UI students are able to take advantage of exceptional instruction in the field of business and commerce at the Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (also known as WU). The WU offers a wide range of courses in English to students with little or no knowledge of German. Alternatively, for those with a command of the German language, WU offers more than 2,000 courses.

Greece

American College of hessaloniki
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a courses in Greek language, Business and Technology (Computer Science & CMIS) and Arts and Sciences (English, History & International Relations, Psychology, Philosophy and Social Sciences) while studying at the American College of Thessaloniki. The campus primarily hosts Greek students as well as international students from other European countries.

Ireland

Iowa Regents Semester in Cork
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in Ireland. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Irish peers.

Italy

USAC Turin Program
The program offers a high-quality educational experience in three diverse academic areas: business, architecture, and Italian studies. A 3 s.h. internship is also available.

Netherlands

Tilburg University Exchange
The exchange between the UI and Tilburg University in the Netherlands offers English-language courses in business administration (accounting, applied microeconomics, finance, production management, international marketing, and electronic commerce) as well as other subjects.

Spain

USAC Bilbao Program

This program offers a high-quality educational experience in two diverse academic areas: international business and Spanish Language studies. A 3 s.h. internship is also available.

CIEE Language and Culture Program in Alicante CIEE Language in Context Program in Alicante
The goal of this program is to provide students with 0-1 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) with a solid foundation in the Spanish language. The program allows participants to improve language skills while pursuing studies focusing on Spain and Europe through topics such as history, art history, political science, and international business.

Designed for students with 2-4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), this semester or academic year program helps students make rapid progress in the language as they take area studies courses related to Europe and Spain.

CIEE Language and Society Program in Seville
This one-semester program (fall or spring) is designed for intermediate-level students of Spanish interested in rapidly improving their language skills and in acquiring an understanding of the Spanish culture and its artistic, literary, historical, or political traditions.

United Kingdom

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales
The Regents Semester in Wales offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at a British university. Students are integrated academically and socially with their British peers at the University of Wales-Swansea. The program begins with a three-week course on British life and politics, after which students enroll in regular courses offered by the university.

International Communication & Information

Aalborg Exchange
Courses in all areas of communication – language, cross-cultural studies, media production, and international business concerns – are represented in Aalborg University programs. This is an excellent option for majors in International Studies (internships with international NGOs).

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales
The Regents Semester in Wales offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at a British university. Students are integrated academically and socially with their British peers at the University of Wales-Swansea. The program begins with a three-week course on British life and politics, after which students enroll in regular courses offered by the university.

Global South and Diasporic Studies

Iowa Regents Semester in Cork
This semester or academic year program offers students the opportunity to enroll in a wide range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in Ireland. Students are fully integrated academically and socially with their Irish peers.