As our world becomes an increasingly global community, governments and cultures interact with one another more directly than ever before, and gaining an understanding of how they do so is growing in its importance. For political science majors, the opportunity to experience cultures and view political systems from multiple perspectives is invaluable.

Through study abroad, you not only have the chance to gain a richer, more immediate understanding of different governmental systems, but you will find a wealth of new perspectives on your own political environment and how it operates.

Many study abroad options are available for you. From short-term, faculty-led programs to full-year enrollment at a foreign university, there are plenty of opportunities to earn credit. You can fulfill political science requirements, take General Education classes, explore general electives in subjects that interest you, or immerse yourself in language study and internships.


Study abroad during your first year of college is not usually recommended. There are many transitions you need to make between high school and university. First year students usually concentrate on completing General Education Program requirements or exploring different disciplines by taking lower-level elective credit. You might consider studying abroad as early as the summer following your first year at the University of Iowa.


Sophomore year is a good time to study abroad for a semester or a year. You can use your time abroad to complete coursework for political science, work on general education and elective credit, or study a language.


Like your sophomore year, junior year is also a great time to study abroad. And for those in the honors program, the junior year presents an excellent time to complete fieldwork or research abroad.


While it is possible to study abroad during your senior year, it is not necessarily recommended. Your time may be best spent at the University of Iowa wrapping up your studies, working on research projects, or pulling together applications for graduate school if you intend to continue your education. Developing personal relationships with faculty members in the department can be invaluable for this purpose, and you cannot do that if you are overseas. However, if none of these situations apply to you, fall semester can present a good opportunity to go abroad.

Generally speaking, honors students should not study abroad as seniors. The senior thesis can absorb your attention for most of your final year.

General Education and Electives

Most study abroad locations offer coursework that can apply towards the General Education Program requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Humanities, Historical Perspectives, Fine Arts, Foreign Civilization & Culture, and foreign languages are some of the most common Gen-Edsthat students complete overseas. Also, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires that all majors acquire either fourth-semester competency or the departmental equivalent in a foreign language. This can be done overseas on intensive language programs in as little as one semester. Study Abroad is authorized to approve GEP courses, so please consult your study abroad advisor for information about the approval process.

Taking elective courses abroad is also exciting because you have the chance to explore a topic you might never be able to study in the U.S.

Political Science BA

Students in political science must complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of political science coursework. At least 12 of these 33 hours must be taken at the University of Iowa.

30:001 Introduction to American Politics and the four introductory courses (i.e. 30:020 Introduction to Politics through 30:070 Introduction to Political Communication): These can be taken abroad, but the credit-worthiness of each course must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Obtain a Credit Approval Form from your study abroad advisor, and take course descriptions of any courses you are considering taking abroad to your academic advisorto be certain they will meet the requirements for the political science degree.

Eighteen hours of advanced undergraduate courses: at least 12 of these hours must be earned in regular class work. These are the best courses to take abroad, as these courses can address a variety of specialized topics. The credit-worthiness of each course must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Obtain a Credit Approval Form from your study abroad advisor, and take course descriptions of any courses you are considering taking abroad to your academic advisor to be certain they will meet the requirements for the political science degree.

Note that 30:029 First Year Seminar and 30:191 Government Internship cannot be taken for political science major credit.

Political Science BS

In addition to the major requirements for the Political Science BA, you are also required to take 30:100 Understanding Political Research, either 30:193 Undergraduate Research Tutorial or 30:185 Honors Research Project, and three semesters of math or statistics courses.

30:100, 30:185, and 30:193 will count toward your 18 semester hours of 100-level courses.

For the most part, the additional courses for the BS cannot be taken abroad.


You must complete 30:180 Honors Seminar on the Study of Politics (you are encouraged to take this class as a sophomore), and at least one additional honors seminar. Honors students must also complete 30:185 Honors Research Project or 30:186 Honors Senior Thesis. 30:186 must be taken the semester prior to the one in which you graduate. (Note that this precludes study abroad during your senior year.) You must receive a grade of B or above in this nine semester hour sequence.

You will need to schedule an oral discussion of your honors thesis.

You can do thesis research abroad, though you might not get research credit at the UI—speak to your academic advisor about this.


Internships are encouraged as part of your political science study. It is possible for you to take an internship overseas, so consider the unique opportunity to do so!

Earning Credit

Your study abroad advisor will provide you with a Credit Approval Form, a document that helps structure a dialogue between you and your academic advisor regarding transferring credit from abroad toward degree requirements. Check your intended program's website or course catalog and provide your academic advisor with course descriptions of the classes abroad you propose to substitute for classes at the University of Iowa. Your academic advisor will make a decision about each proposed class and record it on the Credit Approval Form, which you will file with Study Abroad prior to your departure.

Sometimes course offerings at overseas universities change at the last minute, even after you arrive abroad—if this happens to you, be sure to alert your academic advisor by email before you register and get further guidance about transferring credit from abroad toward degree requirements. Hopefully a replacement course can be found that can earn the credit you need, but this is not guaranteed. Be as flexible as possible regarding transfer credit from study abroad.

​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 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.

Wells College Florence: Lorenzo de Medici
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Wells College facilitates enrollment for students at Lorenzo di Medici’s School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Students can choose from a wide variety of courses taught in English. Courses include International Politics, Globalization, and Social Change; Women and Equality: Policy Matters; Sustainability: Science, Political Economy and Business; Italy and the European Union; and International Conflict Resolution.



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.