Religious studies majors are encouraged to take religious studies courses, language courses, and courses toward any second majors or minors while abroad. Most importantly, you are encouraged to immerse yourself in the culture of the area, attending to the relationship between local religion, history, and contemporary life. All of the programs below offer courses relevant to religious studies majors and are in locations with rich religious histories.
If you would like to take language courses while abroad, information about language-intensive study abroad programs is available under the “Programs” tab of Study Abroad’s General Education advising page. You can also search our programs database (using the language filter) for information about language programs. Also keep in mind that a few of the programs hosted by CIEE—the Council on International Educational Exchange—listed below offer language courses in addition to religious studies and cultural studies courses.
If you are interested in taking courses related to your second major or minor while abroad, see the advising page corresponding with your second discipline.
In addition to the programs listed here, students are encouraged to browse our programs database and consult our Steps to Studying Abroad advising page. You are also encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Resource Room (located in the International Programs Office, 1111 University Capitol Centre), where a peer assistant can help you research study abroad programs. Once you have a few programs in mind, consult with a study abroad advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in your department.
Programs in Africa & the Middle East
Programs in Asia
Programs in Europe
Programs in Australia
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Archaeology in Israel
Students participate in archaeological field research during this six-week summer program in Biblical Tel Azekah. Participants earn six credits, three for the course, CLSA 4501 “Archaeological Methodology and Field Research,” and three for CLSA 4502 “Archaeology and The History of Judea.” This program is led by UI faculty. Local tours and activities are included in the program cost.
CIEE Jordan: Language and Culture
Participants take classes at the Princess Sumaya University of Technology with other CIEE students for a semester or the academic year. You are required to take four courses per semester (two language courses and two area studies courses). Arabic language courses are offered at all levels. Relevant area studies courses include an archaeology course, an international relations course, a seminar on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and two courses on Islam. All courses are English-taught. Participants staying for the academic year may also complete an optional internship. In the past, program excursions have included trips to Petra and Wadi Rum.
SIT Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression
Students stay with host families in Accra, Kumasi, and an Ashanti village (for approximately two weeks each) and attend lectures at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, and at other appropriate locations. The coursework focuses on religious diversity in Ghana and the relationship between society, the arts, and religion in different Ghanaian communities. Students also take a Twi language course and a research methods and ethics seminar meant to guide them in completing an independent research project. This program is for the fall semester. Excursions are included in the program fee, including a trip to the Volta Region where students witness religious experiences at shrines and attend local performing arts events.
SIT India: Himalayan Buddhist Art and Architecture
During this six-week summer program, students study Buddhist art and architecture while traveling through the Indian Himalaya and onto the Tibetan plateau in India. Learning takes place in classrooms—including the Central Institute of Buddhism Studies in Choglamsar—monasteries, temples, meadows, and on mountainsides. Toward the end of the program, students complete an independent study culminating in a final paper.
SIT Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change
This program is based in Bedulu, Bali. Participants take four courses at several institutions in the area: a seminar on art, religion, and social change in Indonesia; a Bahasa Indonesia language course (offered at all levels); a research methods and ethics course, and an independent study. Examples of past independent study topics are listed on the program website. The program includes trips to important historic and cultural sites where students witness temple festivals and other religious rituals, performances, and local ceremonies.
American College of Thessaloniki
Participants directly enroll in the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) with both local and international students. You can enroll for a semester, the academic year, or for a 4-week summer session. Typically, 2-3 humanities courses with a focus on religion are offered each semester. E.g., “Topics of Mythology and Religion in the Classical World.” Greek history and international relations courses are also offered. You can look up current course offerings here. All courses (except language courses) are taught in English.
IES Study Rome: Language & Area Studies
Participants take five to six courses per semester at the IES Abroad Rome Center, including a required Italian language course (offered at all levels) and four or five area studies courses. Several religious studies courses are offered. For course listings and descriptions, click on the “Academics” tab of the program’s web page (linked to above). All courses are taught in English except the Italian language courses. Program participants may also elect to complete a for-credit internship. Several optional field trips are organized each semester—e.g. trips to Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast—and the program fee covers one of these.
IES Rome, “From Pontius Pilate to Theodosius: The Advent of Christianity”
This is a 4-week program offered in January. Participants take one course, “From Pontius Pilate to Theodosius: The Advent of Christianity,” which is taught in English at the IES Abroad Rome Center. The program incorporates several course-related excursions to sites in and around Rome—e.g., the Coliseum, the Vatican Museums, and the Arch of Constantine. For a detailed course description, see the program website.
CIEE Seville Liberal Arts Program
This semester or academic year program is designed to help students achieve fluency in written and spoken Spanish as they study a wide variety of courses in the humanities and social sciences and involve themselves as fully as possible in the Seville community.
Participants complete an intensive Spanish language course for the first two weeks of the program, and then begin their course of study—4 courses taken at the CIEE Study Center in Seville and/or at local universities. Several courses relevant to religious studies majors are offered each semester. Current course offerings are listed here (scroll to the bottom of the page). The language of instruction is Spanish. In addition to completing coursework, participants also have opportunities to volunteer and to travel. Also note that the University of Iowa offers resident credit for this program.
CIEE Summer: Religious Diversity in Europe (Paris and Seville)
This summer program combines two four-week sessions, one in Paris and one in Seville. Students take one course per session, “Religious Diversity in Europe” while in Paris and “Three Cultures in Spain: Jews, Christians, and Muslims” while in Seville. Courses are taught in English at the CIEE Study Center in each city. Additionally, the program organizes several excursions for students. In the past, these have included trips to Dijon, Marseille, and Granada, among other destinations.
CIEE Society, Conflict, and Peace in Northern Ireland
Participants enroll in courses at Queen’s University in Belfast for a semester or for the academic year. You must take the required CIEE course, “Politics in Sociology of Northern Ireland,” and then you choose four courses from the Queen’s University catalog. Several courses relevant to religious studies majors are offered. See the program website for a detailed list. In addition to coursework, students have the opportunity to participate in several excursions, including trips to Dublin and the ancient city of Derry. Volunteering and internship opportunities are also available.
Iowa Regents Semester in Australia: University of Newcastle
Participants directly enroll in courses at the University of Newcastle for a semester (February-July or July-November). Several religious studies courses are offered. For a full list of course offerings and descriptions, see the course catalogue. (Note that the “Religion and Theology” course code is RELT.)