The University of Iowa


There are many exciting study abroad options available for sociology majors. Imagine learning about African societies in sub-tropical Ghana, studying the sociology of conflict in the politically turbulent city of Belfast, researching Aboriginal communities in Australia, or learning about culture and communication in South Africa.

By its very nature, sociology takes place in a cultural context. There is much to be gained from understanding the history, traditions, and values of societies outside your own. Study abroad is one very exciting way to begin to discover new approaches to sociology and build professional skills.


The transition from high school to college is a big one, so we do not usually recommend that students attempt to fit study abroad into their first year at the UI. However, the summer between freshman and sophomore year can be a good time to participate in a short-term program.


Sophomore year is the perfect time to plan your overseas experience. Explore this site, drop by the Study Abroad Resource Room, and talk with both your academic and study abroad advisor to learn more and determine what programs best fit your needs.


Junior year is the most appropriate time for sociology majors to spend a semester or year abroad. Do some research on this site, visit the Study Abroad Resource Room, and schedule meetings with your academic and study abroad advisors to learn more.


Tasmania, Australia

Senior year is a busy time for sociology majors, so it is not the ideal time to study abroad. However, if you are already a junior or senior and would still like to go overseas, contact a study abroad advisor. Internships and work abroad are possible options. Also, consider summer programs for in between your junior and senior year.


Summers can be a very good time to study abroad. You can complete elective and foreign language requirements, or take a class or two that will count toward your major, all of which will lighten your course load when you return to the UI in the fall. Another option might be looking for a summer internship overseas, which looks great on a resume.

General Education

Most study abroad locations will offer coursework that will count towards the Historical Perspectives, Fine Arts, Foreign Civilization & Culture, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and/or Social Sciences General Education Program requirements. And, of course, if you need to complete the General Education Program foreign language requirement, intensive study abroad language programs allow you to do so in as little time as a semester. GEP courses taken overseas are approved by the Study Abroad office.

Sociology Major Requirements

Edinburgh, Scotland

The BA degree in sociology requires a minimum of 33-34 semester hours and the BS degree in sociology requires 45 semester hours.

Students may satisfy no more than 15 semester hours of their total hour requirement in the major with sociology courses transferred from other schools. However, some study abroad programs allow students to earn resident credit, so speak with a study abroad advisor for more information.

The sociology major requires the completion of a portfolio during your last semester, so you will need to be at the UI at this time. Know what classes you must take at the UI to graduate, keeping in mind your general education requirements, too. Please see the UI Sociology website for a breakdown of major requirements. Consult both your academic advisor and a study abroad advisor as soon as possible in this process.

In general, students should plan on completing SOC:2130, SOC:2170, and SOC:4910 at the UI. You may be able to find an overseas equivalent for your statistics requirement (STAT:1020 or higher), but keep in mind this course typically doubles as a General Education Requirement, so you will need to get the course approved as a GER as well. Talk to an advisor in Study Abroad for advice about GER course approvals. It will also be relatively easy to find overseas equivalents for your sociology electives. Just be sure to get the approval from an academic advisor in the Department of Sociology prior to your departure.

Also, if you are a double major, be sure that your requirements for that major are also being met.

If you are planning on entering the workforce directly after graduation, consider an overseas internship. This will look great on a resume, give you valuable work experience, and provide you with a great way to experience a foreign country.

Swansea, Wales

Language study is also highly marketable. If you haven't already completed your language requirements, consider taking them overseas. Or, if you have already finished these courses, think about taking more advanced language classes while abroad. Good foreign language skills are becoming increasingly important in the job market, and advanced language study is a great way to really get to know a country or culture.

The programs on this page were chosen because they offer unique cultural experiences and a diverse representation of the issues that are currently at the heart of the study of sociology. As the Department of Sociology works with Study Abroad, the specific program recommendations on this sheet may change, so check with your advisors for the latest updates.


Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The Iowa Regents Semester in Australia offers undergraduate students an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Newcastle or the University of Tasmania.

The University of Newcastle

Through Newcastle's School of Geography, Politics, and Sociology, students can choose from many exciting courses, including Social Policy in Australia, Traditional Aboriginal Society, Working with Aboriginal Communities, Melanesian Societies, Islam in Modern Society, Media and Society, Juvenile Justice, and many others.

University of Tasmania, Australia

At the University of Tasmania School of Social Sciences, students can choose from many courses:

  • Australian Society
  • Sociology of Youth
  • Crime and Criminal Justice
  • Love, Family and Sexuality: East-West Comparison
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Social Problems and Social Policy
  • Gender and Power


India Winterim

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 in the program is led by one or more UI faculty and based in one of several locations throughout India. The courses offered rotate each year and might not always be relevant to sociology majors. You are encouraged to take "Empowering Women and Children: Innovations in Sustainable Healthcare and Poverty" (led by faculty in the Department of Sociology) when available, though other courses in the program may also be relevant.


Regents Semester in Ireland

University College Cork (UCC)

Cork, Ireland

At UCC, students can choose from classes such as Policy, Society and Economics, Community Care, Social Policy, Sociology and Society, Social Policy and Social Practice, Welfare and Social Services, Society, Welfare and Economics, and Community and Social Institutions. For more information, visit the UCC Department of Sociology homepage.

United Kingdom

Crime and Justice in Britain

This is a three-week summer course led by UI faculty every other summer. The first week of class is held at the UI in late May, and students travel to Edinburgh and London for the remaining two weeks. Credit earned through this program will transfer to course SOC:4900 "Special Topics in Sociology" and can be used as follows: as elective credit for any major, to fulfill credit requirements for the Criminology Track in the sociology major, or to fulfill credit requirements for the sociology major in general. This course provides 3 s.h. of University of Iowa resident credit.

Iowa Regents Semester in Scotland

University of Edinburgh

At Edinburgh, sociology is studied as a part of the School of Social and Political Studies. The Department was started in 1964, and its faculty and students conduct research in the areas of national identity, identity, economics, sociological theory, South Asia, and technology.

Regents Semester in Wales

University of Wales - Swansea

The Department of Public Health, Policy, and Social Sciences at Swansea offers many classes that might be of interest to sociology majors, including:

  • Classical Social Theory
  • Historical Sociology
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Labor, Power and Inequality
  • Employment & Urban Economies in the Third World
  • Sociology of Gender

USAC University of Brighton

University of Iowa sociology students can choose from a variety of pre-approved classes, including Contemporary British Culture and Society, The Sociology of Deviance and Control, Gender Issues and Physical Culture, and Social Psychology.