group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Learning Abroad in Economics

    “Nothing else in your college experience will expand your horizons—truly educate you—as much as a year of study abroad. See me if in doubt; go if you can.”
    —Ed Foster, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics

    “Studying abroad is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in college. You will see exciting places, gain new perspectives, make great friends, and grow personally and academically. Get out, see the world!”
    —Ben Hood, Undergraduate Alum, Department of Economics

    Study Abroad Process

    This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

    Academic Planning

    Review the following suggestions from the Department of Economics before beginning your study abroad research.

    Economics is a very broad discipline that encompasses a wide variety of theoretical and empirical lines of inquiry. The Department of Economics encourages you to explore this variety through study abroad. Wherever you decide to go, consider taking courses of local, national, or regional interest, and courses that offer perspectives that are new and different to you.

    Why Study Abroad in Economics?

    • Understand world economic issues.
    • Learn about different schools of thought in economics.
    • Build your résumé with an internship abroad by expanding your cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills preparing you to work in an increasingly diverse and international workplace.
    • Expose yourself to new perspectives on international issues.
    • Enhance your critical thinking skills.
    • Gain confidence in yourself personally and professionally
    • Prepare yourself for a life of engagement as an effective global and local citizen.
    • Whether you take courses at a university or a study abroad center, do field work, or engage in an internship abroad, you will gain valuable new perspectives. Learning about different approaches to economic issues will help you form your own ideas and shape your insights about current economic problems.

    Set goals and plan for results

    • Begin planning at least six months and preferably a year or more in advance of your study abroad. Some programs and many scholarships have deadlines long in advance of the study abroad. It is never too early to start planning.
    • There are countless excellent study abroad programs available for economics students. The best one for you depends on what you want. The Economics department does not recommend specific programs.
    • Prioritize your goals. Consider your long-term academic and professional goals, as well as your on-campus degree requirements.
    • Give yourself time to research and talk to advisers and students who have studied abroad.
    • Talk to the Undergraduate Adviser in the Department of Economics. A schedule of walk-in hours is available online. Discuss the time frame and coursework that will fit best with your academic program.

    Identify your professional goals

    • You can choose from a wide variety of programs. Look for options that fit your course of study and your career goals.
    • If you are interested in a business career, consider programs that include internships and/or offer courses about local or regional economic issues.
    • If you are considering graduate study in economics, look for universities that offer courses in the field in which you are interested, and courses that expose you to new methodologies.

    Consider timing and length

    • There is no “best” time for everyone, although liberal arts students often find the sophomore or junior year easiest.
    • Introductory short-term programs and language study can be great for freshmen or sophomores.
    • Senior-year study abroad, although common, may require additional planning. When must you start your major project? When are graduate school applications due? Do you need to take exams given only at particular times of year, or only in the U.S.? Will the grades from your study abroad arrive in time for graduation?
    • Consider more than one learning experience abroad.

    Pay special attention to program type

    Format and teaching approach are every bit as important as location and length. Consider your learning style, your educational and personal goals, and department advice.

    University Study programs

    Become a temporary foreign student at a host university. Educational systems vary from country to country. Taking courses in a host-country institution permits you to learn about these differences first-hand, as well as giving you access to a wider range of courses than in other types of programs.

    Study Abroad Centers

    Take classroom courses tailor-made for non-native students. Many such centers also offer opportunities to engage in field study and/or to take courses as a local university.

    Field Study programs

    Programs built around internships, community engagement, field research, interview projects, etc., give you an opportunity to get involved in host-country life outside the classroom.

    Work on your economics major or minor

    • Unless you plan to do a short-term program as a stepping stone to a longer study abroad experience, we recommend that you complete intermediate micro and macroeconomics (Econ 3101 and 3102) on campus at UMTC before you study abroad.
    • As you plan your course of study, incorporate coursework abroad. You are especially encouraged to fulfill the economics major elective requirements through study abroad. The Department of Economics has screened a number of courses that may be used to fulfill major requirements. Many courses may also be applied toward more specific major requirements. All will require advance consultation with the Undergraduate Adviser (see Once you have selected a program, below).
    • In general, the Economics department grants credit for an internship only if it involves significant academic work. A free-standing internship will require you to register for a U of M directed study project under a faculty member; consult first with your proposed faculty supervisor and then with the Undergraduate Adviser. A credit-bearing internship done within a study abroad program, on the other hand, need not entail separate U of M registration but will require departmental approval if you wish to apply it to the major.
    • If you wish to apply an internship from a study abroad program to the major, seek information on the program's academic requirements for internship credit. Share that information the Undergraduate Adviser and ask the adviser about department policies concerning internships, including the type of documentation you will need to bring back with you (for example, analytical papers or associated research projects). Be prepared to do additional work if necessary to bring the internship up to the department's standards.
    • If your study abroad program includes opportunities for research, consider designing a project that will meet not only the program’s standards for credit but also the department’s standards for a senior project. Consult with department faculty on your tentative research ideas well before departure.
    • Some study abroad programs include a “country/area studies” Econ course. Since Econ majors can only count one “country/area studies” course towards their major, students who are considering study abroad may want to refrain from taking UMTC Econ “country/area studies” courses (Econ 3960, 4311, 4313, and 4315).
    • Students who are pursuing the BA in Economics can study abroad during any term. Econ majors who are pursuing the BAQ and BS versions of the major will need to plan more carefully. Because of the relationships between mathematics, statistics, and econometrics courses, summer is often the best term for study abroad for these students.
    • For some students, especially transfer students, it can be important to choose a program that yields resident credit. (Transfer credits may constitute no more than fifty percent of the upper division coursework for a CLA major.)
    • Each of the versions of the Econ major has residency requirements regarding 4XXX and 5XXX-level classes. In general majors can take two of their major options or their econometrics course and one of their major options while abroad. These limits to don’t apply to prerequisites or courses from Mathematics and Statistics.

    Develop or improve second language skills

    • Whether you pursue a career in business or in academics, a second language makes you a more competitive candidate for any position. Successful completion of coursework or an internship in that language is a great demonstration of your proficiency
    • If you are at the beginning or intermediate level, consider a program where you can study a language and be surrounded
      by it
    • If you already have reasonably advanced language skills, consider a program taught in the language.
    • See your CLA adviser and plan your language study carefully, so that you do not find yourself out of sequence on your return to the campus.
    • For more on language learning, see Additional Options to Consider at the end of the Programs section below.

    Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

    • Advance planning can help you apply study abroad credits to many of the University’s Liberal Education requirements.
    • Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad and plan your coursework accordingly.
    • Consult the U Credit Abroad Search for classes that have been approved for Liberal Education. If a course is not listed, it may still meet a liberal education requirement. We encourage you to submit your course(s) for evaluation.

    Once you have selected a program

    • Use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure and document your consultation both in the department and with your CLA academic adviser.
    • Once you have chosen the courses that you want to take abroad (always choosing more courses than you intend to take), meet with the Undergraduate Adviser—ideally at least two months before departure. Bring course descriptions for classes you would like to take abroad and your ASPA.
    • The Department of Economics has screened a number of courses that may be used to fulfill major requirements. Consult the Undergraduate Adviser about these courses.
    • For tentative pre-approval of a study abroad course that has not been pre-screened, provide a syllabus or course description to the Undergraduate Adviser for review. 
    • Students sometimes find that the courses they had planned to take are not available or their schedule conflicts with others, so it is best to seek pre-approval for more courses than you will actually be able to take.
    • Meet similarly in other departments for additional majors or minors.
    • To complete the APSA process you will also need a signature from a college adviser.

    While you are abroad

    • If you become interested in a course that was not included on your APSA but might be pertinent to your major or minor, gather as much information as you can about the course and then consult by email with the Undergraduate Adviser before committing yourself.
    • Similarly, feel free to request feedback from the Undergraduate Adviser about the suitability of a proposed internship once you have more information about it.
    • Hold onto course materials (e.g., syllabus, exams, papers, reports, and at least a photocopied table of contents of any key textbook) and bring them home with you.

    After you return

    • Make an appointment with the Undergraduate Adviser to review overseas courses for which you wish to obtain final approval for use toward Economics major or minor. If you have other majors or minors you will need to do the same in those departments as well.
    • Bring to that appointment the course materials from the study abroad courses you want to petition, plus a brief explanation of why you think the course should be counted towards your Econ major or minor.
    • Check to see if your study abroad coursework has been posted to your U of M transcript. If your study abroad courses were evaluated and approved for liberal education requirements and completion of these requirements is not reflected on your APAS report, please contact the Learning Abroad Center.
    • Be aware that courses taken abroad may require many weeks, or even months, to get accepted and posted at the University of Minnesota. Times vary with programs. Let the Learning Abroad Center know well in advance if impending graduation or other special circumstances lend particular urgency to your case.


    College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students



    Africa and the Middle East


    MSID–International Development in Kenya

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. A chance to reflect on economic theory and grassroots realities.
    • Past internship placements include women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, environmental issues, urban education, community development, others.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall or Spring semester. 


    MSID–International Development in Senegal

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. A chance to reflect on economic theory and grassroots realities.
    • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, health clinics, community centers, community economic development, and many more.
    • Instruction is in French. Fall or Spring semester. 



    Study & Intern in Buenos Aires

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Explore the urban landscape of Buenos Aires, a city of 13 million.
    • Take Spanish language courses at any level along with area studies courses. Sample area studies courses include Latin American Economy-The Argentine Perspective and Politics & Society in Latin America.
    • Area studies courses taught in English; no prior Spanish required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

    Universidad de Buenos Aires (available through IFSA Argentina)

    • Program type: University Study (mostly)
    • Huge, prestigious institution in the Argentine capital (population 14 million), one of South America’s great port cities. Opportunities also for internships or community service.
    • Sample economics courses: Structure of the Argentine Economy; Economic & Social History of Argentina; Epistemology of EconomicsHistory of Economic Thought.
    • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES) or 5 semesters (IFSA) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.


    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (available through IES Chile or IFSA Chile—Santiago)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Santiago-based university especially strong in social sciences. A wide variety of economics courses offered, including a number on development economics and Latin American economies.
    • Both sponsors require one language course and one center-based area studies course. IES offers more center-based courses (including internships) than IFSA.
    • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES) or 5 semesters (IFSA) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.


    MSID—International Development in Ecuador

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. A chance to reflect on economic theory and grassroots realities.
    • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community economic development, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
    • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or Spring semester. 

    Asia and Oceania


    Monash University (available through Arcadia Australia or IFSA Australia)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Located in a suburb of Australia’s second city, Melbourne, Monash is one of Australia’s largest, most comprehensive, and most prestigious universities.
    • Department of Economics offers a number of courses on the Asian and Australian economies and the connections among them. Several economic history courses are also available.
    • Fall or spring semester, calendar year or academic year.

    Study & Intern in Sydney

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Area studies program with a multidisciplinary curriculum focused on Australia, including International Business & Trade: Australia & the Pacific Rim.
    • Program centerpiece for most economics majors is an outstanding internship option (6 credits in semester program, 3 or 6 credits in the summer program); an astounding variety of placements possible.
    • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

    University of Wollongong (available through Arcadia

    • Program type: University Study
    • Located in a seaside city of about 250,000 just south of Sydney, Wollongong is a highly international university, with about 20% of its students from other countries.
    • Courses from the standard economics curriculum are offered, including a number of courses in quantitative methods.
    • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.


    IES Japan—Tokyo Society & Culture

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Multidisciplinary language and area studies (mostly social science) program for students with little or no Japanese language background. Includes course on The Contemporary Economy of Japan.
    • Extensive experiential learning opportunities include field trips, cultural events, volunteer options. Especially recommended: participant observer field placement with a Japanese organization. 
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Japanese is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

    Exchange in Tokyo, Japan—Hitotsubashi University

    • Program type: University Study
    • Experience Japanese life in the vibrant and dynamic city of Tokyo on this affordable and immersive exchange program.
    • A broad range of economics courses offered.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Japanese is required. Spring semester or academic year.

    South Korea

    University Study in South Korea: Korea University 

    • Program type: University Study
    • Korea University, located in Seoul, teaches many courses in English as a strategy to position Koreans for the global workforce; study abroad students take courses alongside Korean students.
    • An extremely broad range of economics course offered, many focused specifically on Korea or Asia.
    • Many courses taught in English; no prior Korean is required. Some additional courses available in Korean for students sufficiently proficient. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    MSID—International Development in Thailand

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and internship/research further enrich cultural immersion. Based in Chiang Mai but with internship options outside the city.
    • Internship placements have focused on such areas as arts and culture, sustainability and the environment, public health, education and literacy, entrepreneurship and alternative economies, and social service.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai language is required. Fall or Spring semester. 



    IES Austria—European Studies and Culture

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study)
    • Large language and area studies program with an extremely broad curriculum. Courses on Austria Central and Eastern Europe, and Europe as a whole. Includes several economics courses.
    • Features include internships and access to the University of Vienna, a respected university with a strong economics department.
    • IES courses are taught in English; no prior German required. Internships and University of Vienna courses require two years of prior German. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.


    Study Abroad in Denmark

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
    • Sample course offerings: Development Economics; Environmental Economics; Health Economics & Health Policy in Europe.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    IES France—Paris Business & International Affairs

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center (plus University Study)
    • Program permits you to combine courses through the IES Center with university courses taught in French at the Institute Catholique, whose disciplines include economics.
    • English-taught IES courses include Political Economy of European Integration and International Political Economy, plus many in business, international relations, etc. Internships also available.
    • No prior French required for program or its IES courses; two years of prior French required for Institute Catholique courses or internships. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    Université Paul Valéry through Language & Culture in Southern France

    • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
    • Paul Valéry’s Faculty of Economic Sciences offers courses in economic history, methodology, economic geography, and more.
    • Students in the University Study track may also take language and culture courses from the Center track, although these include no economics offerings. Internships are also available.
    • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for the center track, two for university study track. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.


    IES European Union—Freiburg

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Based in Freiburg, a picturesque medieval university town at the foot of the Black Forest, this program focuses on the European Union: economics, politics, and cultural and social issues.
    • Includes visits to major EU institutions and international organizations in other countries as well as to new EU member states in Eastern Europe. Internship opportunities in Freiburg or Brussels.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior German is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

    University of Freiburg

    • Program type: University Study
    • Highly rated university located in an extraordinarily picturesque medieval city, and center of environmental activism, at the foot of the Black Forest near the French and Swiss borders.
    • The university’s Faculty of Economics offers many courses in the standard economics curriculum, taught at an advanced level.
    • Instruction is in German. Spring semester or academic year.


    University College Cork (available through Arcadia Ireland)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Situated in the city of the same name (population 200,000) on the south coast of Ireland 160 miles from Dublin UCC has an enrollment of 17,000.
    • Broad range of Economics courses offered in both the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences; and the College of Business & Law
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    University Study in Ireland: University of Limerick

    • Program type: University Study
    • One of Ireland’s leading institutions for business, science, and engineering, the University of Limerick enrollment 12,000) is located in western Ireland 125 miles from Dublin.
    • Sample course offerings: Economics of Tourism; Small Business Economics; International Monetary Economics; Globalization & International Economic Issues.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. Summer (with limited curriculum) also available through Arcadia.


    Universitá di Bologna (available through Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BCSP)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Bologna, the oldest university in Europe and arguably the most prestigious in Italy, has a strong economics department.
    • BCSP program supplements UB courses with courses designed for US students. A pre-session intensive Italian course strengthens your language skills before UB classes begin
    • Instruction is in Italian. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)

    Economics Exchange in Italy

    • Program type: University Study
    • Take courses at the Universitá Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, regarded as the premier university in Italy.
    • No prior Italian language required.
    • Instruction is in English and Italian in this academic year program.

    United Kingdom

    HECUA Democracy & Social Change in Northern Ireland

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Highly experiential program examining historical, political, economic, and religious roots of conflict in Northern Ireland and prospects for long-term reconciliation.
    • Activities in and outside the classroom bring students in direct contact with people on all sides of the conflict. Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study.
    • Instruction is in English. Spring semester.

    London School of Economics & Political Science (available through Arcadia England or IFSA United Kingdom)

    • Program type: University Study
    • One of the world’s leading institutions for the social sciences, LSE offers many economics courses. Look at Economic History as well as Economics in the online course catalog.
    • Sample course offerings: History of Economics—How Theories Change; European Economic Policy; Economic Analysis of the EU; Public Economics; Africa & the World Economy.
    • Academic year or summer (summer through IFSA only).

    Queens University Belfast (available through Arcadia Northern Ireland)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Founded in Ireland in 1845, Queens holds to principles of non-denominational teaching and equality of opportunity. A small number of American students (ca. 300 out of 23,000) facilitates immersion.
    • Economics course offerings include a standard fare plus such options as Applied Econometrics; Managerial Economics; Economics of Organizations; and Regional Economics.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    Study & Intern in London

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • UofM area studies program located in the heart of London and offering a multidisciplinary array of course offerings, some on Europe as a whole, the majority on Britain or specifically London.
    • Attractions include an International Economics course and several international business courses. Crown jewel is a 6-credit course-internship combination(3 credits in the summer).
    • Fall semester, spring semester, academic year,three-week May term, and/or summer.

    University of East Anglia (available through IFSA United Kingdom)

    • Program type: University Study
    • UEA’s location in the city of Norwich offers easy access to the continent. Besides the standard curriculum, Economics department offers many courses crossing disciplinary boundaries.
    • Sample course offerings: Economic Psychology; Economics & Society; Economics of Film & TV; The European Economy. There is even a joint degree in economics, Politics, & Philosophy.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    University of Edinburgh (available through Arcadia Scotland or IFSA United Kingdom)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Highly rated university, with a highly rated Economics department, in a beautiful city. Check the online course catalog under not only Economics but also Economic & Social History.
    • Sample course offerings: Economic Transformation in East Asia; Economics of Transition; Economics of Technical Change; New Zealand & the World Economy; U.S. Economy Since 1918.
    • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

    University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

    • Program type: University Study
    • Adam Smith was once a professor at UG, which has one of the strongest economics departments in the UK and offers an unusually broad range of courses, both standard and unusual.
    • Sample course offerings: Environmental Economics; Natural Resource Economics; Regional Economics & the Scottish Economy; Economics of Housing; Economics of Team Sports.
    • Fall or spring semester or academic year

    Additional Options to Consider

    Intensive Language Programs

    • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
    • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language
    • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

    Global Seminars

    • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
    • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

    Freshman Seminars

    • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
    • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
    • Seminars are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad.

    Non-Credit Opportunities

    Non-credit opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.


    Student Experiences

    Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.