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

Learning Abroad in History

    Study abroad offers a unique perspective on the history and cultures of other countries. By allowing students to visit historical sites and monuments, explore world-renowned museums, and be exposed to new cultures through people, language, and customs, study abroad offers new and exciting perspectives on the study of history. The Department of History strongly encourages its students to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Imagine studying the history of Paris, learning about ethical tolerance in the Netherlands, Buddhism in Japan, language and culture in Mexico, folklore in Vietnam, or conducting archival research in London. No matter which program you choose, study abroad can offer valuable insight into the past.

    “Study abroad offers unique insights into the world around us. It will enable you to foster your historical imagination, expose you to new cultures, enhance your language and critical thinking skills, and gain valuable international experience. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity—every student should study abroad.”
    —Erika Lee, Associate Professor of History

    Learning 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 History before beginning your study abroad research.

    Choose your study abroad experience wisely

    • No program is “best” for everyone. The trick is to find the right learning abroad option for you.
    • History can be studied anywhere in the world. Selecting the best program for your needs and interests is important, and it can take time.
    • Whether your interests are in contemporary or ancient communities, thought or customs, study abroad will challenge your assumptions, deepen your knowledge, and broaden your understanding of the cultural foundations of history.
    • In addition to general factors in Choosing a Program, keep in mind the following suggestions specifically from the Department of History.

    Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

    • Experience diverse historical contexts and sites. Gain first-hand perspective on the cultural construction of history.
    • Explore historical texts, artifacts, and media from different cultural and national perspectives.
    • Enhance your analytical and critical thinking skills.
    • Improve your language skills.
    • Prepare yourself for a life of engagement as an effective global and local citizen. Gain confidence in yourself personally and professionally. Forge international friendships.
    • Wherever you decide to go, take courses and seek out experiences that help you locate and understand history within its sociocultural contexts.

    Work on your history major or minor

    • Up to two upper division courses taken while studying abroad may be used as partial fulfillment of requirements for the history major
    • Up to two lower division courses taken while studying abroad can be used to fulfill the survey and elective categories of the history major.
    • Thus, at most, you may use up to four history courses taken abroad as part of the major.
    • Courses taken while abroad can be used to fulfill any of the sub-requirements for the history major (e.g. pre-modern or modern, geographic area, area of concentration).
    • Remember, all courses taken abroad must be petitioned upon your return to have them count as part of the major. This is not an automatic process.
    • Think about your area of concentration within the history major and look for a program that will contribute to your course of study.
    • Pursue opportunities to do archival or other types of research abroad for your major paper or another research project.
    • Look for a program that allows you to visit museums and other historical sites and engage in public history abroad.
    • Keep in mind that Hist 3959 and 4961W are required courses for the major. They are offered only on campus. Hist 3959 must be taken prior to taking 4961W. Depending upon how study abroad and graduation timing coincide, you might have to take one or both of these courses prior to leaving or upon your return.
    • Also remember that writing intensive history courses will, probably, not be offered while abroad. The writing intensive requirements for the major must be fulfilled while on campus. 

    Consider timing and length

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

    Seek cultural immersion

    • Deep involvement in the host culture leads to personal growth and instills the cross-cultural skills that are so important to success in the workplace and community.
    • Consider a program that houses you with a family or host-country roommate.
    • Be realistic. Not all students are ready for the same amount of cultural immersion.

    Pay special attention to program type

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

    Field Study programs

    Learn through doing. Programs built around internships, community engagement, field research, interview projects, etc., may work especially well for experiential learners.

    University Study programs

    Become a temporary foreign student at a host university. Seek locations offering history methodologies, theoretical perspectives, or courses different from ours.

    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.

    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 Learning Abroad Center's U Credit Abroad Search to find courses that have been approved for Liberal Education.

    Once You Have Selected a Program

    • Use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure your academic planning.
    • 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 studies adviser—preferably at least 3 months before departure. Bring your transcripts, your APSA form, and the course descriptions.
    • Meet similarly in other departments for additional majors or minors.
    • If your preferred study abroad program is not accredited, explore with you advisers the possibility of earning credit for your experience abroad through credit by exam or as a Directed Studies course under faculty supervision. Be aware that both options have cost implications.
    • To complete the APSA process you will also need a signature from a college adviser.

    While You Are Abroad

    • If, once you are in country, 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 studies adviser before committing yourself.
    • 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

    • Stop in the History Undergraduate Studies Office to review overseas courses for which you wish to obtain final approval for use toward the history major or minor. For other majors or minors you will need to do the same in a different department.
    • Bring with you the course materials plus a brief explanation of why you think the course should be counted.
    • Check to see if your study abroad coursework has been posted to your UofM 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, 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


    University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

    • Program type: University Study
    • Participants study in the Rothberg International School. Strengths include Jewish studies, Biblical history and archeology, Israeli and Middle Eastern studies, Islamic studies, Hebrew, and Arabic.
    • Although most students in Rothberg School courses are from other countries, Israeli students are eligible as well.
    • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    MSID—International Development in Kenya

    • Program type: Field Study
    • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
    • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
    • 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 ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
    • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, and many more.
    • Instruction is in French. Fall or Spring semester. 

    South Africa

    University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town

    • Program type: University Study
    • Still struggling to emerge from the nightmare of apartheid, South Africa is an interesting place for comparing the civil rights movement in the US with the liberation movement in Africa.
    • University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s leading research and teaching institutions. Its century-old History department is the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.



    Study & Intern in Buenos Aires

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Very cost-effective UofM program open to all but aimed especially at students interested in Latin America but with insufficient Spanish language skills to take courses taught in Spanish.
    • Offers language courses at all levels, Argentine studies courses taught in English, and a community engagement course that requires four semesters of prior Spanish.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (available through IES Chile and IFSA Chile)

    • Program type: University Study (mostly)
    • PUC, located in Santiago and enrolling nearly 20,000 undergraduates, is one of Chile’s top institutions. One or two center courses supplement university courses in these programs.
    • Extensive range of history course offerings is especially strong on history of Chile.
    • 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 ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
    • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
    • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or Spring semester. 


    Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (available through IFSA Peru)

    • Program type: University Study (mostly)
    • Founded in 1917 and located on a 90-acre campus in Lima, PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. For course descriptions in the online course catalog, look under Sumillas.
    • PUCP offers many courses in Peruvian history as well as Latin American history, Andean ethnohistory. IFSA requires two center courses.
    • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

    Asia and Oceania


    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.
    • Broad history curriculum includes courses on all major world regions. Greatest strengths are Australia, Asia, and Europe.
    • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.


    SFS Vietnam/Cambodia– Environmental Ethics & Conservation

    • Highly experiential program exploring the natural, human, and political economy of Vietnam and upstream areas of the Mekong River Delta in Cambodia.
    • Examines issues of sustainable development, pressures on natural resource exploitation, and ecotourism in Vietnam and Cambodia.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Chinese or of local minority languages is required. Fall or spring semester.
    • Pre req: One semester of college-level ecology or biology.


    IFSA China—Xi’an

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Program name is Globalization Then and Now: Xi’an & the Silk Road. Includes two-week Silk Road field trip into Central Asia.
    • Includes Chinese language study, The Silk Road Yesterday & Today, and choice of one other course in Chinese history, art history, or contemporary society and culture.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

    New Zealand

    University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

    • Program type: University Study
    • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. History department offers a wide range of option for study.
    • Students can focus on a region (e.g., New Zealand/Pacific, Europe, Asia), a specific period, (e.g., ancient, medieval, or early modern), or a topic (e.g., gender history or history of technology).
    • Instruction is in English, although some Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

    University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

    • Program type: University Study
    • Otago is located in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, a particularly attractive location for students interested in outdoor activities. It is renowned for its vibrant campus lifestyle.
    • Sample history courses: Early Australia & New Zealand; Pacific Islands to c. 1900; Imperial Japan; Empires & Globalizations; Science & Society 1789– 1914; Scottish History since 1688.
    • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

    HECUA New Zealand Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future

    • The program examines how social and environmental factors impact and shape political and ecological aspects of identity and culture and how New Zealand populations are envisioning and developing a shared future in Aotearoa New Zealand.
    • Field seminars focus on environmental management, biodiversity protection, Maori culture, national public policy, and urban planning.
    • Potential internship opportunities (not an exhaustive list) in the fields of wildlife and habitat conservation, climate change, food, environmental law, sustainability, transportation advocacy, community-based television, water quality, Permaculture and Transition Towns initiatives, local democracy, youth development, and urban agriculture.



    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 history offerings: A Cultural History of Travel; Environmental History of Europe; Impact of Epidemic Disease upon European History; History of Copenhagen. Many study tours available.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    Université Paul Valéry through Language & Culture in Southern France

    • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
    • Paul Valéry’s History department offers a wide variety of courses on France, on Europe more generally, and on other world regions.
    • Students in the University Study track may also take language and culture courses from the Center track; these include some civilization and culture courses but no history courses per se.
    • Instruction is in French; one year French required for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year; center track also includes May term and summer options.


    University of Freiburg

    • Program type: University Study
    • Highly rated university located in an extraordinarily picturesque medieval city center of environmental activism at the foot of the Black Forest near the French and Swiss borders.
    • Plethora of majors– e,g,, Ancient Civilization Studies, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Early Modern & Modern History, Medieval & Renaissance Studies– hints at breadth of history curriculum.
    • Instruction is in German; four semesters of prior German required for academic year, five for spring semester. Spring semester or academic year.


    Arcadia Greece

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center (semester/AY), Field Study (summer)
    • Semester: Courses in three clusters: Ancient Greek/Classical Studies, Byzantine Studies, Modern Greek Studies.
    • Summer: Two 3-week summer programs, on Archaic/Classical Greece and Hellenistic Greece, are built around field trips throughout Greece.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Greek, either ancient or modern, is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


    Study Abroad in Dublin--University College Dublin

    • Program type: University Study & Study Center
    • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities. The History department is among UCD’s largest teaching units.
    • History curriculum strongly emphasizes Europe, including many courses on Ireland. Some world history and non-European regional courses (e.g., Canada, Australia, Muslim world) available also.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.


    Study & Intern in Florence

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • UofM-sponsored language and area studies program whose multidisciplinary curriculum focuses on Italy and is heaviest in art history.
    • Limited internships available depending on interests and language proficiency.
    • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Italian is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

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

    • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
    • Bologna is Europe’s oldest university and arguably the most prestigious in Italy. All students take UB courses, supplemented by program courses including one each semester in history.
    • UB History department, which focuses almost exclusively on Europe, is strong on ancient, medieval, and modern history alike.
    • Instruction is in Italian; at least two prior years of language study are required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)


    Study & Intern in Madrid

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • English-taught coursework and English speaking internships available in a variety of fields. 
    • Take Political History of Contemporary Spain and fulfill a requirement for the History major or minor.
    • Live with a Spanish host family. 

    Study & Intern in Toledo

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • UofM language/humanities/social sciences program located one of Europe’s most picturesque cities, a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
    • Sample courses: Cultural Heritage of Spain; Management of Cultural Heritage; History of Spanish Women; Spain Since 1936. Internships and a community engagement course on immigrants offered also.
    • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

    United Kingdom—England

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

    • Program type: University Study
    • One of the world’s leading institutions for the social sciences, LSE includes a large array of history courses. Look at Economic History as well as History in the online course catalog.
    • Although history curriculum emphasizes Europe, a number of offerings are available on other parts of the world as well.
    • Academic year or summer (summer through IFSA only).

    University Study in the UK: Queen Mary University of London

    • Program type: University Study
    • QM’s academic departments, library, students’ union, and administrative buildings are all on one campus in the multicultural East End, making it unique among the traditional London colleges.
    • Greatest History department strengths are British history, European history, and US history.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    Study & Intern in London

    • Program type: Study Abroad Center
    • Area studies program whose course offerings include British History in the 20th Century; Understanding Modern Britain; Post-War British Popular Culture; and many more. 
    • Special features include a 6-credit course-internship combination (3 credits in the summer) and a 6-credit community engagement course (semester only).
    • Fall or spring semester, academic year, 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. History department is very strong on general European, British, and British Empire history; little on non-European regions.
    • Sample courses: Anglo-Saxon England, c. 500-1066; England in the Wars of the Roses; Norman Conquest; History of Norwich; Medicine & Gender; The Crusades; Madness & Medicine.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    United Kingdom—Northern Ireland

    Queens University Belfast (available through Arcadia United Kingdom)

    • Program type: University Study
    • Founded in Ireland in 1845, Queens holds to principles of non-denominational teaching and equality of opportunity. Small number of American students (ca. 300 out of 23,000) facilitates immersion.
    • Strongest on British history, Irish history, and US history. Several courses offered as well on European history and history of British Empire; few on rest of world.
    • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

    United Kingdom– Scotland

    University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

    • Program type: University Study
    • UG’s History department offers a broad range of courses on British, Scottish, European, and American history; little on other world regions.
    • Sample past course offerings: The Scottish Highlands 1400–1609; American Landscape History; Computing for Historians; Renaissance Florence; Saints & Sinners; Northern Britons 400–1100.
    • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

    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.
    • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

    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.