Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad in Religious Studies and Islamic Studies

"Studying abroad in Norway gave me the chance to study indigenous cultures like the Sami which I normally would not have had access to in the United States. I was able to connect with their practices in a more intimate way while immersing myself in new cultures and experiences. Norway is a beautiful country full of friendly, inviting people and I would not trade my time there for anything in the world!"

Nicole Petersen (class of 2020)

Academic Planning Recommendations

  • Religion can be studied anywhere in the world. Whether your interests are in contemporary or historical religious communities, thought, or practice, study abroad will challenge your assumptions, deepen your knowledge, and broaden your understanding of the cultural foundations of religion.
  • Experience diverse religious contexts and practices. Gain a first-hand perspective on the cultural construction of religions.
  • Explore religious texts, artifacts, and media from different cultural and national perspectives. Learn new methods for studying religions.
  • Wherever you decide to go, take courses, and seek out experiences that help you locate and understand religious activity within its sociocultural contexts.

Liberal Education Requirements

Search the U Credit Abroad Search. You may also submit any liberal education course not yet evaluated for approval online.

Major and Minor Requirements

  • Track I or Track II: Consider selecting a program located geographically within your Area Concentration or one that offers thematic courses related to it.
  • Students in either track of the major may apply no more than 15 study abroad credits toward their major.
  • Track II: Consider intensive or advanced language study.
  • Consider programs with courses that will satisfy your “Traditions” or “Contexts” requirements.
  • Consider fieldwork or internship experiences that can be developed into your senior thesis.
  • Only upper-division courses will fulfill requirements in the Religious Studies major
  • Keep in mind that RELS 3001W, a required course for the major and minor, is offered only in the spring semester.

College of Liberal Arts Language Requirement

Courses taken abroad for the CLA Language Requirement (for BA degrees) must be at least 4 credits. CLA college advisers can approve courses that are clearly identified in a syllabus or online course description as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-semester language courses. If a course level is not explicitly stated, you must work with your CLA adviser to have the course evaluated by the appropriate language department. Advisers cannot approve these courses.

Who will advise me and help me with course approvals?

Learning Abroad Center advisers can help you find program and course information to help you prepare for your study abroad academic planning discussion with your academic adviser. Once you have narrowed down your program options, meet with Religious Studies DUS, Jeanne Kilde, to ensure courses will satisfy Religious Studies program requirements. Also, meet with your academic adviser to use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure your academic planning.

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.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer. Summer offers coursework during either July or August sessions.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students may also take regular courses in the larger university (many offered in English) in addition to courses through Rothberg.
  • Summer offers coursework in Religious Studies during either July or August sessions.
  • Spring in Jerusalem—Honors Program is offered in the spring semester. Combines language study, research, and advanced coursework. Includes study tours and additional lectures. Available to outstanding students on a competitive basis.


MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Excellent for students interested in social justice issues.
  • 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 of Cape Town (available through IES South Africa)

  • Program type: University Study
  • A top-tier South African university that offers courses in the comparative study of religion, as well as in African religions and in Islam. Extensive volunteer opportunities are available.
  • Sample course themes: religion and globalization, religion and postmodernity, religion and popular culture, gender and religion, religion and violence, religion, and postcolonial theory.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.



MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion. Excellent for students interested in social justice issues.
  • 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.


Study Abroad in Mexico

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Intensive language course over winter break, May session, or summer in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
  • Instruction is in English; prior study of Spanish is very useful but not required. Fall or spring semester.

Asia and Oceania


SIT Indonesia: Arts, Religion & Social Change

  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center located in Kerambitan, Bali, Indonesia
  • Fall and spring semester
  • Key topics include: Religion, society, and arts on side-by-side islands of Bali and Java, Foundations and non-governmental organizations, confucianism, Hindu-Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, land, water, ethnic identity, tourism, and the environment in Bali, Ancient roots and information of modern-day Indonesia, research and interviews for self-designed, independent project


Exchange in Tokyo, Japan: Sophia University

  • Program type: University Study
  • Jesuit university with two campuses, one of which teaches in English and draws many Japanese students who have lived abroad for extended periods of time.
  • Instruction is in English; prior Japanese language study preferred but not required. 

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. A good place to keep on track for your language studies: Latin, ancient Greek, and a number of modern languages taught at all levels.
  • A rich array of religious studies courses scattered among Anthropology, Asian Studies, Biblical Studies, Christian Thought and History, History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Theology.
  • Instruction is in English, except that many Maori studies courses are taught in Maori. 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.
  • Although a small department, Religious Studies at Otago has strong offerings in Hinduism and Buddhism. Christianity and Judaism courses are available through the Theology department.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.


MSID—International Development in Thailand

  • Based in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Explore the complexities created by issues such as environment, globalization, public health, and social justice
  • Contribute to an internship or research project with a nonprofit organization
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai required



Study Abroad in Denmark and Summer in Denmark & Sweden

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses in Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • Sample courses: Holocaust & Genocide; Kierkegaard’s Authorship; Muslims in the West; Nordic Mythology; Religion & Politics in Europe.
  • Summer in Denmark & Sweden offers you the opportunity to explore one or both countries and build your summer experience abroad.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


Trinity College Dublin (available through IFSA Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • A prestigious institution located in the center of the Irish capital. The greatest strengths in religious studies are Christianity and Judaism; some courses available on Islam as well.
  • Sample subject areas: ancient and modern history; Greek and Roman culture; philosophy and theology; dialogue among religions; science-religion relationships; ethics; war and peace.
  • Instruction is in English. Academic year only.


IES Rome

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program taught mostly in English. Students sufficiently proficient in Italian may take; some additional center and university courses. Internships are available.
  • Religious studies courses include The Advent of Christianity; The Jews of Rome; Studies in the Roman Catholic Tradition; Issues in the Contemporary Roman Catholic Church.
  • Most courses are taught in English; no prior Italian is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Strong humanities/social science curriculum offers several courses of interest to religious studies majors, including Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Art in Toledo; and Theology of Spanish Mysticism.
  • Internships available, as well as a community engagement course on immigrants in Spain.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom—England

Kings College London (available through IFSA United Kingdom)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Students interested in applying should have a minimum GPA of no less than 3.3.
  • The Theology and Religious Studies department is particularly strong in the philosophy of religion. It also offers work in the Hebrew Bible and Christianity and has an outstanding Classics program.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (available through IFSA United Kingdom)

  • Program type: University Study
  • World center of expertise on Africa/Asia/Middle East. Courses offered on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and various African indigenous religions.
  • Course themes include religion and politics, religion and current events, social/historical contexts of world religions. Students may register across departments to focus on their particular interests.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom—Scotland

University of Edinburgh (available through IFSA United Kingdom)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, the University of Edinburgh is among the UK’s most prestigious institutions of higher education.
  • Particularly strong in Christianity, Edinburgh also offers courses in Judaism, Asian religions, and African religions.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

LAC 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.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic, Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

LAC Freshman Seminars

  • Combine on-campus instruction during the spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break, on a 3 credits, 1xxx level Seminar.
  • Freshman Seminars Abroad are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad, an opportunity to explore an exciting location and topic, and likely fulfill a liberal education requirement.

Additional LAC Seminars

  • Check out additional LAC Instructor-led Seminars that might run over winter break, spring break, May, and summer sessions. They vary in length, dates, and content so students can find one that best fits their academic and professional goals.

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester-long program.