The Catholic University of America

Study Abroad: Introduction for Psychology Majors

Many Psychology majors choose to go abroad for one or more semesters.  Living and studying in another country allows these students to explore a wider range of people and cultures.  By adapting themselves to their surroundings and learning different ways of thinking and interacting, students learn to recognize and apply theories and findings from psychology to their daily lives and experiences.  Many find that they understand themselves and other people better as a result.  Education abroad offers students important information that will subsequently help them in their interpersonal relationships and careers.

Some beginning information about the entire process is offered here, but the CUAbroad office can provide even more ideas about destinations and also offers detailed logistical assistance.

How do I get started?

Meet with your undergraduate advisor to discuss your interests and look over your tracking sheet to see how studying abroad will fit into your curriculum.  Our department encourages all psych majors to think about these opportunities, so you may want to start planning even while you are still a first-year student.  IMPORTANT: Psychology majors who wish to graduate on time must select a semester to study abroad that does not conflict with their ability to take PSY 322 (Introductory Statistics) in the Fall and PSY 350 (General Research Methods) in the Spring at CUA prior to their senior year. 

Most majors will take both of these courses during their sophomore year.

After consulting with your advisor, your next stop should be to visit the CUAbroad office website, where you can read more about CUA policies and procedures, and get some additional information about what programs are available.  If you do not find what you are looking for in CUA's own study abroad offerings, you can also consider non-CUA study abroad programs, as long as you make sure that any credits you need will transfer back to CUA.

Finally, visit the CUAbroad office in 111 McMahon to ask any questions you might have, attend orientation meetings, learn more about visa and other requirements, and submit any necessary application materials.

The Education Abroad Academic Eligibility Form must be completed by all students enrolled in the School of Arts & Sciences.  The form must be signed by the Dean's Office in 107 McMahon.  It is recommended that students complete this form first to determine whether or not they are eligible to study abroad.

The Education Abroad Credit Approval Form is where students will list the courses they intend to take abroad, including several back-ups.  All proposed courses must fit into the student's tracking sheet, and each requires a signature from the appropriate CUA official: the Psychology Undergraduate Coordinator's signature for courses in your major, and the Arts & Sciences Transfer Coordinator's signature for distribution and free electives.  Both the Undergraduate Coordinator and the Transfer Coordinator must also sign the bottom of the form.

Where can I go?

Two programs affiliated with CUA are especially popular among our department's undergraduate majors; the CUAbroad Office facilitates applications to them.

• Rome: CUA has its own university program in Rome.
• Oxford: CUA is affiliated with the Oxford Programme for Undergraduate Studies (OPUS) in England.

Consideration for this program is highly competitive: consult the CUAbroad Office for details.
CUA students can also consider programs in a wide variety of other countries.  In recent years, Psych majors have studied abroad in Australia, Athens, Paris, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Granada, Vienna, Delhi, Dublin, Essex, and London, as well as in Rome and Oxford.  Although most offer courses that will be used for Literature and Humanities requirements, some programs offer courses in Psychology.  The Psychology Undergraduate Coordinator  has typically approved psych majors taking one course in their major while studying abroad in one of these programs, based on a review of the syllabus for desired classes.

Can I study abroad during the summer?

For sure!  Summer study abroad can provides an intensive, condensed experience over the course of several (generally 2 to 7) weeks.  This is a good option for many undergraduates, as students who are unable to study abroad during the regular semester or who need to take summer classes in order to graduate on time find this option especially attractive.  Please note that a maximum of 6 credits (2 courses) can be transferred from another institution in the summer.

As with all study abroad proposals, summer study abroad should be discussed with and approved by your undergraduate advisor well ahead of time, particularly if you want or need to transfer credit for such summer study back to CUA.  (The CUAbroad Office provides guidance on credit transfers, and approval for this must be gained in advance.)

What academic requirements should I keep in mind?  

CUA students must be enrolled full-time at the time of application, and have completed 45 credits (i.e., be at least a second-semester sophomore) by the time the program begins (for semester and academic year programs).  It may be difficult to study abroad during the last semester before graduation if you are concerned about graduating on time, and Psychology majors must be on campus for their final fall semester in order to take PSY 451 (Senior Seminar).  Short-term and summer programs are open to students in all years of the program.

GPA requirements are as follows:
• 2.50 or above GPA for CUA spring break and summer programs and Semester in Rome
• 2.80 or above GPA for most semester and internship programs (3.0 for IES and Arcadia)
• 3.50 or above GPA for the CUA Oxford Honors [OPUS] program.