Study Abroad and Graduate Students

Nothing happens unless first a dream. ~Carl Sandburg

There are many opportunities for graduate students to study abroad. Ask your advisor about the prospects in your field. In some graduate programs, students can complete internships and practicum abroad. In others, students travel abroad for teaching and research purposes. If you’re researching any human subjects, don’t forget that each participant must give his/her informed consent before taking part in your study. An informed consent is written agreement to voluntarily take part in research, after having been advised of the purpose. This is an important ethical regulation governed by the US Office for Human Research Protections.

Study Abroad and Graduate Students

Graduate students Studying Abroad

Graduate students usually have two major concerns when it comes to study abroad: (a) fulfilling academic requirements with little flexibility, and (b) financing the study abroad experience, since graduate assistantships cannot frequently be transported off-campus. However, through careful and creative arrangements, nothing is impossible. Valuable credit can usually be obtained if your academic department has its own study abroad programs or if the study abroad experience can satisfy internship, practicum, research, and/or independent study requirements. Graduate advisors may also substitute course requirements with similar courses abroad, or allow required electives to be completed through study abroad.

There’s no comprehensive list of graduate-level study abroad programs. Consult a variety of resources in the same way that you did when you were searching for a graduate school in the US. While investigating your options, look into how colleges and universities are adding international dimensions to their curricula, relevant to your field. If you are looking for a short study abroad experience, there are lots of short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs looking for students within particular disciples. For example, in Student Affairs, there are study abroad courses like Disability in a Diverse Society (Michigan State), Issues in College Student Development (St. Cloud State), International Perspective on Education and Social Reform (New York Univ.), Comparing Educational Systems (Clemson Univ.), and more. Our School of Biology has an Ethnobotany in China program that has really taken off with our M.S. Biology students.

Choosing a study abroad experience to enhance your graduate studies is probably going to take some time and planning. The following resources may prove useful in this process:

:: International Graduate Schools – An international graduate programs directory searchable by academic discipline.

:: International Graduate – Graduate and postgraduate courses for students worldwide who want to study abroad.

:: UIUC College and University Rankings – Use this collection of databases to discover rankings around the world.

:: Universities Worldwide – A searchable database with direct links to universities around the world, organized by country.

:: US Department of Education – The International Education Programs Service (IEPS) administers various programs that complement graduate study.

In addition to looking at study abroad program opportunities, you should look into funding, especially if you’re conducting research. The following sites may be useful in this process:

:: American Association of University Women – Offers fellowships, grants, and awards for Women Scholars.

:: – Find and apply for federal government grants. More than $400 billion.

:: InfoEd International (SPIN) – A database of international funding opportunities.

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