Study Abroad for Sociology Majors

Sociology is more and more about world societies. Core sociological issues of globalization and economic development, cultural change, social movements, race/class/gender, and many others are better addressed with an international perspective. The relationship of the United States to the rest of the world, and the efforts by people in many places to deal with pressing global and local problems, can be studied and witnessed up close by attending a foreign university through the world renowned UC Education Abroad Program (EAP). You may well have the experience of a lifetime studying and living abroad, with no delay in your graduation or extra financial burden.

Why study abroad?

For American sociology to move in the 21st century, it increasingly needs to cultivate an international dimension. For American citizens to participate fully and meaningfully in the new global economy, they need exposure to the rest of the world. To develop a more sophisticated perspective on your own society, you should live at some point in another.

All of the topics of sociology can be profitably approached in a non-US setting - from the most intimate emotions and conversations to family life to the institutions of school, religion, politics, and work and on to the most macro-level social structures of the world economy, the international system of states, and the future of the planet. The opportunity to live and study abroad, to immerse yourself in a different culture and possibly language, to meet your peers at another university and a wide range of people from across another society offers a virtually infinite potential for personal and intellectual growth.

The EAP experience can be a life-changing, self-challenging, and uniquely valuable one for your future choices - of occupation, involvement in social issues, and sense of yourself in the world. The Department of Sociology urges you to consider spending part of your undergraduate career at one of the many EAP locations around the world!

Where should I study abroad?

From Australia to Scotland, there are programs with plenty of courses for sociology students. Choose an English speaking country like Barbados or Ireland, or improve your language skills in Italy, Japan or Spain. Live in a country you may have studied in one of our 130/134 series courses, such as Brazil, Chile, China, India, MexicoSouth Africa, or Taiwan. Wherever you decide, you will experience global sociology firsthand.

When should I study abroad?

Sociology majors typically study abroad during their junior and senior years. It is highly recommended that you have completed the entire pre-major and have declared full major status prior to studying abroad. With the exception of a few upper-division electives, seniors should have most of their major completed prior to leaving. It is possible to graduate while abroad, but close consultation with the department undergraduate advisor and with the College of Letters and Science is essential. Transfer students are eligible to participate as early as their first quarter at UCSB.

What classes should I take?

Keep in mind that at students in the College of Letters and Science must complete at least 20 units of upper-division major coursework (or 12 upper-division minor units) in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult an advisor in the College of Letters & Science for more information.

Most foreign universities offer a wide range of sociology courses. When looking at courses to take, consider those that you wouldn’t be able to take at UCSB -- including sociology courses that study specific aspects of the host country. While you may find classes that match up to those at UCSB, many of the best are those that are unique to that country.

When you are abroad, you can E-mail the course descriptions of the sociology classes you are planning on taking to the undergraduate advisor. The advisor will then tell you how the classes would be applicable to the major pending their transfer as upper-division sociology courses. The Sociology Department allows a maximum of 16 units of upper-division EAP coursework to count towards major requirements. All courses must be petitioned upon return.

EAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the student’s major department and approval of the college.

How do I get started?

Begin by identifying your goals for study abroad and then consult the EAP web pages ( to identify appropriate EAP programs. To find programs which offer particular disciplines or to search courses taken by EAP students over the last 5 years by subject, keyword and/or location, explore the resources found under Program Search and Course Catalog. Navigate to host universities’ web sites on the available links to learn more about the schools and their departments.

Stop by the EAP office at 2431 South Hall. Peer advisors who have recently returned from studying abroad as well as staff advisors are eager to answer your questions. Go see your undergraduate advisor in the department office and make an appointment to speak with an advisor in the College of Letters & Science.

Here is a partial list of EAP host countries that offer unique opportunities in sociology:

Australia -- Canada -- China -- France -- Germany -- Hong Kong -- Ireland -- Italy --Japan -- New Zealand -- South Africa -- Spain -- United Kingdom 

Department of Sociology
SSMS 3119 
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9430
Phone: (805) 893-3314

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