The Department of History, with research and teaching specialties that span from Argentina to Zimbabwe, has a decidedly international vision. At UW-Madison, History is a discipline that transcends national boundaries.
As a history major, you can study abroad during almost any term in your college career, including winter or summer, but there are some important factors to consider. If you begin your planning early, you can find a way to include an international experience into the heart of your work in history. The information below will help in your planning and conversations with a history advisor.
Prospective History Students
If you plan to major in history, you should know that there are two specific history requirements that must be completed on campus at UW-Madison: History 201 and History 600. It is preferred that you complete your History 201 before your Junior year, ideally as early as possible. The history advising team can help you plan your study abroad as a student of history at any point, even before you formally declare the major. Attend the Study Abroad Fair or visit the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website to get an idea of what programs are available to you. Schedule a meeting with advisors at IAP to learn more about your study abroad program options.
Once you have some program ideas, be sure to consult with the history advising team. The more complex or ambitious your undergraduate program is (the number of additional majors or certificates, honors in the major, athletic or other heavy extracurricular involvement, etc.), the more you will need to plan in advance to fit study abroad in your academic career. For example, if you want to pursue Honors in the Major and study abroad, the timing of your History 600 can be especially important. In some cases, study abroad programs can even be combined with research for an honors thesis. Make sure to talk with the history advising team to get a full sense of your options and to plan accordingly.
History Course Considerations Abroad
Most history courses taken abroad will equate to one of the four UW-Madison history study abroad elective courses (History 271, 272, 273, & 274). These courses count toward the geographic breadth requirement in the major and, when appropriate, may also count toward the chronological breadth requirement. The history advisor can help with any questions you might have about history course equivalencies.
The History Department encourages you to take a history course or two in any study abroad program you may choose to learn how other places study history – even courses on U.S. history can offer you an exciting contrast with the U.S. history courses you’ve taken in high school and at UW-Madison. Taking a course in the history of your study abroad country is a great addition to the cultural immersion of a study abroad program.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as an History Major
If you’re considering declaring a history major, this may be a good time to earn some history breadth credits or electives outside of the major. Freshmen can study abroad during winter intersession or summer terms.
Second semester of your sophomore year could be a good time to go abroad if you declare your history major early and have already taken History 201.
This is the most popular year to do a study abroad as a history major. You’ve most likely taken your History 201 and you’ve begun to explore electives and define your interests.
History majors can still study abroad during their senior year, although you will need to choose your location carefully to ensure that you can take specific classes you need for graduation. You’ll need to watch your Senior Residency Requirement closely with your history advisor. You will need to be particularly mindful of the fact that you cannot fulfill the History 600 requirement with courses taken abroad.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Will this course count toward the geographic breath requirement that I need for my History Major?
- Do I need to be on UW-Madison’s campus for any courses in my major?
- How many electives do I have outside of my major?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
Studying abroad, regardless of the program, provides intrinsic benefits for any history major through exposure to new cultures and ways of thinking. In identifying programs that would be a good fit for your academic and personal interests, consider programs that will allow you to explore subjects, places, cultures, and languages that are appealing to you. When it comes to completing requirements for your history major, you can travel to nearly any country and find history courses that will count towards your major. Below you will find a list of programs that have been popular with history majors, but it is far from an exhaustive list.
Argentina: IFSA Argentina Study Abroad Programs
With a full range of classes taught in Spanish, learn about Peronism and the history of Argentina at up to four universities in Buenos Ares.
Australia: Australia National University Exchange Program
ANU is a world-class university and has especially strong programs in both Environmental History and Gender and Women’s History.
Czech Republic: CIEE Central European Studies in Prague
Experience Eastern Europe from the vantage point of one of its most historic and beautiful cities. Featuring a rich collection of courses ranging from “European Economic History” to “Nation, Power and Money – Seduction and Propaganda”, this program provides an ideal fit for students interested in the humanities and social sciences.
Germany: Academic Year in Freiburg (AYF)
This is a great program for students with strong German language skills. The history department in Freiburg is especially well regarded and offers you the opportunity to study topics like Native American History and the Urbanization of the United States from a European perspective.
Ghana: CIEE in Ghana
For students interested in studying Africa, it’s hard to beat the CIEE’s program in Ghana. Take classes at the University of Ghana on a range of subjects from “Literature of the Black Diaspora” to “The History of Ghana.”
Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Spend time in one of the most historic cities in the world while gaining personal experience and knowledge of the Middle East and Israel. Learn Hebrew while interacting with a diverse population of local and exchange students at one of Israel’s finest academic institutions.
Italy/Greece: UW Classics in Italy/Greece
Watch for updates regarding when and where this summer study abroad program is being offered. Often led by Professor Marc Kleijwegt, this program provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the Ancient World. Based in either Italy or Greece, participants have the opportunity to visit a variety of places important within classical study. Talk to Professor Kleijwegt if you are interested in learning more.
Japan: Keio University Exchange
For students interested in Japanese culture and history, the Keio University Exchange program provides students with the opportunity to live and study in Tokyo at one of Japan’s top universities while honing their Japanese language skills.
Morocco: UW in Morocco
Spend 4 weeks in the summer learning about Morocco in Rabat! Combine classroom learning with excursions and field trips in and outside of Rabat and earn History credit. Stay with a host family and truly feel immersed in the culture.
Russia: ACTR-Russian Language and Area Studies Program
Immerse yourself in Russian language while also gaining invaluable insight on Russian culture and history. Students interested in this program should consider applying for Alice D. Mortenson Undergraduate Research Award. This scholarship, offered through the Department of History, offers significant financial assistance to students interested in studying Russian history and language.
South Africa: University of Cape Town Exchange
Combines a beautiful campus in the heart of one of Africa’s oldest cities with unique and intellectually stimulating academic experience. With course offerings like “Memory, Identity, and History”, “Genocide: African Experience”, and “Gender, Sexuality, and Politics: Debates in an African Context”, students receive a unique opportunity to engage in exciting ideas alongside a diversity of native South African and international students.
Thailand: Thammasat University Exchange
Interested in learning more about Southeast Asia? There’s no better place to start than Bangkok and the exceptional opportunities afforded by the Thammasat University Exchange. Take courses in Thai history and Southeast Asian politics while experiencing life in one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities.
United Kingdom: UW in London
Join a group of your fellow badgers and spend your spring semester in London! Choose the classroom-based “British Studies track” or the “Internship/Service Internship track” in addition to a course taught and designed by a UW faculty member. Professor Lee Wandel has taught these courses in the past and is a great resource for students interested in the program.
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer History courses. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.