In an increasingly interdependent world, promoting knowledge about diverse regions of the globe is a central part of the department’s mission. The Department of Political Science therefore encourages all students majoring in our department to broaden their understanding of global politics by participating in one or more of our faculty-led study abroad programs. Students who study abroad find that learning to negotiate cultural boundaries and living as a foreigner in a country that has a different history, culture, and language from that of the United States is one of the most valuable learning experiences of their lives. In addition to expansive opportunities for intellectual and personal growth, an academic program abroad provides new intellectual perspectives, international experience, and language skills, all of which are increasingly valuable in today’s job market, especially for students pursuing a career in international affairs.
The Department of Political Science offers three faculty-led study abroad programs. These programs take place during the summer semesters, and usually require 3-4 weeks abroad. In addition to allowing you to experience life in a different country, you will earn up to six hours of upper division course credit in Political Science courses that count toward the Political Science and International Studies degrees. Although there are many opportunities to study abroad through other institutions, participating in our faculty-led programs has several advantages. First, you register for UA courses through the regular registration process, thus avoiding the potential complications of dealing with transfer credit. Second, all of our programs are designed and led by our own faculty, who travel with you and serve as the instructors for the courses you will take. And finally, our programs are very affordable, compared to programs offered by other institutions.
Currently, our department offers programs in Belgium, Germany, Jamaica, and Sweden. We hope to launch programs in Jamaica and Germany next summer. All of our study abroad programs require a brief application. Please contact the program directors below for more information.



Director: Dr. Douglas Gibler (

Dates: 07/09/2017 – 08/01/2017 (Summer II)

Courses: Students are required to be enrolled in six hours of course work for this program.

  • PSC 413: American Foreign Policy (3 hours)
  • PSC 442: International Conflict (3 hours)


 Brussels, Belgium, is quickly becoming the capital of Europe. Founded in the 10th Century as a fortress town by Charlemagne’s grandson, Brussels has developed into the heart of European integration and hosts the major institutions of the European Union. The European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council and a second seat of the European Parliament are all in Brussels proper, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization maintains a suburban headquarters. The University of Alabama Belgium Program takes advantage of this extraordinarily large concentration of international institutions by providing a set of courses that examines American-EU relations, the nature of federalism and sovereignty within the states of Europe, and the history and effects of conflict on the continent and the world. Indeed, the locale provides a rare opportunity for a decidedly “hands on” approach to studying international politics in action.

While known for its food—hand made chocolates, waffles, “french” fries, and handcrafted beers, of course—Brussels is also emerging as an important source of European fashion and arts and is home to several world-class museums. Several festivals and fairs will be taking place in Brussels during the month the program is there. The UA Belgium Program has also planned several excursions to visit the main Belgian museums, including the Royal Museum of Central Africa, which chronicles Belgium’s role as colonizer in Africa. These museum visits are actually planned activities for the courses in the program, and thus, students will be able to immediately apply what they are learning in their classes.

Brussels’ location in central Europe provides an opportunity for program participants to visit many important nearby cities, monuments, and attractions. One planned activity is a day-long visit to the city of Bruges. Designated the “European Capital of Culture” in 2002, Bruges is an ancient town that has been left virtually untouched over the past centuries.

Also planned are two, weekend-long excursions to other European capitals. During the first weekend of the program, participants will be traveling to London, England, and on the third weekend, program participants will travel the short train ride to Paris, France. All transportation, lodging and activity expenses, including tours and museum fees, are covered by the program fee, while meal costs are the students’ responsibility.

Program Website:

Capstone International Website (Includes information on costs)





 Director: Dr. Dana Patton (

Dates: 07/04/2017 – 08/01/2017 (Summer II)

Courses: Students are required to be enrolled in six hours of course work for this program. No prerequisites are required.

  • PSC 321: Politics and Culture of Germany (6 hours)
  • PSC 321: Public Policy: Germany and the US. (6 hours)


This program takes place in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Berlin is a vibrant and diverse city, teeming with history and culture, but with a laid back style. It has all the advantages of a large metropolitan city – museums, fine dining, art shows, shopping, nightlife – but extensive green spaces in the middle of the city and the River Spree allow for relaxation and recreation.

Students who participate in the program will learn about the politics and culture of Germany and how they have shaped public policy decisions. We will examine immigration, health, environmental, and parental leave policies, among others. Students will have the opportunity to focus on one policy area in depth. Classes will take place in the mornings and field trips in the afternoons. We will visit museums, government offices, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorials, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and other political and cultural sites.

The program is 3 weeks with one “free” long weekend during which students may stay in Berlin or travel to other destinations in Europe. All majors are welcome.

Capstone International Website (Includes information on costs)






Director: Dr. Utz McKnight (

Dates: 07/03/2017 – 08/02/2017 (Summer II)

Courses: Students are required to be enrolled in six hours of course work for this program.

  • WS: 310/AAST 395/PSC 321: Swedish Popular Culture and Politics (3 hours)
  • WS 310/ AAST 395/PSC 321: Travel Writing, Writing Culture (3 hours)


Students who participate in the program will have the opportunity to experience the culture from the nation’s capital, Stockholm, and to study Sweden and much of Scandinavia’s culture, policy, political development and history. One of the most beautiful capitals in Europe, Stockholm is a city built on islands, with large parks and narrow streets. It is a thriving metropolis with people from all over the world. Swedes learn English from age seven. Visitors are always surprised at the diversity of people who reside in the city and in Sweden generally. Stockholm is the center of Swedish commerce and its political capital.

Students will be exposed to traditional foods, such as fried herring and mashed potatoes or hardtack bread and caviar. They will also learn, first-hand, why this nation is known as the land of the midnight sun.

The four-week program will provide morning classes, taught by UA professors, followed by afternoon field trips to sites including the Parliament, City Hall, Royal Palaces, and a variety of museums. We will also take a weekend day trip to an island in the famous Stockholm archipelago, where many locals go to enjoy their summers. There will be two “free” weekends, during which students may wish to organize individual trips. The faculty are available to assist students in planning such trips, before or during the program. The Program is open to undergraduate students (and graduate students by arrangement), who are registered at any two-year or four-year institution in the United States, and to other qualified persons.

Capstone International Website (Includes information on costs)




Look for three new study abroad programs next summer in… TO BE ANNOUNCED – all led by Political Science faculty members.