Study Abroad

Study Abroad

We strongly encourage IS Majors to Study and Intern Abroad. The website below provides information about the study abroad process, as an IS Major you need to:

  1. If you are still exploring study abroad locations or wondering if you should study abroad, watch this short video presentation and visit IAP’s major advising page.
  2. If you know where you will be studying abroad, and are wondering about what classes to take, watch this video on how to study abroad with the IS Major.
  3. Read the information on our website and pay attention to what your IS Major advisor does and what your study abroad advisor does, so you send your questions to the correct person.
  4. Review and submit the study abroad worksheet. You will need to submit this worksheet to the IS Major Advisor in order to have the classes you take abroad considered for credit within the major. We suggest you do this before going abroad or within the first two weeks of classes abroad.

Difference between Study Abroad Advisor and IS Major Advisor

Sometimes students get confused regarding which advisor they should go to for what questions. Your study abroad advisor (usually in the red gym) will help you with the study abroad application process, questions about how to register for classes at your host institution, and questions about course equivalencies for classes you take abroad. For example, if you are taking a class in France, and it is not in the course equivalency list, you will want to work with your IAP advisor to determine what might be the best department to use for a course equivalent at UW-Madison.

You have two advisors and you will need to do paperwork for both IAP and the IS Major.

This IS Major Advisor does not address course equivalencies.  The course equivalency process involves communicating to IAP what you took (foreign course information) and how you’d like the courses to transfer (course equivalencies).  Please make sure you do this, via your My Study Abroad account in a timely manner; note that page nine of your IAP Study Abroad Handbook provides information on this process.

The graphic below outlines common student questions associated with each advisor.

Which Advisor?

Exploring Where to Study Abroad?

Study abroad programs vary in how and when you choose your courses. See the Study Abroad website for specific program requirements. If you are just getting started, consider reading IAP’s major advising page for information about programs that previous IS students have participated in.  Please watch this short video presentation on how to study abroad with the IS Major that has been developed by IAP and IS advisors.

Choosing Courses

For the IS Major, there are several things you need to keep in mind when picking classes.

1. Watch the video about how to select classes.

2. Do not simply try to match class equivalents to your dars, you will find this process frustrating and ineffective.

Study Abroad students at Peking University (Photo Credit: Dreux Montgomery)

Study Abroad students at Peking University (Photo Credit: Dreux Montgomery)

3. When selecting your courses abroad, consider the content.  Review your DARS and see what types of IS credit you need. Then,  refer to the IS study abroad course guidelines when choosing courses. This process will be easier than trying to match classes taken abroad to courses on the IS course lists. A total of 20 credits taken during study abroad can be counted towards requirements in the IS Major.

4. Fill out the study abroad worksheet and submit this to the IS Major advisor.  An IS Major Advisor will use this information to let you know if and how your courses fit within the major. In general, most courses will come into the IS Major as electives or issues. Please note that you cannot take track core classes while abroad and you will need to send a syllabus (translated into English) for evaluation. We strongly suggest that you work with an Advisor early in your study abroad process so that you can select classes that you know will count towards your degree. If you want to know how a class taken “fits” with the IS Major, you need to email the IS Major advisor with a completed study abroad worksheet and a copy of the syllabus translated into English.

5. Pay attention to how the classes you are taking abroad meet degree requirements.  For example, you should be able to use existing course equivalency lists for your program to determine if classes count for Literature credit or meet Intermediate/Advanced Level requirements.  For a more information on how to do this review the FAQ below.

Your Responsibilities

Study abroad requires many steps. It is the student’s responsibility to follow the process through the end. Your study abroad process will go smoothly if you remember your responsibilities in the process:

  1. Communicate about where you are going and for how long with an IS Major Advisor before you leave.
  2. Plan thoughtfully about academic and professional goals: before, during, and after your abroad experience.
  3. Provide the IS Major advisors with the study abroad worksheet and syllabi translated into English for all classes you want considered for IS Major credit.
  4. Read the IAP Study Abroad Handbook and use your My Study Abroad account to enter your course equivalent requests (see page 9) in a timely manner.
  5. Remember that IAP and your academic advisors do not share personal information about you.
  6. Bring important questions about grades, policies, registration, personal issues to advisors in a timely manner.
  7. Follow up with the IS advisors after your program has ended.
  8. Be patient: the study abroad transfer process can take 4-6 months.
  9. Include your campus ID in all communication with your IS Major advisor.

Types of Study Abroad Programs

Students with Pandas, Chengdu, China (Photo Credit: Dreux Montgomery)

Students with Pandas, Chengdu, China (Photo Credit: Dreux Montgomery)

Study abroad programs can run a full academic year, one semester, or short term (e.g., winter, spring, and summer break). For students with a very full academic schedule, short-term options are a good option.

Please note that all students (domestic and international) that wish to study outside of the U.S. during need to go through International Academic Programs for transfer credit services including equivalencies. This process applies for students studying in affiliated and non-affiliated programs.

Internships Abroad

We encourage students to work with the International Internship Program at UW-Madison to explore internship possibilities both domestically and while they are abroad. You can view international internships and meet with an IIP advisor via their website.  If you want to know how an internship abroad might fit with the IS Major, please review our website information on internships and fill out the petition form.

Advising While You are Abroad

We are happy to meet with you via Skype while you are abroad. Please use WiscCal to schedule an appointment, then e-mail the advisor to notify them this will be a Skype meeting. Your e-mail should include: date and time of scheduled appointment, campus ID, and Skype username.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am studying abroad, how do I figure out if my classes taken abroad will count for the IS Major?

Please read the detailed information found on the IS Major website regarding study abroad, watch the video, and fill out the study abroad worksheet. Also, make sure to meet with your IS Major advisor.

What study abroad program should I participate in?

This is a great questions for the IAP advisors in the Red Gym

I am currently abroad and need advising for the IS Major what should I do?

Please schedule an advising appointment via WiscCal and then email the advisor with the date and time of your appointment. Also, make sure to include your skype username or google hangout information in the email. The advisor will confirm with you and share their skype username back.

Can the IS Major advisor help me determine study abroad course equivalents?

No, that is the role of your IAP advisor in the Red Gym. The IS Major study abroad advisor will help you determine how the classes you take “fit” or “do not fit” within the IS Major curriculum.

Do I have to submit a study abroad worksheet?  If so, when do I do this?

Yes, in order to have your classes evaluated for consideration within the IS Major curriculum you need to fill out a study abroad worksheet. Students can do this whenever they wish, however we strongly suggest that you do this before you register for classes abroad, or within the first 2 weeks of registration so that changes can be made if necessary.

How do I know what courses I can take abroad?

Look under the “Academics” tab of the Study Abroad page for your specific program and select “Sort by UW-Madison Course Titles” in the lower left hand side. A list of courses that you can take abroad in that program as well as how they come back to UW will open.

Will My Internship Abroad Work for the IS Major?

That depends, you need to follow the same procedure for internships that you would on this campus.  Please review our website information on internships and fill out the petition form.  Note, 1 credit internship classes do not count towards the IS Major.  Internship classes are part of the 20 credits (max) that you can take while abroad.

Does the Four Course Rule Still Apply to Study Abroad Classes?

Yes.  If you take 5 classes abroad that come back as Political Science, only 4 of those classes will count towards the IS Major.  You get 4 courses from any one department, regardless of where the classes were taken.

How can I find out if a class I take abroad meets other degree requirements like Literature or I/A level?

Go into your specific program page on IAP’s Website.  Click on the academics tab, Scroll to the bottom, click on sort by UW-Madison course titles, find the class, and review the letters next to that course.  You can use the guide below to assist or hover the mouse over each letter.



Currently abroad? Send us a postcard!

Postcard_FarAre you studying abroad? Have you studied abroad? We are collecting postcards from students to decorate the walls in our new office, and would love to get a postcard from you! Postcards can be dropped off in our office or mailed to:
International Studies Major
333 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706

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