Study away in the Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience majors offers the opportunity to both build on departmental offerings at Connecticut College and engage with facets of psychology and behavioral neuroscience not covered by the home department.
Goals of Studying Away
In keeping with the values of the College, the vision of the Psychology Department is to offer students training and learning experiences to help them become engaged global citizens and effective agents of social change. One of the ways we envision this process is to help students develop programs of study that are intentional in keeping with this core value. In order to promote social justice both on and off campus, we encourage students to develop an understanding of the cultural systems that influence how they experience themselves, others, and the world around them. This necessitates understanding how people, including themselves, are shaped by interactions with their families, communities, peer group, and larger cultural systems (e.g., laws and policies, socialization, etc.). We believe this understanding forms the foundation from which students will be able to fully appreciate their study away experiences.
Preparation for Studying Away
Appropriate preparation for study away will help students fully engage in the communities they will encounter in their travels from a position of respect and cultural humility. This can be achieved by developing a program of study that centers on cultural self-understanding, understanding how systems of privilege and oppression affect people’s experiences and lives, and appreciating the centrality of culture in the study, understanding, and science of psychology. Students should work closely with their adviser to develop a written justification for studying away and in particular how the classes selected relate to their Connecticut College course of study.
Of the areas of knowledge in the psychology major, study away is particularly relevant to the areas of social and clinical psychology. Students will be expected to take one or more psychology courses in preparation for departure. A number of courses seem well-suited as preparation for study away: these include Psychology of Personality (205), Disorders and Dysfunctions (210), Psychology of Women (203), Social Psychology (206), Cultural Psychology (335), and Psychology of Prejudice (310).
We strongly encourage you to take Cultural Psychology* (335) before departure. If you cannot do so and an approved substitute is not taken while studying away, this course should be taken the semester in which students return to Connecticut College. Taking this course will allow students the opportunity to reflect on their study away experiences in order to gain a deeper understanding of how their worldviews have changed as a result.
*Please note, if students plan to take Psychology 441, 442 (Practicum in Clinical and Community Psychology) during their senior year, it is preferable that Cultural Psychology (335) be taken at Connecticut College. If the study away course of interest is a cultural psychology-related course, please discuss this with your adviser and the Psy 335 instructor ahead of registering for that study away course.
There are also particular programs (e.g., DIS, Copenhagen), where courses in neuroscience are offered. Please check with your faculty adviser for a list of these programs.
In the case of Behavioral Neuroscience, Biopsychology (214) is strongly recommended as preparation for taking courses in neuroscience while studying away. If Psychopharmacology is taken at the DIS (Copenhagen) program, this course will count toward the major but does not count as Psychopharmacology (322) at Connecticut College because the Connecticut College course has a lab. Certain courses in the Psychology major are better taken at the home institution; these include Psychological Statistics (201) and Research Methods (202).
Locations Abroad for Study Away
We recognize that students may have a variety of goals for studying away, including being exposed to different cultural frameworks in the study of psychology as a discipline, improving language proficiency by studying in another language, accessing courses not offered by the home department, and experiencing a different academic system (in both size and approach).
Achieving these goals is possible in a variety of countries because psychology can be studied in many locations (e.g., Europe, Africa, the United Kingdom, South America). Depending on the country and program, courses may be offered in English or another language.
Offerings in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Denmark have broad selections in psychology that extend beyond the courses offered by the home department. Such offerings may include courses in positive psychology and courses related to psychology in the workplace. In addition, the DIS program in Copenhagen offers a number of courses in Neuroscience, including Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness (plus a lab on this topic); Psychopharmacology: Substances and the Brain. At the same time, these programs offer less opportunity for improving foreign language proficiency. In selecting a study away program, students therefore need to carefully consider their goals for the study away experience.
There are particular programs that our department faculty judge to be recommended for psychology, for behavioral neuroscience, or for cultural immersion and/or language study. The department has reviewed and evaluated the offerings of these programs in terms of the extent of offerings in the major as well as other aspects of the program that have value, including cultural enrichment.
Please note that while some programs are not recommended from the standpoint of the extent and rigor of offerings in the major, they may be endorsed for other reasons (e.g., internship possibilities, home stays, cultural immersion, language offerings, strengths in other disciplines). Your adviser can provide additional information about these recommendations.
Transfer of Courses toward the Major
The Psychology Department does not restrict the number of courses that may count toward the major; however, such decisions are made upon the student’s return and require departmental approval. Students need to provide syllabi and, if possible, work completed in the course. Students must petition the department for course approval and present a justification for why a particular course should be counted for a specific requirement; faculty in the department vote on each petition.
Planning for Study Away
The first step in planning to study away is discussing the option with your faculty adviser, who is knowledgeable about the program options in various countries. Students should work closely with their academic adviser to determine which study away experience is best aligned with their program of study, and to develop a written justification for their study abroad plan.
The written justification must explain 1) why a particular program was selected 2) why each course was selected and 3) how each class aligns with the student’s course of study at Connecticut College.
Having such a justification will enable students to develop an intentional plan of study that will help meet the purpose of the study away program: To help psychology and behavioral neuroscience students develop culturally competent and responsive critical knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals and communities with diverse perspectives and experiences.
In selecting courses, please be mindful of the level at which the class is offered and whether you have the requisite background to be successful in the course. Do not assume that the course numbering system elsewhere matches that at the home institution. In particular, be attentive to courses that are intended for people at an advanced level.
Timeline for Study Away
Discussions about your interest in studying away start with your first-year adviser and continue into sophomore year with your major adviser. Your major adviser can direct you to programs that have a strong academic focus and complement your interests. You should plan to have a series of discussions with your major adviser before selecting your final study away program choices and completing the application materials.
The College has deadlines set for the submission of your study away application materials.
- Fall, Junior Year Study Away: If you plan to study away the fall of your Junior Year, the deadline for submitting the College’s fall semester study away application is early February.
- Spring, Junior Year Study Away: If you plan to study away the spring of your Junior Year, the deadline for submitting the College’s spring semester study away application is mid-September.