Study Abroad FAQs

Study Abroad FAQs for Sociology Majors

1. Is it difficult to combine study abroad with the sociology major?

Because study abroad is highly relevant to the major in sociology, the department tries to work with students to make sure they can combine their sociology coursework with study off campus, including Bates Fall Semester programs, JSA, and JYA.  Many students are able to complete one or two courses that count toward the major, if they happen to select an off-campus program that offers courses in sociology or closely-related disciplines.  But even students wishing to pursue a program emphasizing other kinds of study, in which they are not able to count any courses toward the major, usually have little difficulty combining their Bates sociology coursework with off-campus study.  The remaining FAQs on this list will help you think through what you need to take before you study away, as well as what might count toward the major from your off-campus study curriculum.

2. How many courses taken abroad can I count towards my Sociology major?

One or two courses from a junior semester abroad/off campus may be considered for application toward the major as electives, if they are taught in a sociology department or if the Bates Sociology Department determines that they are adequately sociological.  Students studying off campus for their entire junior year may request consideration for a maximum of three electives.  Students are not normally granted credit for courses taken abroad in meeting the theory, methods, and 300-level requirements for the major.

3.  What sociology courses do I need to complete before I study off-campus during my junior year?

It is important for students planning to study off-campus to think ahead about how they will complete the core courses, methods (Soc. 205) and theory (Soc. 204), since these must be completed prior to the beginning of the senior thesis.  You must take Soc. 204 and 205 before the end of your junior year, and these courses are typically offered only in the winter semester.  The Department Chair or any other faculty member will be happy to help you with this kind of planning.

4. Do I need to get my study abroad courses approved by the sociology department before I leave?

You should consult in advance with the Department Chair about the sociology (or closely related) courses you intend to take during your off-campus study.  Though the courses will not necessarily be approved officially before you leave, as there may be uncertainty about which specific courses will be available to you, this consultation will ensure that you are clear about the department’s policies for counting courses before you make your final selections.

5. What if my course options or plans change once I am abroad/away?

You are welcome to e-mail the Department Chair to request consideration of a newly available course or some other change, and/or to seek advice about potential courses.

6. How do I finalize approval of my courses?

Once you return from your off-campus study and your courses are approved for Bates credit by the Center for Global Education, then you can meet with the Department Chair again to finalize the application of those credits to the major in sociology.

7. What off-campus study programs do Bates sociology students most often select?

There are a wide variety of off-campus programs previous sociology students have found particularly beneficial.  We encourage you to review the various programs available in terms of your own interests and educational goals, so you should feel free to begin by reviewing the wealth of information on off-campus study available in the Center for Global Education. Their materials include evaluations from previous Bates students who have participated in each approved program, and you may want to note particularly those completed by sociology majors.  In addition, Department faculty will be glad to consult with you regarding the programs of interest to you, and help you determine whether they include any courses that might count toward the major.  If you have particular interests within sociology that are not fully covered within the Department, we can help you find a program in which you can explore those interests more fully.  But especially for students planning to study off-campus for just one semester, we encourage you to select an off-campus study opportunity that you want, without feeling constrained by the requirements of the major.