Study Out of Residence

Studying in a different country and culture is an invaluable intellectual and personal experience, and the Psychology Department encourages students to consider studying abroad either during the academic year or summer. In past years, our students have studied in places such as Australia, Spain, Italy, the UK, France, Switzerland, Fiji, Cyprus, Chile and Botswana, and many have received concentration credit.

Steps for Studying Out of Residence:

1. Visit the Office of International Education (OIE) to find a program in the country of your choice and to learn about college procedures for applying to study abroad. 

2. Look at your chosen programs to determine what kinds of opportunities and courses they offer. Be sure to see if there are courses you are interested in taking. You do not have to take courses that count for concentration credit, but can if you wish (see Step 3 below). Apply to the programs themselves directly by their deadlines and also request approval of transfer credit from Harvard by Oct. 1, 2015 for Spring 2016 study abroad, and by Mar 1, 2016 for Fall 2016 or academic year 2016-17 study abroad. Do this by clicking on the "Request Transfer Credit" button under the program listing on the OIE's programs page.

3. Make an appointment with Laura Chivers in the Psychology UGO to discuss your plans by Oct. 1, 2015 for spring 2015 study out of residence, and by Mar 1, 2016 for summer 2016, fall 2016, or full-year 2016-2017 study out of residence. This meeting is required even if you do not want concentration credit for your coursework abroad. Include in this email what countries you are considering, and whether you are hoping for psychology credit.

If you are requesting concentration credit, email Laura Chivers in advance if possible or bring copies of syllabi or course descriptions with you to this meeting. In some cases, we will approve courses automatically (see list of pre-approved courses); there are a small section of courses that we have approved for concentrators in past semesters. Courses not on this list may be petitioned, and must meet the requirements for a petitioned course. In most circumstances, we will not approve courses for specific requirements (Introductory Course, Foundational Courses, Basic or Advanced Methods, tutorial), but are happy to consider courses for psychology Advanced Course credit, either departmental or non-departmental.Typically we are able to work with students to find a course that will count for concentration credit in most countries. You will have an easier time finding courses that can count in institutions with strong psychology departments, and in countries such as Australia, the UK, and France.

Please note that psychology does not grant secondary field credit for courses taken out of residence.

4. Once abroad, send course changes to Laura Chivers and upload them to the OIE for approval. Often other institutions' course offerings change at the beginning of a semester, and if you would like to substitute a new psychology course for one previously approved (or add a psychology course even if you had originally not requested any concentration credit), you should e-mail Laura Chivers a syllabus for the new course as soon as possible so we can determine if the new course can count toward the concentration. We will get a decision on the course back to you as soon as possible, but please get us the material as soon as you can. You will also need to upload all your courses to the OIE portal. Please complete these steps before you take the course, rather than when you return to Harvard.


Special Considerations for Thesis Writers:

If you plan to write a thesis, you will need to coordinate your study abroad with your thesis planning schedule. You may even want to go abroad in sophomore spring, although junior fall is common for thesis writers. You are urged to consult our Thesis website and are welcome to speak to your Concentration Adviser and Danielle Truxaw about these facets of thesis preparation. The main concerns will be a lab methods course, Psychology 1901, Psychology 985, and the thesis application, as described below:

Lab Methods: You should work in a lab as early as possible in order to help locate a potential thesis topic and thesis supervisor. The course requirement must be met before studying abroad in junior year.

Psychology 1901: You must take Psychology 1901 before the start of your senior year. Currently, the course is offered both semesters, so in most cases you will be able to take the course as a junior. You may also consider taking it the spring of your sophomore year.

Psychology 985: This junior pre-thesis tutorial is an optional but strongly recommended course that most honors students take as a concentration elective. The course can be taken either in the fall or spring.

Thesis Application: The application is submitted in the spring of the junior year, and requires you to have a thesis supervisor and a thesis prospectus (for details, see the Thesis pages). If you go abroad in the spring, we advise you to submit your application before you leave or while abroad via e-mail.