Research & Internships Abroad
Why Conduct Research Abroad?
Several of Northwestern's affiliated study abroad programs provide the opportunity to do an independent study or research project while abroad. Participating students conduct original research, often using a combination of fieldwork methods, such as interviews and archival research.
Conducting research abroad is a good foundation for a senior honors thesis or post-graduate research; it also strengthens applications for post-graduate grants, such as Fulbright, Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.
Find a Program Offering Research
We've selected a number of programs offering research opportunities around the globe that meet our high academic and safety standards.
Choose a Research Topic
Start thinking about a topic before you leave campus. Most programs that offer research options require you to provide them with project proposals either as part of the application process or before leaving the U.S. Even if they don't, it's important to start thinking about what you would like to research well before departure.
Choose a topic covered in Northwestern undergraduate curriculum. Northwestern will not grant credit for courses - including research - that cover subject matter not taught in its undergraduate curriculum.
The Northwestern library is a great place to start exploring possible research topics. Librarians can also help you learn how to access library materials while abroad.
- If you wish to receive major, minor, or distribution credit for your research, discuss your plans with relevant academic advisers.
- Use the Global Research Opportunities database to identify Northwestern faculty who share your research interests.
- Network with people in the Chicagoland area who have connections in the place you hope to study. Cultural centers can be a great place to find contacts.
- Figure out well in advance if your project requires IRB approval. Submitting a research proposal to the Institutional Review Board can be a lengthy process. For help, contact an adviser or the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects (847-467-1723).
Why Intern Abroad?
An internship may be undertaken either for academic credit or as a not-for-credit extracurricular activity. Immerse yourself in a new culture, gain marketable skills, experience personal growth, improve language skills, explore possible career paths, prepare for future job placements, and more! Completing an internship abroad is an excellent way to gain cross-cultural professional experience and can make you an excellent candidate for jobs and post-graduate grants, such as Fulbright, Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.
Find an Internship Abroad
It can be daunting to find a credible internship abroad. We've done the work for you by selecting programs offering internships that meet our high academic and safety standards.
For Academic CreditMany study abroad programs offer internships as a part of a regular course load, for which you can earn academic credit. To receive credit for an internship, you must receive a formal academic evaluation of your work. For example, the internship is often accompanied by a seminar course, scheduled meetings with a supervisor, or both. If you're interested in pursuing an internship opportunity for credit while abroad, bring this up with your academic and study abroad advisers.
Not For Academic CreditIf your study abroad program does not offer internships for credit or you are unable to fit one into your course load, you still may be able to pursue an internship or volunteer experience as an extracurricular activity. Many of our affiliated study abroad programs can arrange these experiences, so be sure to inquire about this during the application process.
Credit Policies and Procedures
As long as your internship experience is part of a formal course for academic credit and you learn a letter grade of C or above, the course will transfer back to Northwestern as general credit. If you are seeking major, minor or distribution credit, you will follow the instructions for your school's credit transfer process.
- SESP students: You can only count internships abroad toward your elective requirements; you cannot petition for major or distribution credit.
- Medill students: Medill cannot award credit for any type of journalism internship outside the Journalism Residency Program unless the student receives prior approval from the Medill Director of Undergraduate Studies. If you wish to complete an internship opportunity abroad in a field other than journalism, submit the course syllabus to the Medill undergraduate registrar to determine what credit, if any, can be awarded.
Many Northwestern students have completed research or internships abroad in all regions of the world. Learn more about their experiences.Student Perspectives