Study Abroad

Students interested in studying abroad are encouraged to peruse Penn Abroad’s ‘Planning and Resources page:


Specific Information about Psychology Study Abroad Credits

Study Abroad is an attractive option that all Psychology majors are invited to consider. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will be glad to discuss its advantages and drawbacks in the context of your overall program in psychology and your future plans.

Here is a video about obtaining study abroad credit:

Importantly, unless special permission is given, please be advised that you cannot count more than two study abroad credits towards the 13 required courses in the major. Please bear this in mind when selecting courses and note that courses earning PSYC097 will not count toward your Psychology Major.

For each Psychology course you want approved, check to see if it is pre-approved on the Study Abroad Database. If it is, this item on your "Proposed Course of Study" form will be approved automatically. If it is not, submit it on XCAT, as described below. It is best to obtain this information and the approval of the course before going abroad; however, oftentimes the syllabus is not available until the beginning of the course.

XCAT Overview: Approval Process

The Psychology department can only approve courses that are similar to those offered primarily in our department (in contrast to courses we cross-list in our department). For example, if you want approval for a statistics course, you should contact the Statistics department in Wharton. If you want approval for a course similar to Intro to Brain and Behavior (PSYC109), you should contact the BBB program in the College.

No request will be approved unless a syllabus is attached (.doc or .pdf only please) to your XCAT request; do not email this information to the department. A course description is not sufficient. The syllabus should contain a week by week listing of topics and readings, the name of the textbook, the mode of evaluation of your work in the course, and the number of hours that the course meets. If you cannot locate a syllabus for the appropriate semester, I suggest you contact the relevant Psychology Department for a syllabus from another semester that includes this required information. Please add this syllabus to your XCAT request. No XCAT request can be processed without a complete syllabus.

If you are seeking approval for a course that is very similar (in content and difficulty) to a course we offer, then, if approved, the course will be given the same course number as the Penn course. This course credit will satisfy any requirements that the Penn course satisfies, and you will not be able to take the same course at Penn for credit.

Not all courses are approved. At Penn, all psychology courses delve into the principal areas of scientific psychology. This means that all Penn psychology courses, including those representing "applied psychology," take into account the particular methods of inquiry from which our knowledge is derived and the conceptual frameworks that organize the factual basis of the discipline. If you are seeking approval for a course that does not clearly have, at its core, a scientific foundation, it may not be approved. In these cases, you may be directed to seek credit from other Departments (e.g., HSOC).

Specific credits: PSYC291, PSYC293, PSYC294

If you are seeking approval for a course we do not offer at Penn, but one that is similar in scope and difficulty to our 100- or 200-level lecture courses, then, if approved, the course will be given one of the following numbers: PSYC291 for courses that are most similar to those in our "Biological" division; PSYC293 for those that are most similar to those in our "Cognitive" division; PSYC294 for those that are most similar to those in our "Social" division.  This course credit cannot be used towards any College sector requirements, but for Psych majors, this credit can be used for one of the distribution requirements at the 200-level lecture courses (or as an elective).


If you are seeking approval for a course we do not offer at Penn, and one that is of narrower breadth than our 100- and 200-level courses (i.e., a specialized topic or a seminar), then, if approved, the course may be given the number PSYC298 (for study abroad). This course credit will only satisfy elective requirements (in the College or the Psychology Major). This does not fulfill any of the specific core requirements in the major.


PSYC097 is the course number we assign study-abroad courses when our department does not offer an equivalent course. You can use this credit as an elective in the College, however, this credit does not count towards the requirements of the psychology major.

In some cases, you may want to consult with Wharton to see if they will offer you credit instead of PSYC. However, please note that Wharton only grants credit to courses from Wharton-approved study abroad programs. Wharton’s approved study abroad programs are not identical to the College’s approved study abroad programs.


Information for when you are abroad

For majors who are abroad, all transactions with the Department, including application for seminars and Advanced Registration, will be carried out via e-mail unless you make explicit alternative arrangements with the Undergraduate Coordinator.