Jun 07, 2023  
2019 - 2020 Academic Catalog 
2019 - 2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Off-Campus Study

Off-Campus Study programs exist in most regions of the world. You will find information on a very wide range of featured programs at https://travel.global.grinnell.edu.

Featured Programs

The programs featured on the Off-Campus Study portal have been carefully selected and are believed to represent some of the best opportunities available today in off-campus study. From among the broad academic and geographical diversity of options, most students should be able to identify a program well suited to their academic goals.

Types of Programs

Most programs offer you the opportunity to enhance your major, concentration, or other area of academic interest while broadening your liberal arts education by learning about another area of the world. In some programs, the courses offered are linked by a common theme, such as women’s studies, environmental studies, or global development studies. In others, coursework may be closely connected to a particular major such as biology or economics. Programs may be organized and operated by American educational institutions, universities abroad, or a combination of both in a cooperative arrangement. Formats vary from traditional classroom-based instruction to fieldwork, independent study, and internship.

Program Competitiveness

It is important to note that off-campus study programs vary considerably in competitiveness. While some programs are highly competitive, accepting only students with higher G.P.A.s and specific course preparation, others may have more relaxed criteria for admission. Specific prerequisites and G.P.A. requirements are normally set out in the program information materials. Campus Program Advisers are also able to advise you regarding your eligibility for a particular program. Normally, Grinnell students apply to only one off-campus study program. Denial of admission to Grinnell students is rare because of the screening that takes place during the on-campus approval process.

Yearlong Programs

Approval to attend yearlong programs is limited and is granted by the Off-Campus Study Board on a competitive basis to students demonstrating exceptional academic achievement, strong written rationale, and support for their plans from their major department.

Assessing the Importance of Off-Campus Study

You may already have a good idea about where and what you would like to study off campus. However, if you are just beginning to explore the possibilities, you should reflect seriously on what you are planning to do. Personally, at this point in your life and education, you are likely to be at the optimal point in your capacity to learn by living and studying in a new and challenging environment. Since off-campus study may hold valuable personal, academic, and professional benefits, the careful choice of an appropriate program may well be one of the most important decisions you make during your college career.

Core Rationale for Off-Campus Study

Grinnell requires that you select a program compatible with your academic goals, which you will clearly set out in a four-year course-plan and written rationale for off-campus study. It is up to you to define your goals in consultation with your academic adviser. Since your choice of program must be linked to your academic objectives, you should begin by thinking about why you want to study off campus, i.e., your core rationale. Most students choose to link their off-campus study to their major or concentration while others may wish to use the experience to enhance their understanding of other subjects studied on campus.

Additional Objectives for Off-Campus Study

In addition to the core rationale described above, your choice of program may be partly determined by additional academic objectives you want to achieve. For example, you may wish to broaden your liberal arts education by studying a language or taking courses not offered at Grinnell. You may also have broader educational goals connected to the experience of living in another culture. The possibility of community service, fieldwork, or an internship might be an important consideration. Additional objectives such as these are important to consider along with your core rationale and will help in selecting a program that is right for you.

Campus Program Advisers

A Program Adviser is assigned to every off-campus study program featured by Grinnell College. These advisers are familiar with the programs they represent and can provide you with detailed program information as well as answering any questions you may have.

Peer Advisers

The Institute for Global Engagement and Office of Off-Campus Study hire several Global Envoy peer advisers to provide general advice and mentoring for prospective and outbound students. In addition, every semester, large numbers of Grinnell students return from studying off campus. Talking with other students who have already studied on a program of interest to you is essential to making an intelligent decision about off-campus study.

International Students

Grinnell College is fortunate to have a diverse student body from many parts of the world. International students may be able to provide you with valuable insights and information to help you in making a decision about where to study off campus. The International Students Office will provide names of students from specified countries or regions.


Donna Vinter, English, Resident Director; Ross Haenfler, Sociology (2019 visiting faculty); Julianna Fuzesi, Political Science; Katy Layton-Jones, History

Grinnell-in-London offers students and faculty who teach on the program the opportunity to learn as a community about this dynamic place, its history, and its people through a careful selection of courses, opportunities for cultural integration, and co-curricular activities. Local staff offer a small set of regular program core courses that currently focuses on history, literature, politics, and theatre. The program curriculum is complemented by a rotating selection of courses offered by each year’s two guest Grinnell faculty, courses tailored to utilize London as a site and appeal to a range of students across disciplines. Students take 8 to 12 credits of program core courses, and choose one of two program tracks intended to provide a closer experience of British culture. One track is a course at Queen Mary College, University of London, an institution with one of the best campus cultures in London. Students interested in the Queen Mary track must meet a 3.0 GPA requirement. The other track is the internship track. Internship placements take into account the interests of each student. Several parliamentary internships have traditionally been available.

GLS 195 Sport and Identity in Britain 4 credits

See SOC-195.

ENG 275 The London Stage       4 credits

See THD-275.

HIS 231 History of London: The Making of Modern London 4 credits

The course proceeds chronologically through the history of London, from its Roman foundations to the impact of the Blitz and the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Using an array of primary and secondary sources, ranging from diaries to court proceedings, maps, newspaper journalism and paintings, we will trace the physical, social, cultural and political evolution of this historic city and the people who have populated it. Although we will begin with the origins of London, we will focus on the modern era, particularly the long nineteenth century. This will provide you with the opportunity to locate and observe evidence of the city’s history in the buildings and streets that surround you today. Prerequisite: None. LAYTON-JONES

POL 295 Governing Britain and its Regions: The Politics of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland  4 credits

This course introduces students to the institutions and politics of the United Kingdom and its regions. We will seek to understand the historical processes that shaped UK politics, and establish the basic components of the Westminster system. Building on this we will delve deeply into the history and resurgent politics of its regions: Scotland, which is on the brink of a referendum for independence; Wales, which is finding new assertiveness towards London; and Northern Ireland, which still recovers from conflict through its ongoing Peace Process. In order to bring readings and theory alive we will visit some of London’s many relevant sites, among them the House of Commons,  the offices of a Member of Parliament, the Royal Courts of Justice. With Britain at such a crucial juncture there has rarely been a more exciting time to study British politics. This course has no prerequisites except your curiosity and desire to develop your critical thinking skills. Prerequisite: None. FUZESI.

SOC 195 Sport and Identify in Britain

4 credits

Also listed as GLS-195. This course combines sociologies of sport, culture, and politics to examine sporting cultures, with particular emphasis on popular sports in Britain. We will explore definitions of sport, the role of sports in British society, and how sports are gendered, raced, and classed. Sport will help us consider broader issues of multiculturalism, globalism, nationalism, and colonialism. Other topics will include athletes as celebrities, the Paralympics, and football hooliganism. Football/soccer, cricket, tennis, rugby, and other major sports will serve as case studies, though fox hunting, rowing, polo, and boxing will also provide examples. Students will develop projects connecting a sport of their choosing with theoretical concepts discussed in class, for example asking how the politicians and organizers use the Olympics to develop a certain brand of nationalism and identity. Potential site visits include the London (Olympic) Stadium, Wimbledon, National Football Museum in Manchester, and various sporting matches. Prerequisite: None. Haenfler

SOC 295 U.K. Subcultures 4 credits

This course explores a variety of youth-oriented subcultures, focusing especially on how such cultures developed in the United Kingdom from the post-WWII period to the present day. London has been home to some of the most recognized subcultures around the world, including the Teddy boys, mods, rockers, skinheads/ska kids, punks, goths, Riot Grrrls, ravers, and a myriad of other groups. Theories of moral panics and subcultural resistance pioneered by UK scholars will play a central role in the class, offering a broad understanding of power/authority, control, and resistance. Taking a “whole life” perspective, students will study how subcultural participation influences and is influenced by political engagement, work and career, ageing, and leisure. How do skinheads engage in politics, how does being punk influence one’s career, and how do goths reconcile subcultural participation as they age? How subcultures both resist and reinforce dominant meanings of gender, race, sexuality, and social class will run throughout the course. Each student will study a subculture of their choosing throughout the semester. Potential site visits include: Stonehenge to study pagan subcultures; a fieldtrip to Brighton; tattoo and record shops; various music venues; and the Queer Tour of London. Prerequisite: None. HAENFLER

SST 295 Understanding Work in the UK & Internship 4 credits

Class discussions and assignments focus on understanding and interpreting students’ internship experiences and those of their co-workers within the UK work environment. Topics include the meaning of work and changing definitions of work, the emergence of the culture of overwork and pressures that interfere with a viable work-life balance, the growth of the service economy and consequent increased importance of ‘emotional labour’ (work requiring one’s emotional skills), the social costs of low pay, and the impact of EU legislation on the world of work in the UK.
Prerequisite: acceptance into regular internship. KAUFMAN, VINTER.

THD 275 The London Stage 4 credits

Also listed as ENG-275. This course will explore professional British theatre in all its variety, taking advantage of the unrivalled richness and diversity of the London stage. At its heart will be careful consideration of productions in the current London repertory, with plays ranging from classical to contemporary, and venues including subsidized, commercial and fringe theatres. We’ll think about theatre as a live performance art taking place in real time and space and, in those terms, all the different ways that theatre can be theatre. Course work will also include reading a selection of the plays we see, so as to cultivate students’ facility in analyzing dramatic texts of different styles and genres as they present human beings in significant action. Finally, since drama holds the mirror up to nature, we’ll have the opportunity to discuss the larger social, moral and political themes with which the plays are concerned - windows onto contemporary Britain and the wider world. Prerequisite: none. VINTER.

Queen Mary, University of London 4 credits

Students choose one 4-credit “module” (course) from the full range of academic departments at Queen Mary, University of London. Advising assistance will be provided by IES Abroad. Taking a course at Queen Mary avails a GIL student of all the student organizations and clubs at the London University with the most active student campus. This trach presents a great opportunity to meet British students and learn about a different part of London–the East End–at a British university well-regarded for the quality of its teaching.

Grinnell-in-Washington, D.C.

Program is currently suspended.


The Grinnell-in-Washington, D.C., program is offered in the first semester of each academic year. Part of the curriculum changes from year to year, reflecting the interests and expertise of the Grinnell faculty member leading the program that fall. Other courses—policymaking, internships, and the internship seminar—are offered every year.

Students are placed in internships that match their individual interests and experience. The internship is 12 weeks in length, Monday–Thursday, approximately 32 hours each week. During the internship, classes are on Fridays and on one weekday evening.

Students are housed in apartments in D.C., attend class just off Dupont Circle, and take multiple field trips in Washington, D.C.

Prerequisite: second-year status and good academic standing.