We encourage HSOC majors to study abroad.  The HSOC major does not run abroad programs, so for information on specific programs and the process of applying to study abroad, students should link to Penn Abroad.

How many courses from study abroad can count toward the HSOC Major?

  • Up to two courses relevant to the topic of the concentration and to HSOC as a liberal arts major can be accepted for credit in the major.
  • Courses from study abroad count toward the concentration only, not as department electives or core requirements.  (There are some exceptions, known as precedents, in which a course from a foreign program has been approved as equivalent to an HSOC course that meets a core or department requirement.)
  • Courses must be submitted to XCat and approved by the department in order to count for the HSOC major. NOTE: Once courses are approved by the department, they go into "division queue" to be approved by the College and the Registrar.  They will not appear on your worksheet or your transcript until the student's grades are sent from the abroad institution to Penn, and approved at the division level.  
  • Students in the IHP program may be able to count up to 3 courses for the major--See below.
  • Students should carefully consider how many courses for the HSOC major they are taking outside the College.

How do courses from abroad get onto the transcript?

  • All courses from abroad will appear on the transcript as HSOC 298, unless they have been approved to substitute for a specific course in the HSOC curriculum or as a free elective for the General Requirement.
  • After being submitted to XCat, and approved by the department, they are approved by the College and then by the Registrar, who puts them onto the transcript when the institution abroad sends the grades.  Department approval is just the first step and does not put the course onto a student's transcript.

HSOC majors interested in studying abroad should carefully plan how and when to fulfill their core major requirements and department electives at Penn before and after being abroad.  (For example, going abroad in spring of junior year precludes being able to write a senior thesis because the student will be unable to take HSOC 420.)

Some information on IHP:

  • International Honors Program’s “Health and Community” Study Abroad Program has proved to be "HSOC abroad" so we may accept up to 3 courses from this program into the major.  (See XCat for more information)
  • Here is what one HSOC major said about her IHP experience:

    "My junior year at Penn, I had the opportunity to study abroad through the International Honors Program’s (IHP’s) Health and Community program. Health and Community brought me together with 33 other college students who were interested in studying approaches to health and health care around the world. Students in the group were majoring in everything from public health to comparative literature to bioengineering—so although we had similar interests, everyone contributed different ideas and perspectives. IHP is unique in its comparative approach. We spent two weeks in Washington, D.C. and approximately a month in South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil; (other Health and Community trips go to different locations). Two professors traveled with us for the entire semester, each teaching two courses related to public health. Classes were supplemented by guest speakers and site visits. In addition, home-stays in South Africa, Vietnam, and Brazil enabled us to immerse ourselves into local culture and get to know our hosts on a much deeper level than we otherwise would.
        For me, IHP’s Health and Community program was the ideal supplement to the Health and Societies curriculum. I saw firsthand many of the concepts I had studied in the classroom and was introduced to new topics that largely steered the remainder of my undergraduate career as a Health and Societies major. For more information about studying abroad with IHP, go to www.ihp.edu."

            --Masha Jones '11, Health and Societies (Public Health Concentration)

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