Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Snapshot
Semester: Spring
Offered: Odd years - Spring 2025, Spring 2027
Estimated Dates: Early January to mid-April
Program Focus: Regional Area Study with Social Science Emphasis
Prerequisites: PSY 100, 200, 300; or PSY 100 and major department’s quantitative and research methods courses; minimum of 2.75 GPA highly recommended. Students must satisfy the Words and Numbers CORE requirement before participating in an overseas program.
Spring 2025 Program Leader: Tom Schoeneman, Professor of Psychology, 503-768-7649

Program Design

This program is offered in cooperation with Big Pond Education, based in Dublin and specializing in Ireland. Using Dublin as a base, students explore Ireland through the study of its history; literature; theater; and contemporary social issues. This program is designed by the Psychology Department and focuses on social issues and the provision of social services in Ireland, and the relationship of psychology and the social sciences to community welfare. In addition to an internship placement at social welfare agencies in Dublin, students will focus on relevant social and economic questions through classes, lectures, group discussions, field trips, and attendance at cultural events.

The program is open to Psychology majors who have completed the introductory sequence of Intro Psychology, Statistics, and Psychology Methodology; to other Social Science majors who have completed Intro Psych and their programs’ quantitative and research methods courses; and to other majors who have relevant and comparable preparation.

About the Onsite Staff:

Karl Dowling - Karl is co-founder and COO at Big Pond Education, an international education organization headquartered in Ireland and dedicated to socially just and environmentally sustainable education abroad. Karl is a co-founder of the Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI). He is a self-professed coffee snob, a rabid football (soccer!) fan and Big Pond’s resident eco-warrior.

Mark Blakemore - Mark is the second co-founder at Big Pond and oversees how the Big Pond ‘sustainability-committed education abroad’ message is told to the world. His sustainability passion is growing his own food. He’s a keen basketball player and as well as telling the Big Pond story, he likes to tell his own story about being an NBA dropout.

About the Program Leader: Tom Schoeneman - Professional Interests: Historical and current stereotypes of mental disorder, metaphors and images of madness, cultural conceptions of individualism, social constructionism and postmodernism in psychology, attribution theory, self-concept.


Requirements Fulfilled:

General Education - This program fulfills the Global Perspectives general education requirement for students who successfully complete 8 or more semester credits. IS 268 or IS 269 fulfills the Culture, Power and Identity general education requirement. IS 270 fulfills the Creative Arts general education requirement.

Major Requirements: PSY 345 may be applied to the Psychology major.

Credits: 16 credits (4 courses)


IS 268: Irish Life & Cultures (4 credits)

This course introduces the traditions and values of Irish culture and society, as well as the key currents underpinning social change in Ireland in the 21st century. The course begins with a profile of Irish society and a historical overview of its core features in the latter half of the 20th century. The course then examines continuity and change in some of the key categories of Irish society such as religion, culture, economy and politics via their encounter with modernity.

IS 269: The Irish Welfare System (4 credits)

Students examine central questions about the Irish welfare system: Where can we find social welfare policies? Where do social welfare policies come from? How and by whom are they implemented? The course will help students to understand how the welfare system and its component institutions work, how they are interrelated, and how they are influenced and constrained by surrounding factors.

IS 270: Irish Literature and Theatre (4 credits)

This course provides an introduction to a number of great classics of Irish literature and theatre and gives students the opportunity to explore the important role that Irish writers have played in the shaping of Irish history. Close reading of texts from the 19th century to the present will reveal common and unifying themes: history, violence and cultural memory, the relation between the individual writer and the nation state, the conflicts of allegiance called forth by the claims of self and place, radical aesthetics, and a unifying tradition.

PSY 345: Overseas Internship: Dublin (4 credits)

This course takes place alongside participants’ community placement and explores current issues in social welfare provision particularly in the nonprofit, non-governmental sector. Such issues include education, HIV/AIDS, youth unemployment, homelessness, family life, mental health, aging, and environmental problems.

Excursions: The program includes three group excursions. Students travel with local faculty to Western Ireland to explore ancient Irish culture, learn about traditional ways of living, and see diverse and lush landscapes along the western coast. The group also visits Northern Ireland (Belfast and Derry) to learn about the tumultuous political history of Ireland. Students gain context and perspective of contemporary Irish politics by visiting Parliament to understand the political structure of Northern Ireland, touring the city with local activists, and visiting important sites and monuments. This excursion allows students to learn about and remember the violence and pain that this region of Ireland in particular has experienced, while seeing firsthand how divided communities can come together with the mutual desire for peace. The final excursion is a theater workshop in Mullagh, Co. Cavan led by the group’s theater professor. This weekend workshop provides a special opportunity for the group to work with a local Irish theater group in a small Irish town outside of Dublin and put their academics studies in practice.

Student Life

Housing: Students live in apartment-style housing. Each apartment has several bedrooms and a shared bathroom, kitchen, and living room. The building also has a common room, a study room, and a gym. Students will have the chance to connect with local students living in the same building.

Extracurricular Activities: As students at Dublin Business School (DBS), there are many opportunities to get involved in on-campus clubs, societies, and organizations. Follow this link to read a bit more about student life at DBS.


2024-2025 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $40,962

Tuition: $32,197

Program Fee: $8,728

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals.  *Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and local transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to DUB): $700 - $1,500

Estimated Travel Document Fees: €300 - €350

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,906

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Students must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application one year before the start of the program. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their secondary application to Big Pond and will receive a separate notification letter of admission. Please keep a digital copy of your essays and other application materials, as you will need to submit these similar materials to Big Pond. Please note that this secondary application process can take place as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

The semester before the program, students who have been accepted will meet regularly for orientation. This orientation is meant to prepare the students for life in Dublin by exploring literature and culture, and provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the logistical details of the program.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Dublin airport (DUB), where they meet as a group and will be transported to their housing.  

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to Ireland.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s Ireland page.

Ireland, Dublin