Study Abroad / Affiliated Programs / HECUA

Northern Ireland

Democracy and Social Change

Fall and Spring Semester

In 1969, society in Northern Ireland was seized by violent conflict that erupted from issues relating to civic, political, and social differences. Today, Northern Ireland provides an example of the vast dimensions of transition from conflict to a sustainable democracy. In the Democracy and Social Change program, you will examine the historical, political and religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the prospects for peace and the progress being made. Classes are held at the University of Ulster with field study in selected regions of Northern Ireland.


The courses are taken as an integrated whole and provide the equivalent of a semester’s worth of credit.

Understanding the Politics of the Northern Ireland Conflict (1 course)
Building a Sustainable Democracy (1 course)
Internship Placement and Integration Seminar (equivalent to 2 courses)

Sample Syllabus (PDF)

Example of Internship Sites


Five weeks are spent in homestay accommodations on the north coast in Coleraine while taking core seminars at the University of Ulster.

You will be provided with a private room. During the seven-week internship, you will live in a student village in Belfast or London/Derry and share living space with other students. Meals are provided through home stay or food stipend.


This HECUA semester abroad is an Saint Mary’s Affiliated Program. As such, all Federal and State aid (except work study) and up to $2,000 in Saint Mary’s institutional aid may be applied to the program’s costs. Contact the Director of Study Abroad to discuss program fees and financial aid.

HECUA distributes three distinctive scholarships to students applying or enrolled in HECUA programs. To learn more visit HECUA’s Scholarship Resource Page.

Program Dates/Application Deadline

The Fall Semester 2017 program dates are August 31 through December 9, 2017. The application deadline is March 15, 2017. The Spring Semester 2018 program dates are February 1 through May 12, 2018. The application deadline is November 1, 2017.

Application Procedures

To be eligible, you must have at least a 2.0 GPA (preferably a 2.5 GPA) and be of sophomore status.

Apply and Pay Application Fee of $50 online, submit a copy to the Study Abroad Office along with Saint Mary’s required paperwork.  Application may be picked up in the Study Abroad Office, International Center, the Heights.

Apply Now!

Acceptance is contingent on a thorough review of the student’s application and subsequent approval from HECUA.

Next Steps

After acceptance, complete the following required items.

  1. Pay $400 non-refundable program deposit payable to Saint Mary’s.
  2. Attend all orientation sessions.
  3. Obtain a passport. Submit a copy of the first page to the Study Abroad Office.
  4. Arrange travel plans. Submit a copy of your flight itinerary to the Study Abroad Office.
Country/City Information

Northern Ireland covers 5,459 square miles in the northeast of the island of Ireland, about a sixth of the total area of the island, and has a population of approximately 1,685,000.

Coleraine is a large town in County Londonderry at the mouth of the River Bann. It is 56 miles northwest of Belfast and 31 miles east of Derry. It has a population of approximately 24,000.

Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city of Ireland. The population within city limits is approximately 276,000, and approximately 579,000 live in the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area. It is near the mouth of River Lagan and has the Castlereagh Hills on the south and the Antrim Hills on the north.

Derry (Londonderry) is the second largest city in Northern Ireland and covers both banks of the River Foyle that is connected by two bridges. The population within the city proper is approximately 83,000, and approximately 91,000 live in the Derry Urban area.

The whole of Northern Ireland has an oceanic climate, rather wetter in the west than the east, although cloud cover is persistent across the region. The weather is unpredictable at all times of the year, and although the seasons are distinct, they are considerably less pronounced than in Minnesota. Average daytime maximums are 44 °F (7 °C) in January and 64 °F (18 °C) in July.

When Central Standard Time is in effect in the United States, Northern Ireland is six hours ahead.

British currency (sterling) consists of pounds (£) and pence (p), sometimes referred to as “quid” and “p.” 100p = £1. Notes are issued for £5, £10, £20, and £50 and coins for 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, and £2.

More Information

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