Children's Experience of War and Trauma

This four-week, six-credit program examines children's experiences of war and trauma from a psychological and neurological perspective.  Two courses will be taught on this program, splitting time between Pittsburgh and London, UK.  Prior to traveling abroad, you will have the opportunity to become certified in psychological first aid and learn about regional opportunities to work with children and young families who have experienced trauma. After completion of coursework and experiential activities in Pittsburgh, you will travel to London, UK to further explore conflict, adversity, and resilience from an international perspective.  The UK is at the forefront of dealing with the current refugee crisis, and, specifically, unaccompanied children traveling through Europe who are exposed to the elements, at risk of trafficking and have no safety and security. In addition, London offers the opportunity to study our understanding the impact of war on children from a historical perspective – through study at the Bowlby Centre, Foundling Museum, and the work of Anna Freud. Thus, the proposed study abroad experience will examine the psychological impact of living in conflict-ridden environments with a specific emphasis on the psychological and developmental consequences of war and terrorism in both historical and current contexts.

What You'll Accomplish
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to:
  • Understand the psychological and developmental consequences of war and trauma in both historical and current contexts
  • Recognize the symptoms and signs of stress and trauma as exhibited by young children 
  • Examine intervention techniques for families and resiliency factors that reduce consequences of adversity and trauma in children
If your first thoughts of London are the Royal Family and Downton Abbey, prepare to be blown away. English history and culture are juxtaposed against streets lined with Indian restaurants and Chinese New Year celebrations. The birthplace of the English language is now home to speakers of more than 30 other languages – and that is not counting the variety of English accents you will hear. Skyscrapers tower over 17th-century buildings while Big Ben overlooks the River Thames. Study abroad in London and you find yourself constantly surprised by what you discover in one of the world’s most diverse and global cities.
Where You'll Live

This is a four-week program. The first half of the program will be in Pittsburgh, the second half in London. 

You will be housed on-campus at the University of Pittsburgh for the first half of the program, should you require accommodations in town. 

In London, you will live in shared apartments spread across the city. While apartments are as varied as the city itself and no two residence are alike, all of them are located in safe neighborhoods and secure buildings. 

 You can expect the following:
  • Shared bedrooms (2 or 3 students/bedroom)
  • Bedding
  • Shared bathroom
  • Shared kitchen 
  • Internet access
  • Coin operated laundry 
Please note that meals are not included in the program fee.
You will receive your address, roommate information, and neighborhood description about 2 weeks before your departure for London.
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions.
What You'll Study

You will take 2 courses for 6 credits. The War and Children course is cross-listed between PSYED and PSY departments, so you will be enrolled in either PSYED 1089 or PSY 1050. In addition, you will take NROSCI 1045.

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate requirement, please meet with your respective advisor to discuss the program and what the courses will fulfill for you.

Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here.

Brain Development and Early Life Stress  (NROSCI1045)

This course examines the impact of early life stress on brain development. Specific topics include an overview of brain development, the HPA axis, brain circuitry underlying threat detection and fear responses, epigenetic mechanisms, and the role of caregiver-child interactions. This hybrid course includes online content, lecture, and a study abroad experience

Special Topics: War and Children (PSY1050)

War and terrorism affect all who are exposed to these traumatic experiences, including children.  This course will provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the psychological impact of conflict and adversity on young children and their development.  We will explore the importance of environmental supports, especially caretaking behavior and the role of attachment in resilience and coping.  Interventions for children and families exposed to trauma will be examined. 

War and Children (PSYED1089)

War and terrorism affect all who are exposed to these traumatic experiences, including children.  This course will provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the psychological impact of conflict and adversity on young children and their development.  We will explore the importance of environmental supports, especially caretaking behavior and the role of attachment in resilience and coping.  Interventions for children and families exposed to trauma will be examined. 

Pitt Study Abroad works with CAPA: The Global Education Network as the service provider for the London portion of the program. 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts

Nazir Noori

Salam! I’m Nazir and I'm your Study Abroad Program Manager. I was born and raised abroad and went to schools in Afghanistan, Iran, and the U.S. I also took classes in India and United Arab Emirates. I worked for the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and German Foreign Office for over ten years before moving to Pittsburgh in 2014. At the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, I assisted Afghan students to study in the U.S., and now I'm glad I have the opportunity to help you study abroad.

Schedule a Zoom appointment with me below or get in touch with me through email to discuss study abroad options.


Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app
  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
  • Select Pitt Global as the appointment type
  • Select General Study Abroad as the School/Unit
  • Select Study Abroad Program Specific Questions as the service
  • Select Study Abroad Virtual Advising as the Location
  • Select my name and find a time that works for you

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!

Your In-Country Contacts

Dr. Robert Gallen

Dr. Gallen is a Licensed Psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology.  Hereceived his BA from Bucknell University and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky.  He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas and his post-doctoral fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  He has been Endorsed at the Infant Mental Health-Mentor level by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.  He has been a professor of psychology for over 20-years at Georgetown College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Chatham University, and now serves as the Coordinator for MS programs in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to accepting this new role, he collaborated with various institutions in Western Pennsylvania to develop a certificate and two graduate programs in Infant Mental Health.  His recent research has focused on the professional development needs of Part C Early Intervention providers and assessing the relationship between attachment, stress and cortisol levels in infants living in high-risk circumstances. He has served on several advisory boards for regional agencies and the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. He is the founding president of the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health (PA-AIMH) and a ZERO TO THREE Fellow. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses including Developmental Psychopathology, Infant Mental Health, War and Children, and Family Dynamics. 

Dr. Jennifer Willford

Jennifer Willford, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Slippery Rock University.  At SRU, she is the program director for Neuroscience and Pre-professional Studies in Psychology and serves as the assistant director of the University’s Honors program. She teaches courses such as statistics, research methods, neuroscience, health psychology and positive psychology.

She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in Experimental Psychology at the University of Kentucky and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Willford has extensive experience teaching in an international context and traveling with students and has earned certification in global engagement as a high impact teaching practice. She served as a visiting professor through the SUNY Buffalo Research Foundation program in Psychology at the Singapore Institute of Management, and has led STEM themed study abroad trips to Prague, London, and Amsterdam.

Dr. Willford is passionate about working with students to develop life-long learning and research skills. Her teaching promotes active learning through innovative pedagogy and technology, global learning perspectives, and research. She believes that learning is a collaborative process and values the relationships she builds with students in and out of the classroom setting.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $543 $543
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,499 $5,699

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~1,300
Meals and Personal Expenses $1,000 - $1,500


Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

The amounts above are for the 2019-2020 academic year and should be used as estimates only. Pricing for 2020-2021 will be posted and announced in the fall term.

What's Included
As a part of your program fee, the following are included:
  • Tuition for 6 credits
  • Shared accommodations in Pittsburgh (if needed) and London
  • Academic site visits in Pittsburgh and London 
  • Excursions and cultural activities
  • International Health Insurance
When You'll Go

Dates for the 2020-2021 academic year will be posted in the fall!

What Else You Need to Know
  • Students must have completed Intro to Neuroscience OR Intro to Biopsychology AND EITHER Intro to Developmental Psychology or Abnormal Psychology in order to participate in this program.


  • Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
  • Remember that this is an intensive summer academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt. 
  • There are required excursions and activities outside of normal scheduled classes.