Policy Research Methods & Service Learning in Dublin

You will have the opportunity to earn six credits while exploring Dublin over this six-week program. The program offers students the opportunity to study and research politics, social issues in the heart of Dublin. This program is designed for students of all majors with particular interests in politics, history, gender studies, economics public policy, communications and more. Students on this six-week program will take two courses for a total of six credits. In the Policy Research Methods, you will conduct original research along with guidance from your faculty to look at political and social issues in Dublin. In the Service-Learning course, you will partner with local NGOs related to the contemporary issues in Dublin. This program also offers you the opportunity to experience first-hand the world-famous Irish literature, theater and music.  The city will become your classroom. Several cultural activities and excursions will also be included along with a day trip outside of Dublin.

What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:

  • Knowledge about Irish culture from two courses of your choice including research methods and evaluation skills
  • Appreciation for traditional Irish culture, literature and pop culture
  • Global competence by communicating with people with different backgrounds
  • To learn about issues facing Ireland with the focus on the historical, geographical, social, economic, political and cultural contexts 
  • To develop leadership and team-working skills through active community engagement projects

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is a city rich in vibrant culture and history.  Originally founded as a Viking settlement, it has become Ireland's principal city.  The city resides on the banks of the river Liffey and is home to one of the youngest populations in Europe.  It is full of rich cultural and artistic heritage. 


You will have the opportunity to explore Dublin over this four-week program.  Dublin is home to many historic monument, castles and churches.  Opportunities to visit popular cultural sites such as Dublin Castle, O'Connell Street, Grafton Street, and Trinity college are among the out of the classroom experiences you can enjoy.  Dublin also has more green spaces per kilometer than any other European city.  You will have a healthy balance of course work mixed with independent time to explore Dublin and the surrounding area.  Dublin is well connected by rail to other cities in Ireland.


Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. In June, the temperatures are pretty mild can average 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. It is important though to be prepared with a variety of clothes that you can layer with during your program.

Where You'll Live: 

Students will live in shared apartments in a student residence building. The apartments that are located within the city center and be close to many restaurants, shopping and other modern conveniences. Typical commute time to the CEA Center where you will have your classes is between 30 and 45 minutes walking. On average you can expect two to six students per apartment and some apartments may have up to eight students. Typical student bedrooms accommodate two students; some bedrooms may accommodate three students. Housing placements are finalized later in the Spring semester and specific addresses will be provided 1-2 weeks before departure.

  • Beds
  • Bedding, bed linens
  • Tables or desks and chairs
  • Wardrobe
  • Couch
  • In-suite bathrooms
  • Fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, oven/stove, pots, pans, dishes, silverware, cups and glasses)
  • Wi-Fi

Students will be housed in student apartments in a student residence. Students will live in three or four bedroom apartments in single rooms. Each bedroom is fully furnished and features a desk, wardrobe, side table and bed. The common area of the apartment is furnished with a couch, TV and dining room table and chairs. There is one bathroom per apartment.

Please note that there is not a meal plan, but many students will use the kitchen and cook their own meals at home. 
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'll earn a total of 6 credits on the Pitt in Dublin program. You will take two courses on the program. The Policy Research Methods course in Dublin course is taught by Pitt professor Kristin Kanthak. The Service Learning course will be taught by local faculty members. The courses will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, cultural activities excursions.

In these courses you will study:

  • Identify and explore real-world public policy challenges
  • Conduct social experiments and research in project teams under the guidance of faculty members with expertise in a field related to the policy project
  • Analyze and provide recommendations to policy issues
  • Service-Learning projects with Local non-profits and NGOs


If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this 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.

Policy Research Methods in Dublin (PSXXXX)

This 3-credit course will introduce students to issues facing Ireland and specifically Dublin from multiple disciplines. The focus will be on the politics and public policy, but will also include, social, economic, and cultural contexts. Student will be in project teams and be conducting experiments/research through surveys, interviews and other data collection methods.  Topics that will be explored may include politics, healthcare/health policy, education, gender, and more. Students will learn through lectures, observations and personal communication with community.

Contemporary Issues Through Service-Learning (SOC1515)

This is an interdisciplinary course with a sociological focus, as well as a unique opportunity to become directly involved in the realities of community engagement and grassroots politics through community service placements. It is designed to engage students in critical thought and reflection on urban inequalities in London while examining the historical, sociological, and political context of community service and social, economic, and political exclusion in the UK. 

Experiential Learning Description: 

Service -Learning Placement Fields
Project teams will work on-site at a local non-profit or NGO completing daily assigned tasks and in addition will be guided to identify a sustainable project that meets the needs of the organization, based on students academic and professional interests and skills.
Service-learning projects provide an opportunity to creatively apply and develop skills and knowledge from almost any academic field  to address some of the challenges that local communities are dealing with.

In an effort to combine the needs of local partner organizations and the skills of individual students, participants will be asked to complete a skills based application. The review committee will then place students into project teams. Please note that project teams are decided and assigned after acceptance into the program, based on the skills and academic background of the applicants and the needs of the organizations. You will not be able to request a particular placement.
Reach out to your Pitt program manager to learn more about placements.

The University of Pittsburgh partners with CEA Study Abroad on this program. The mission of CEA is to create and facilitate opportunities for academic achievement, global competence and personal growth through quality international education.
Since 1997, CEA has maintained one simple philosophy: To provide high-quality international academic programs and services. For students and universities, that means support through each step of the study abroad experience, from start to finish. Along the way, students learn to adapt and communicate across cultures. They earn credits toward graduation while gaining skills that enhance their employability.
The CEA Dublin Center opened its doors in 2010 and provides an interdisciplinary liberal arts and business education in the heart of Dublin, with courses in a range of business and liberal arts subjects. You’ll enjoy an invaluable opportunity to actively improve your global competency while immersed in a city where the traditional Celtic world and the modern era blend effortlessly. The CEA Dublin Center enjoys a unique association with the International School of Business, which specializes in study abroad programs for European students. The CEA Dublin Center and ISB share teaching facilities and housing options, leading to a richer cultural experience for both U.S. and EU students. This partnership also offers you all the benefits of a large school, while maintaining an intimate classroom experience.
Designed to build on the natural strengths of the city’s history, culture, and business environment, curriculum at the CEA Dublin Center focuses on international business and culture in Ireland. Each course incorporates multiple activities, designed to take the curriculum out of the classroom and into the community. These may include visits to museums, Parliament, local and international businesses, and first-hand encounters with locals through interviews, social activities, and sporting events. You’re encouraged to apply the lessons learned in class to real-life, drawing connections between the subjects examined during class and daily life in the host community. This ongoing, active, and reflective structure of study not only helps you gain a better historical and social understanding of Dublin and contemporary Ireland, but helps you develop the international cultural fluency required to communicate and function effectively in an increasingly globalized world.
The CEA Dublin Center’s mission is not simply to provide you with the tools and direction to learn about Ireland, but also to reflect and articulate critically on your own national, cultural and social identities. Faculty at the CEA Dublin Center foster intellectual and cultural growth by engaging in lively debates, multi-media research presentations, and round-table discussions. Purposefully small learning environments provide the flexibility to accommodate individual student needs and learning styles. The CEA Dublin team is available throughout your program to assist and support you 24/7 with any urgent situations.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Tim Crawford

Hi Everyone! I’m Tim, and I am the Assistant Director for Domestic Study Away Programming. I have experience running international study abroad programs and programs here at home in the United States. I was fortunate to have many experiential learning opportunities, both international and domestic, during my college career. Being from a small town in Central Pennsylvania, my experiences opened my eyes to the rest of the world and helped open my eyes to different cultures and career opportunities I’d love to help you take advantage of the numerous experiential learning opportunities here at Pitt. Outside of the office, I’m always looking for the next adventure. I love traveling, hate sitting still and love doing anything outdoors, in all seasons. Personally, my family and I are on a quest to visit as many national parks as possible. I’d love to talk to you more about any of our study away programs, answer any of your questions and help you find the right opportunity. Please reach me via email at timcrawford@pitt.edu

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Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Kristin Kanthak

Dr. Kristin Kanthak, is an associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the effects on political representation of exogenous constraints such as political institutions. Most casual observers of politics either ignore or underestimate the importance of these constraints in determining the translation of political actors’ preferences into actual policy outcomes. They think, instead, that if only politicians were sincere agents for their constituents, the views of constituents would seamlessly translate to the correct policy outcomes. But the real story is much more complex, and one that requires the careful consideration of the effects of these constraints in order to better understand the pathologies of representation that are inherent in any political system.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $4,343 $4,343
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $9,299 $9,499

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare $1,000 - $1,200
Personal Expenses and Meals $1,000 - $2000
Local Cell phone $100

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 Dublin program fee, the follow are included in the program:

  • Tuition for six credits
  • Group airport transfers
  • Housing in shared apartments in the city center
  • Academic site visits
  • Variety of social and cultural activities to help students learn about the host culture (Example: An evening of Irish Music and Dance)
  • Two day trips
When You'll Go: 

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