Learn outside the classroom through travel, lecturers, and internships in the fields of Security Studies and Criminal Justice.

UMass Lowell offers many opportunities to travel both domestically and internationally. There are many opportunities ranging from week-long seminars to yearlong programs. Below are a few of the recent trips:


Over the summer, students had the opportunity to participate in an immersive two-week study abroad program in Portugal. The students were given insight into criminal justice issues in Portugal and across Europe. They used the knowledge they learned to look at the comparison between the United States justice system and the Portugal justice system. During their time in Portugal, they stayed in two locations, the city of Lisbon and the University of Minho Braga in North Western Portugal. At the university students were able to hear from Portuguese lecturers and learn in an academic setting about issues such as recidivism, drugs, cultural integration, cyber security and Portuguese Law. In the city of Lisbon the students took excursions to sites such as Portuguese prisons to explore the differences to the U.S. and learn more about their criminal justice system. This program was also the beginning of the Peer-2-Peer internship for the fall of 2017. Students will use their experiences and reflections on Portuguese culture, history and the security climate to support the development of a Countering Violent Extremism Project (CVE). This CVE project will then be fully developed in the fall 2017 semester and will be delivered to the Department of Defense in December 2017. This program offered 6 credits in the summer and an addition 3 credits during the fall 2017 semester. Read more on the UML faculty-led programs.

“Comparative Studies in Criminal Justice was mainly what the trips were for, such as focusing on the differences in healthcare, the difference in the criminal justice proceedings, meaning how they classify crimes, their different prison systems, and how they incarcerate. One of the main differences was their incarceration. When they are released there’s less of a sigma and they had a real focus on rehabilitation which was kind of what we got out of the class, the difference in their criminal justice system versus ours. The big thing was rehabilitation for them, whereas for us it was punishment.

“The trip was, for our major, a great concentration. Because we’ve been learning for the past 4 years about the United States and what we do here, it kind of puts us in a box of thinking repetitively about the same concepts, the same processes that we go through, and we were exposed to a totally new way of thinking that I definitely think [Portugal] can help us change our thinking, kind of revolutionize what we’re doing here. Because before we’d been exposed to the same information, same concepts, same classes, where [in Portugal] it was a whole new world, and I feel by combining those ideas we’re able to learn a lot more and produce a lot more when we leave here.”

            - Nico, Criminal Justice, Class of 2018

“You were applying what you learned in the classroom to real life. So all the classes I had about counterterrorism and forensic psychology and criminal justice and mental health, I was applying the concepts I’ve learned in the courses I taken at UMass Lowell to Portugal. In Portugal, to have that understanding I was able to connect all the things I was learning, which made it much more worthwhile so when I came back [to UMass Lowell] I can apply what I’ve learned to what I’ve learned in Portugal. Now I want to go back to Portugal in the spring for my honors thesis.

            - Matthew, Criminal Justice and Psychology, Class of 2018


For two weeks over the summer, a master’s student at UMass Lowell had the opportunity to study abroad in Israel through the Institute for National Security Studies. Each week was a different topic, including Jihadi terrorism in the Middle East and Israel national security threats. In the morning there were classes and lectures, taught by numerous individuals, including faculty from The University of Tel Aviv and retired generals from the IDF. The week included a simulation where the students would work in teams as different countries to solve a security crisis. The students were from around the world, allowing new perspectives to be shared. On the last day of the week they took an all day excursion to locations such as the Syrian Boarder and the Gaza Envelope. During the free time they has the ability to travel and would go to places such as Jerusalem, the beach, or the market. This program can be taken as a 3 credit course under a Security Studies elective.

“The most interesting part was Jerusalem. Driving to Jerusalem and talking to the taxi drivers about the security down there and the boarder between Israel and the west bank. Seeing the security in Jerusalem.”

“My biggest take away that I learned is that before I went there I thought Israel’s defined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And they couldn’t stress enough there that that’s like the least of their concern as far as Israel’s security studies. They’re much more concerned with a nuclear Iran or the civil war in Syria, Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah, Lebanon and the Palestine conflict comes in at a distinct 5th which I though was interesting.”

            - Matthew, Security Studies: International Security, Class of 2018

Learn more about UMass Lowell's Study Abroad programs

Washington D.C. - Cybersecurity Seminar

Over the summer of 2017, five students, led by faculty member Neil Shortland, Ph.D. participated in a weeklong Cybersecurity Seminar. This seminar allowed for students from across the country to come together and look at the issues surrounding cyber security today. In the mornings students heard from speakers working in the field of cyber security, including current and former staff of the White House and individuals working in the private business sector. In the afternoon the students took excursions around the city to places such as The Brookings Institution, Microsoft, and the Embassy of the United Kingdom to learn more about the threat of cyber security to businesses and governments and heard what is being done to combat the threat. Throughout the week discussions took place looking at how cyber security affects national security leading to a tabletop exercise on the final day where students participated in a simulated cyber attack and worked to resolve the issue by using the knowledge they learned during the week. The seminar was an opportunity for students to network, and they had the ability to meet with employees of different organizations including from the federal government to discuss career and job opportunities. This seminar gave students the opportunity to hear from experts and have creative dialogue while learning about different aspects of cyber security today. Washington D.C. allowed for the opportunity to hear and connect with those who work in the federal government and experience the nation’s capital and all it has to offer.

“During the seminar I learned about insider threat, risk awareness, threat assessments and how it’s important to incorporate playbooks. Cyber security is becoming more complex and more needed in our society and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn more about it from professionals in the field.”

- Colleen, Criminal Justice, Class of 2019

Washington D.C. - The Washington Center Academic Internship

For a summer or a semester students have the ability to “study abroad” in Washington D.C. The Washington Center provides students an opportunity to spend the semester interning in D.C. while also taking an academic and LEAD class to help students learn more about career paths and professional development. This experience provides career experience through an internship from a number of sites. Some places previous UMass Lowell students have interned include the United States Marshals Service, the Metropolitan Police Department, U.S. House or U.S. Senate and think tanks in the area of terrorism and security. Throughout the semester there will be opportunities to hear from speakers, attend events, and network with professionals in your area of interest. The University of Massachusetts Lowell works with students through the application process and students can earn credits in D.C. This opportunity allows for students to learn, gain experience, and make connections with professionals in your field.

“During my time at The Washington Center, I had the opportunity to intern with the U.S. Marshals. This experience allowed me to see the operations of a federal agency and provided many opportunities to network in the field. The program taught me how to make a federal resume, and through my internship I was able to hear from individuals from the DEA, FBI, Secret Service, and more learning about different career opportunities. Living in D.C. allowed me to gain experience that will aid me as I graduate college and start looking for a career.

            - Jennifer, Criminal Justice, Class of 2017

Learn more about The Washington Center. For more details, please contact Frank Talty, The Washington Center Liaison, at Francis_Talty@uml.edu.