Study Abroad

Study Abroad for Biology Majors

Biology majors should plan to go abroad during the fall or spring semester of their junior year. Because of the year-long senior research requirement, going abroad in fall of senior year necessitates choosing a senior research project that can be conducted in two successive spring semesters, and starting that project during the junior year.

Some places Biology majors have studied abroad recently

  • University of Salamanca, Spain
  • University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Organization for Tropical Studies (Duke University), Costa Rica
  • University of Westminster, England
  • Beaver College Program in Florence, Italy

Department Rules Regarding Transfer Credit

  • You must receive departmental approval in advance for any courses you wish to transfer for credit towards the biology major. Petitions should be submitted to the Department Chair, Steve Adolph. He can be reached via email at adolph@hmc.edu.
  • Substitutes for biology core courses (Bio 101, 108, 109 or 113) may be taken abroad with advance approval. Courses taken abroad may not be used to fulfill the biology seminar course requirement.
  • The biology colloquium requirement is waived for the semester you study abroad.

Spring vs. Fall

If you are planning to go away spring semester of your junior year, it is advisable to take at least one biology core course (Bio 101 or 108) in sophomore spring. If going away in the fall of junior year, it is advisable to take Bio 109 in sophomore fall.

Interested in Molecular Biology?

For students with a strong interest in molecular biology, it is easier to go abroad junior spring rather than junior fall. Molecular biology (Bio 113 + lab) and organic chemistry are only offered fall semester, and waiting until senior fall to take these courses will make it difficult for you to do senior research in any area of molecular biology.

Transfer Units

At many institutions, 4 courses is the maximum load you are allowed to take. This normally transfers into HMC as 16 units.

Humanities and Social Sciences

Make steady progress on your on-campus Humanities & Social Sciences courses, since Hum/Soc courses taken abroad will count as off-campus courses.

Preparing for the unexpected

It is a good idea to identify and petition for approval of more courses than you will actually take while abroad. This helps if there are unexpected changes in offerings by your host institution. Advance approval is required for your protection—it is best to avoid surprises about what will and won’t transfer when you return!

Keep in Touch

If you go away in the spring of your junior year, maintain contact with your academic advisor so that you can be kept informed about senior research opportunities.

For Further Advice

Professor Catherine McFadden has agreed to help advise biologists in consultation with the Study Abroad Committee. She can be reached via email at mcfadden@hmc.edu. Visit the HMC Study Abroad website for more information.

Study Abroad for Joint Chemistry and Biology Majors

Joint chemistry and biology majors should plan to go abroad during spring of junior year. Because many of the major requirements are fall semester courses (Chem 105/111, Chem 103/109, Bio 111/113 and Bio/Chem 189), the only feasible way to go away during a fall semester is to arrange in advance to substitute courses taken abroad for one or more of these required courses. Going abroad in fall of senior year also necessitates choosing a senior research project that can be conducted in two successive spring semesters, and starting that project during the junior year.

Recent Study Abroad Locations for Joint Majors

  • University College London

Department Rules Regarding Transfer Credit

You must receive departmental approval in advance for any courses you wish to transfer for credit towards the major. Petitions should be submitted to the relevant Department Chair (Chemistry Chair for chem courses, Biology Chair for bio courses).

Substitutes for biology electives B and C may be taken abroad with advance approval.

Biochem courses can be substituted with advance approval.

The colloquium requirement is waived for the semester you study abroad.

Spring Travel

If you are planning to go away junior spring, it is advisable to take at least one biology elective course (Bio 101 or 108) in sophomore spring.

Transfer Units

At many institutions, 4 courses is the maximum load you are allowed to take. This normally transfers into HMC as 16 units.

Preparing for the unexpected

It is a good idea to identify and petition for approval of more courses than you will actually take while abroad. This helps if there are unexpected changes in offerings by your host institution. Advance approval is required for your protection—it is best to avoid surprises about what will and won’t transfer when you return!

Keep in Touch

If you go away in the spring of your junior year, maintain contact with your academic advisor so that you can be kept informed about senior research opportunities.

For Further Advice

Professor Catherine McFadden has agreed to help advise biologists in consultation with the Study Abroad Committee. She can be reached via email a mcfadden@hmc.edu. For more information, visit the HMC Study Abroad Program website.