Study Abroad for Biology Majors

When You Should Go

Biology majors generally go abroad during the fall or spring of 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.

Places Biology Majors Have Studied Abroad

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

Department Rules for Transferring Credit

  • You must receive departmental approval in advance for courses you wish to transfer for credit towards the biology major (petitions should be submitted to the Department Chair)
  • 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

Frequently Given Advice

  • If you are planning to go away junior spring, it is advisable to take at least one biology core course (Bio 101 or 108) in sophomore spring. If going away junior fall, it is advisable to take Bio 109 in sophomore fall.
  • 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.
  • At many institutions, four courses is the maximum load you are allowed to take. This normally transfers into HMC as 16 units.
  • Make steady progress on your on-campus Humanities & Social Sciences courses, since Hum/Soc courses taken abroad will count as off-campus courses
  • 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!
  • 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.

Further Advice

For further advise, Professor Catherine McFadden (mcfadden@hmc.edu) has agreed to help advise biologists along with the Study Abroad Committee.

Example Plan for Studying Abroad Fall of Junior Year

Freshman Fall Units Spring Units
 Chem 21 and 25 4  Chem 22 and 26 4
 Phys 23 2  Phys 24 and 28 4
 Math 11 and 12 4  Math 13 and 14 3
 CS 5 3  Bio 52 3
 Hum 1 4  Hum 2 3
 Total 17  Total 17
Sophomore Fall Units Spring Units
 Bio 109 3  Bio 54 1
 Math 61 and 62 3  Bio 101 (or 108) 3
 Phys 51 and 53 4  Carbons and Carbons Lab 4
 Hum/Soc #1 3  Math 63 and 64 3
 E59 or Hum/Soc #2 3  Hum/Soc #2 3
E59 or Hum/Soc #3 3
 Total 16  Total 17
   
Junior Fall – STUDY ABROAD! Units* Spring  Units
 Bio Elective + lab** 4  Bio 108 (or 101) 3
 Bio Elective + lab 4  Bio Seminar 3
 Hum/Soc #4*** 4  Hum/Soc #6 3
 Hum/Soc #5 4  Hum/Soc #7 3
 IE Course 3
 Colloquium 0
 Total 16  Total 15
   
Senior Fall Units Spring Units
 Sr. Research 3  Sr. Research 3
 Bio 113 + lab 5  Hum/Soc #9 3
 Organic Chem 3  Hum/Soc #10 3
 Hum/Soc #8 3  Elective 3
 Elective 3  Elective 3-Jan
 Colloquium 0  Colloquium 0
 Total 17  Total 13-15

*Some countries and/or institutions allow a maximum of four courses per semester. While fewer in number than a normal HMC load, these have transferred in as 16 units for the semester.

**At most universities lecture courses must be taken with accompanying laboratories.
***Note that it is possible to take 4 humanities courses and no biology courses while abroad.

Example Plan for Studying Abroad Spring of Junior Year

Freshman Fall Units Spring Units
 Chem 21 and 25 4  Chem 22 and 26 4
 Phys 23  2  Phys 24 and 28 4
 Math 11 and 12 4  Math 13 and 14 3
 CS 5 3  Bio 52 3
 Hum 1 4  Hum 2 3
 
 Total
17  Total 17
Sophomore Fall Units Spring Units
 Bio 109 3  Bio 54 1
 Math 61 and 62 3  Bio 101 (or 108) 3
 Phys 51 and 53 4  Carbons and Carbons Lab 4
 Hum/Soc #1 3  Math 63 and 64 3
 E59 or Hum/Soc #2 3  Hum/Soc #2 or E59 3
 Hum/Soc #3 3
   Total 16   Total 17
Junior Fall Units Spring – STUDY ABROAD! Units*
 Bio 113 + lab 5  Bio Elective + lab** 4
 Organic Chem 3  Bio Elective + lab 4
 Hum/Soc #4 3  Hum/Soc #6*** 4
 Hum/Soc #5 3  Hum/Soc #7 4
 Elective or E59 3
 Colloquium 0
 Total 17  Total 16
Senior Fall Units Spring Units
 Sr. Research 3  Sr. Research 3
 Bio Seminar 3  Bio 108 (or 101) 3
 Hum/Soc #8 3  Hum/Soc #10 3
 Hum/Soc #9 3  Elective 3
 IE Course 3  Elective 3-Jan
 Colloquium 0  Colloquium 0
 Total 15  Total 13-15

*Some countries and/or institutions allow a maximum of four courses per semester. While fewer in number than a normal HMC load, these have transferred in as 16 units for the semester.

**At most universities lecture courses must be taken with accompanying laboratories.
***Note that it is possible to take 4 humanities courses and no biology courses while abroad.

Example Plan for Studying Abroad Spring of Junior Year – Molecular Option

Freshman Fall Units Spring Units
 Chem 21 and 25 4  Chem 22 and 26 4
 Phys 23 2  Phys 24 and 28 4
 Math 11 and 12 4  Math 13 and 14 3
 CS 5 3  Bio 52 3
 Hum 1 4  Hum 2 3
 Total 17   Total 17
Sophomore Fall Units Spring Units
 Bio 109 3  Bio 54 1
 Pchem 3  Bio 101 (or 108) 3
 Math 61 and 62 3  Carbons and Carbons Lab 4
 Phys 51 and 53 4  Math 63 and 64 3
 Hum/Soc #1 3  Hum/Soc #2 3
 E59 or Hum/Soc #3 3
  Total 16   Total 17
Junior Fall Units Spring – STUDY ABROAD! Units*
 Bio 113 + lab 5  Bio Elective + lab** 4
 Organic Chem + lab 4  Biochemistry + lab 4
 Hum/Soc #3 or E59 3  Hum/Soc #5*** 4
 Hum/Soc #4 3  Hum/Soc #6 4
 Colloquium 0
  Total 15   Total 16
Senior Fall Units Spring Units
 Sr. Research 3  Sr. Research 3
 Bio Seminar 3  Bio 108 (or 101) 3
 Hum/Soc #7 3  Hum/Soc #9 3
 Hum/Soc #8 3  Hum/Soc #10 3
 IE Course 3  Elective 3
 Colloquium 0  Colloquium 0
  Total 15   Total 15

*Some countries and/or institutions allow a maximum of four courses per semester. While fewer in number than a normal HMC load, these have transferred in as 16 units for the semester.

**At most universities lecture courses must be taken with accompanying laboratories.
***Note that it is possible to take 4 humanities courses and no biology courses while abroad.