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Bobcats without Borders

Suggested Programs for Biological Sciences

Biology students need to plan more than students in most other majors, and many students need to take pre-med requirements. While Natural Sciences students may easily take care of humanities, arts, and social science electives abroad, there are programs that might help take care of preparatory and major requirements. Below are suggested programs for biology students with different goals for study abroad.

Field work in Costa Rican cloud forest

Field work in Costa Rican cloud forest

Field work in Costa Rican cloud forest


Biology students need to plan more than students in most other majors, and many students need to take pre-med requirements. While Natural Sciences students may easily take care of humanities, arts, and social science electives abroad, there are programs that might help take care of preparatory and major requirements. Below are suggested programs for biology students with different goals for study abroad.

Programs Suggested for Human Biology

Biological & Life Sciences, Netherlands

Expand your knowledge of medical practice and policies in the Netherlands. Examine medical case studies at Maastricht University while taking hand-picked courses, spanning from human genetics to medical ethics, in English. Courses are taught using Problem-Based Learning (PBL) which emphasizes solving real-world problems in small tutorial groups.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

English Universities: Univ. of Manchester

Are you interested in pursuing a career in medicine? The Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester offers a wide range of courses for those interested in Biological Science and the history of science, technology, and medicine. This University is particularly strong in human as well as molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

Special note: For the Univ. of Manchester you will need to apply to the "English Universities" program and rank the Univ. of Manchester as your top choice.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Univ. of Hong Kong

Take courses to substitute BIO 101 (Biochemistry), 141 (Evolution), molecular medicine/cancer genetics, endocrinology, bioinformatics, or microbiology along with many other upper-division biology electives.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Scottish Universities: Univ. of Edinburgh

Work on courses in Scotland to take care of BIO 161 (Human Physiology), 141 (Evolution), or electives like cancer biology, biostatics, neurobiology, developmental biology, or a wide selection of additional upper-division electives.

Special note: For the Univ. of Edinburgh you will need to apply to the "Scottish Universities" program and rank the Univ. of Edinburgh as your top choice.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

McGill Univ., Canada

Take on courses to substitute BIO 101 (Biochemistry), 140 (Genetics), 120 & 120L (Microbiology), or a selection of upper-division electives like biophysics or neurobiology.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Yonsei Univ., Korea

Yonsei Univ. in Korea is the most popular study abroad destination for biology students outside the UK and courses are available in English.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application (summer or semester/year)

Lund Univ., Sweden

Lund Univ. in Sweden is a great fit for human biology students at a low cost for Europe and courses are available in English.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Pre-Med & Life Science Research, Scotland

The University of Glasgow has a long tradition of internationally recognized anatomical practice and it offers modern facilities for anatomy dissection. The university’s high world rankings in the life sciences and expansive biology department make it an excellent location for gaining hands-on research experience.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Programs Suggested for Ecology & Environmental Biology

Marine Biology & Terrestrial Ecology, Australia

Study diverse marine ecosystems in this research-focused program with courses in marine science and terrestrial ecology counting toward upper-division ESS and BIO with fieldwork. This program includes research coursework at a field station in the Great Barrier Reef.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Tropical Biology & Conservation, Costa Rica

Tromp around the jungle, do serious undergraduate research, and study in the field with this unique program where you can take upper-division electives like tropical/biodiversity (BIO 143), community ecology (BIO 145), or coursework that falls under environmental science and sustainability. This program includes fieldwork in the Costa Rican cloud forests.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

National Univ. of Singapore (NUS)

Take anthropology courses at arguably the highest ranked university in Asia through UCEAP. Take classes in most UC majors taught by faculty from around the world, and engage with this top level university community through research, clubs, sports, and cultural activities.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Scottish Universities: Univ. of Glasgow

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow is part of the College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences. At this college, you will experience a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to study processes at every level of biological organization—from genes, to cells, organ, individuals, populations, and ecosystems.

Special note: For the Univ. of Glasgow you will need to apply to the "Scottish Universities" program and rank the Univ. of Glasgow as your top choice.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Univ. of British Columbia, Canada

During the fall, qualified biology majors have the opportunity to take upper-division marine science courses at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. The Bamfield Centre is a unique research and teaching facility on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Courses include field trips to the beaches of many local islands, forests, lakes, bogs and rivers. They may also include unique opportunities such as snorkeling and driving small outboard boats.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Univ. of the West Indies, Barbados

Barbados is an excellent location to focus studies on tropical and marine science. The University of West Indies at Cave Hill offers a wide selection of courses including: Caribbean Island Biogeography, Tropical Ornamental Plants, Climate Variability and Predictability, Coral Reef Ecology, Fisheries Biology, and Environmental Chemistry. The Cave Hill campus is also home to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project which offers opportunities to volunteer for 1 to 2 month periods throughout the year.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Lund Univ., Sweden

You will have the opportunity to supplement biology coursework with project classes and research. You may take first year graduate-level courses for upper-division credit provided you have the appropriate background.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Biodiversity, Singapore

After first exploring biodiversity in the classroom, you’ll go out and conduct your own investigation on a Malaysian island. You’ll learn about tropical freshwater and seawater ecosystems and investigate distinct habitats including a mangrove swamp, rainforest, and coral reefs. To complement your understanding of the Singapore environment and its communities, you’ll get an introduction to the local language.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Socio Ecological Sustainability in Southern Chile

In Villarrica, you begin the course work that addresses the themes of the program. Courses are offered in a sequence that builds gradually to prepare you for the final planning projects. The first week is completely focused on the Latin American Conservation course to give you a broad background. Next, the first fieldwork trip brings you together with all of the instructors to introduce the three courses that will run the length of the program and provide the basis for much of your work.

Several other fieldwork trips to different national parks will help you to define your own project and gain the necessary expertise. A five-day visit to Kodkod, a natural retreat area with cabins and meeting spaces, will be the location for much of the intensive field methods course.

Additional time in the field and the classrooms will culminate with the final presentations of your team's environmental planning project and the celebration of the program.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Summer Physics Abroad

One potential route to study abroad for STEM students is to tackle a full year of introductory physics over the summer. Typically, this is the summer between students’ first and second year at UC Merced. Consider these options:

Australia: Sydney Summer Physics

Earn a full year of calculus-based physics credit in just eight weeks. Fulfill math requirements for the life sciences or get a jump on pre-med coursework and experience life in Sydney, Australia.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Cyprus: Nicosia Summer Physics

Study intensive physics for the life sciences in beautiful Cyprus. Note that this program is better suited to biological sciences students than other STEM students.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Ireland: Cork Summer Physics

In just eight weeks at the University College Cork, you can earn a full year of calculus-based physics credit, get a jump on math coursework, or prepare for a pre-med track. Lab experiments and group workshops expand your science knowledge with students from around the world.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Spain: Madrid Summer Physics

Add some sizzle to your summer—study in Madrid and return with a full year of physics credit. This intense 8-week program is ideal for life sciences majors who want to get a quick boost in academics.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

United Kingdom: Glasgow Science & Engineering

As the home to the James Watt School of Engineering and the School of Life Sciences, the University of Glasgow offers the perfect environment for this intensive physics summer program.

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

United Kingdom: Summer in Sussex

Minutes from the sparkling seafront, Sussex is quintessentially English, with spectacular castles, greenery, and attractions fit for royals. Pre-med and life sciences majors can earn up to a year of physics credit in two months!

Learn more about deadlines, details, and the application

Feature: 5 Reasons STEM Majors Should Study Abroad

Group study session

Want to stand out on your next job application or boost your chances into getting into grad school? Or are you looking to expand your worldview, perhaps explore a side interest? Whatever your goal is, there’s a good chance study abroad can help you achieve it.


Completing Other SNS Requirements Abroad

SNS students have four general education course requirements that they can easily tackle through study abroad:

Engineering students have several general education requirements that they can easily tackle through study abroad:

  1. Approaches to Knowledge
    1. At least one course in engineering
    2. At least three courses in social sciences, arts, and humanities
  2. Intellectual Experiences
    1. Global Awareness, which is automatically fulfilled through study abroad with UCEAP
    2. Additional Intellectual Experiences, as appropriate, including, but not limited to:
      1. Societies and Cultures of the Past;
      2. Diversity and Identity;
      3. Sustainability;
      4. Practical and Applied Knowledge; or
      5. Leadership, Community, and Engaging the World

These requirements represent the most flexible general education requirements for SNS students planning to study abroad. Study abroad advisors recommend that SNS students aim for more of their major and SNS degree requirements when selecting a program and using the general education requirements as fallback options in case the targeted SNS course requirements do not pan out. In this way students continue to make progress toward their degrees while maximizing their scholarship potential and the the opportunities to integrate an international experience with their academic interests.

For SNS requirements, students will have courses reviewed through the   SNS course approval form, assuming the courses have not already been previously approved as a degree requirement.

Previously Approved UCEAP Coursework

The School of Natural Sciences has made some previously approved courses for SNS substitutions and/or requirements available to the public. This is not a comprehensive list of courses available but it may be a starting point in your research.

  Course Approvals for UCEAP

Course Approval and Course Approval Forms

With a few exceptions of previously approved courses (ask your academic advisor), courses will need to be approved to meet individual degree requirements. In these cases, students will use the Course Approval Form for the school that would typically offer such a course at UC Merced:

 

The school will often require a syllabus or equivalent in order to do a review. Keep in mind that syllabi may be protected intellectual property of certain professors or universities and may not be publicly posted online. If it is a UC Center program, you may be able to acquire syllabi through your study abroad advisor. If the program is with a local host university and the course is not posted online, you may be able to inquire with the instructor or host university in some cases.

Academic Planning

No matter your academic intentions while studying abroad, you should consult your academic advisor and your MyDegreePath report to plan out your study abroad academic goals. Once you narrow your search to 1-3 study abroad programs consult your program page or ask your study abroad advisor about resources for researching courses in your program.

 

Start planning for study abroad with your academic advisor as soon as you can. One of the keys to maximizing academic success abroad is early planning and scheduling course loads before, during, and after study abroad. This includes strategies such as targeting a study abroad term to exploit areas of flexibility in your academic plan.

Be sure to make use of UCEAP course credit resources below, too.

 

UC Merced Campus Credit through UCEAP

How to Explore Database of Courses Previously Taken

 

Campus Credit Abroad

Planning the courses you’ll take on study abroad is as important as figuring out when and where to go. All courses taken on the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) are guaranteed UC credit, but understanding how each class may fit into your academic plan is a critical part of the planning process.

UCEAP Database of Courses Previously Taken

How to Find Courses for UCEAP

One of the challenges with academic planning and completing the Academic Planning Form is finding courses. While there is never any certainty with course offerings and study abroad always requires a little calculated academic risk, there are some techniques to minimize the risk and exploit unique educational opportunities through study abroad.

Courses & Credit Tab

For nearly every UCEAP program page, there will be a tab labeled “Courses & Credit.” Within this tab you will find information and links in the “Course Opportunities” area. The course resources are listed in order of relevance. Depending on the program, you might find any of the following resources:

  1. Course syllabi
  2. Links to academic majors or programs with courses
  3. A bulleted list of courses

MyEAP Course Catalog

All UCEAP coursework taken in the last five (5) years is listed in the UCEAP Course Catalog. There are a few things you should consider when using the MyEAP Course Catalog:

  1. The list of courses is not comprehensive.
  2. Course units are listed in quarter units (to convert to semester units, divide by 1.5).
  3. Syllabi are not included.
  4. You may need to search less intuitive subject areas to find coursework (e.g. health sciences for public health, "engineering" for bioengineering, business for management and business economics).

Check Previously Approved Courses

There are a few resources available showing coursework previously approved for study abroad online. The resources are limited but they do represent some of the more recent course approvals:

A Note on Course Syllabi

Your academic advisor or school may insist that you need syllabi in order to determine whether a course abroad will substitute a particular degree requirement. While this is generally true, this does not prevent you from planning out your academic schedule abroad and determining what type of degree requirements a course may fulfill.

Sometimes your study abroad advisor or UCEAP can acquire a syllabus on your behalf; however, this is not always the case. Please understand that syllabi are often considered intellectual property and may not be shared until the course begins. Previously approved courses (see above) are often your first go-to resource to select courses.