Biological Sciences, BS

Why YOU Should Study Abroad

Professional health education is competitive. Less than 50% of students that apply to medical schools are admitted; the numbers vary for other health-related fields. Medical and professional school admissions increasingly focus on students with dedication to community service, so engaging in community activities and research abroad will help any student attempting a health career to create a diverse, accomplished portfolio.

Study abroad programs provide an opportunity for you to develop a valuable skill set that can give you an advantage over the competition by:

  • Exposing you to unique health environments and differences in the human condition worldwide;
  • Expanding your knowledge of culturally specific health approaches;
  • Challenging you to adapt and persevere under sometimes difficult and harsh social and cultural circumstances;
  • Improving your language and cross cultural skills for effective communication across populations;
  • Enhancing your portfolio of experience through the kinds of hands-on research and community-based opportunities you will need to compete and succeed in today’s challenging health professions admissions process.

A Message from the School of Life Sciences

“I strongly believe that study abroad provides the opportunity and means to set yourself apart from the pack. I meet with hundreds and hundreds of students who are interested in the health professions. I think professional schools appreciate and are attracted to those students who are willing to get outside their everyday comfort zone. Study abroad provides exposure to different cultures, ways of thinking, and approaching scientific challenges…” 

- Scot Schoenborn, Associate Director of Academic Services

Planning Your Program

When to study abroad

When to study abroad

With advance planning, you should be able to fit study abroad within your four years at ASU. The Pre-Health Advising Office’s recommended timeline to consider medical-related, research and study abroad activities is as follows:

Year Term Recommended Student Action
Year 1 Spring
  • Identify a summer study abroad program offering pre-health clinical or research experience
  • Complete a summer study abroad program
Year 2

Optimal year to study abroad
  • Identify a spring/summer study abroad program focused on pre-health clinical/research experience, or that allows you to complete required/elective courses.
  • Complete a spring semester or spring break study abroad program
Year 3

Optimal year to study abroad
Fall - Spring
  • Investigate medical school options
  • Complete a semester, winter break, or spring break study abroad program
  • Complete a summer abroad program
  • Take MCATS or GRE
Year 4 Fall - Spring
  • Medical & professional school application and interview process
  • If you will not immediately enter medical or professional school, complete a semester, winter break, or spring break program

General Advice

General Advice

Advice from the School of Life Sciences

The ASU School of Life Sciences has generated a list of required and recommended courses for entry into medical school. There is no certainty of earning direct credit for these courses at a foreign institution so it is generally advised that students take these requirements at ASU. Typically, study abroad courses are best applied directly toward your upper division (300 or 400-level) major electives.

Advice from the Study Abroad Office

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

How to make an appointment

Key questions to ask

  • What are my remaining degree requirements?
  • How many upper-division credits do I still need to complete for my degree?
  • How many elective credits (lower vs. upper division) do I have left to complete my major?
  • What remaining prerequisites must I fulfill, and how will study abroad impact my progress?
  • Which of my remaining degree requirements could I complete abroad?  Are there any that I cannot take abroad?
  • Can I receive academic credit for an internship abroad?
  • Are there any in-residence requirements I need to be aware of before I go abroad?

Meet With the Study Abroad Office

Meet With the Study Abroad Office

Meeting with a Peer Advisor

Peer Advisors are ASU students who have studied abroad on various types of programs and who are here to help you get started on a journey of your own!  They are prepared to help you understand the different types of programs offered, narrow down your program options, guide you on the application process, discuss program costs, and speak about student life abroad.

No appointments are necessary to meet with a Peer Advisor.

  • Stop by the Study Abroad Office anytime Monday through Friday from 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Contact a Peer Advisor by email
  • Call a Peer Advisor at (480) 965-5965

Meeting with an International Coordinator

Your International Coordinator can answer your questions about specific programs, can talk you through the application process, and can help you find funding resources for your particular program on the Study Abroad Office website. Your International Coordinator is happy to meet with you multiple times to answer your questions, and he/she would be glad to schedule meetings in person, by phone, or via Skype.

  • Find the name of your International Coordinator listed on the Study Abroad Office webpage for your program of interest.
  • Schedule an appointment online. Click on the International Coordinator name for your program of interest and follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.
  • Visit an International Coordinator during walk-in hours in Interdisciplinary B (INTDSB) Room 255.

Key questions to ask the Study Abroad Office

  • What are the eligibility requirements for my program(s) or interest?
  • What is involved in the application for my program(s) of interest? Is admission to the program competitive?
  • How will I get ASU credit and grades for the courses I take abroad?
  • What courses are available on my program? How can I get courses approved for my program(s) of interest?
  • What is the cost of participating in my program(s) of interest? What do I need to consider in preparing an estimated budget for my program(s) of interest, and what expenses do I need to plan for up front?
  • Where can I find more information about scholarships for study abroad?

Research Your Funding Options

Research Your Funding Options

Studying abroad is an investment in your future. Like any other type of investment, it requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets, and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad.

Review Cost Sheet

You can find a link to your program’s Cost Sheet near the top of the Study Abroad Office webpage for your program. The Cost Sheet will highlight the costs that are billed to your student account as well as additional estimated costs that are not billed to your student account but that you might expect to spend while abroad. Be sure to note what expenses are included in the fees charged by the Study Abroad Office, and remember to budget additional money for airfare, passport and visa fees, and personal expenses since these are not included in any Program Fee.

Research Funding

Once you have reviewed the Cost Sheet for your program and are aware of the costs you might expect to spend on your program, you can begin to make a plan for financing your study abroad program. You can receive funding for studying abroad through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based fundraising efforts. We encourage you to:

  1. Speak to Financial Aid and Scholarship Services (FASS) about financial aid;
  2. Use our Scholarships and Grants page to search for general study abroad scholarships and scholarships that are unique to your program;
  3. Read the Community-Based Funding Guide for creative ways that past ASU students have funding their programs.

Financial Aid

We encourage you to speak to a Financial Aid Counselor, who can help you figure out how your financial aid might be applied to our study abroad program. Be sure to seek answers to the following questions from a Financial Aid Counselor:

  • How do loans work for study abroad? What kinds of aid/loans do I currently receive, and are there any restrictions on this aid if I study abroad?
  • Have I reached the maximum of (insert name of) loan allowed per academic year?
  • When will funds be released for my semester of participation?
  • How will additional scholarships impact my ASU financial aid?

Recommended Scholarships & Grants

Community-Based Funding

Check out the Study Abroad Office website to learn more about community-based funding, including tips and tricks for crowd-sourced funding. There is funding out there… you just have to ask!

Attend Financing Workshop

Would you like help learning about your financing options? We offer bi-weekly in-person and online Financing Your Study Abroad Workshops. Join us in the MU on Monday afternoons or log in through Adobe Connect (register here) on Thursdays to learn how to finance your study abroad program through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based funding.

Helpful Links

“Studying abroad was as much a cultural experience as an academic experience. I learned quite a lot about myself, about people, and about culture. An irreplaceable experience!”
 - Ariana Henkel, Biological Sciences Major

“Traveling abroad not only helps to broaden one’s perspective, it also opens many doors of opportunity and windows of knowledge that will surely benefit you no matter what you study.”
- Hoang “Ti” Dang, Biological Science Graduate

Recommended Programs

Although Biological Sciences majors can participate in any ASU study abroad program, the School of Life Sciences recommends the following programs.

NOTE: Click on a column header below to sort the list of recommended programs.

Name of ProgramCountryProgram TypeAvailable TermsKey CoursesUnique Features
ASU: Tropical Field Biology in PanamaPanamaFaculty-DirectedSummerBIO 494: Fundamentals of Tropical Biology; BIO 494: Tropical Research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Conduct your own independent biological research project, through field work in a Panamanian tropical rainforest. This may be your only experience as an undergraduate taking your own idea and working it all the way through to an end product.
CIEE: Arts & Sciences at Dublin City UniversityIrelandPartnershipFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research; internship opportunities available.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Explore the breadth and depth of Irish culture while enhancing your academic studies through integrated study at Dublin City University. Through a wide range of courses, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions, this program offers you an immersive and unforgettable international experience.
CIEE: Summer Community Public Health at Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y MaestraDominican RepublicPartnershipSummerElective coursework & clinical/community health service.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Gain fascinating insight into the state of healthcare in the Hispanic Caribbean. Combining classroom instruction with homestays and field work in both urban and semi-rural communities, you will explore the challenges confronting developing countries. Engage with local patients and medical staff through a health practicum and clinical rotation.
IFSA-Butler: University of GlasglowUnited KingdomPartnershipFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework; functional Anatomy course geared towards students wishing to eventually enter medical school; research opportunities available.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is home to one of the oldest and most extensive libaries in Europe, is among the top 20 universities in the UK, and offers you a choice of courses from more than 120 departments across four colleges.
ISA: Medical Spanish & Healthcare in Costa Rica at Veritas UniversityCosta RicaPartnershipSummerRequired/Elective coursework.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Take coures in health care, as well as Spanish for Health Professions courses at all levels. Consider adding an optional Service-Learning project to gain more experience while working in the local community.
Linnaeus UniversitySwedenExchangeFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Linnaeus University offers high-quality academic programs in an attractive academic environment for ASU students. Like ASU, Linnaeus University is recognized for its commitment to enhancing the potential of its students, while playing a prominent role in the local community. Consider enrolling in a free introductory Swedish class!
Orebro UniversitySwedenExchangeFall, Spring, Academic Year;Required/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

One of the largest and fastest growing universities in Sweden, Orebro University offers more than 800 courses, including science, health care, medicine, and sport science. With 17,000 students and more than 80 different degree programs, you can find a variety courses taught in English that you will take with local Swedish students.
Université de LausanneSwitzerlandExchangeSpring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Study in a stunningly beautiful setting, in the second-largest city on Lake Geneva. Although some limited courses may be offered in English, this program may be a better fit for students with French language proficiency. The University of Lausanne offers a monthly stipend to ASU students participating in the program!
Universités Grenoble Alps (UGA)FranceExchangeFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Study at one of Europe's oldest and more reputable academic institutions. Students are offered a wide range of research and study options in life sciences, physical sciences, and medicine. Please note that French language proficiency is required, given the limited number of courses available in English.
University of BirminghamUnited KingdomExchangeFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Learn to become an inquiry-led learner, when you learn to question, investigate, solve problems, and overcome challenges at England's first civic university. The city of Birmingham has a young population - with 40% of the population under the age of 30, and more than 70,000 students - that offers a wonderful environment for ASU students to live and learn.
University of HeidelbergGermanyExchangeSpring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is the oldest university in Germany. Today, more than 30,000 students study at this full-scall, classical, research-oreinted university with a broad range of subjects and courses in science and medicine. German language proficiency is required.
University of LeedsUnited KingdomExchangeSpring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Study among world-class researchers at a university that consistently ranks within the top 5 most applied to universities in the UK. With more than 30,000 students, the University of Leeds gives you a unique opportunity to learn alongside local and international students in all of your courses. And as the 3rd largest city in the UK, Leeds offers you a vibrant mix of culture, commerce, and syle.
University of ManchesterUnited KingdomExchangeFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Develop skills that are relevant to today's workplace in a career-oriented program at the largest single-site university in the United Kingdom. Admission to this exchange program is very competitive, due to its popularity among ASU students who like the variety of courses offered in multiple disciplines and the appeal of a large, bustling city in the heart of England.
University of SussexUnited KingdomExchangeFall, Spring, Academic YearRequired/Elective coursework & research.

View Pre-Approved Courses

Located about an hour from London, Brighton - and the University of Sussex - offer everything an ASU could need. With the top-rated American Studies program in the United Kingdom, and with students making up 10% of the city's population, you can be confident that you will have plenty of time to interact with local and international students.
ISA - EuroScholars: Research in EuropeMulti-CountryPartnershipFall or SpringResearch credits for this program are approved by individual academic units. Contact your Internship/Research Coordinator for approval.EuroScholars is a prestigious study abroad program designed for talented and highly-motivated undergraduate students looking to participate in international research. EuroScholars participants identify an on-going project and join a research team at one of the renowned research universities which make up the EuroScholars Consortium.
ASU: Human Dimensions of Sustainability and Health in AustraliaAustraliaFaculty-DirectedSummerView Pre-Approved CoursesSpend four weeks traveling throughout Australia visiting Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Tyconnell, Port Douglas and more! Earn six credits while exploring how a wide range of approaches and perspectives (e.g., social science, biomedical, ecological, Western, local, and Indigenous) help us think more critically and comprehensively about some of the major challenges we face in our rapidly changing world.
GIE: Neuroscience at King’s College London: Interdisciplinary Studies of Sustainable Plasticity in the BrainUnited KingdomGlobal Intensive ExperiencePost-SpringView Pre-Approved CoursesSpend 10 days studying at King’s College London, one of the premier research institutions in the UK for studies of the human brain. Learn about development and aging of the human brain, including the history of studies that go back over two centuries at academic institutions in London.