Study Abroad as a Biology Major

As a Biology major you are encouraged to consider incorporating an off-campus program as part of your academic and personal development.

Tree Canopy Walkway, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa

Living in another country and interacting with people from so many different countries completely changed my life.                                                         --Amala Hernandez '17

Working with your academic advisor and the Office of International Education (OIE) you can plan an experience that promotes your personal growth towards a meaningful life and career.

Why study abroad?

Students of all majors benefit from studying abroad. As a biology major, you can:

  • examine your values and beliefs in new ways
  • find specialized and advanced courses only available at large universities
  • enhance your intercultural communication and improve world language skills
  • gain cross-cultural perspectives on biomedical, environmental and technical questions in biology and society
  • broaden your world view and deepen your understanding of yourself
  • grow your social network to include a more cosmopolitan set of friends and colleagues
  • prepare for life after college by becoming a globally engaged citizen

How will study abroad count toward my major? Will it take me longer to graduate?

With planning, you can study abroad and graduate on time. Your academic advisor will help you to plan for study abroad and determine how many credits you may apply toward the major. Many students take general education and elective classes in addition to one or two credits in the major. This varies widely based on your program of interest and your individual degree requirements.

An OIE advisor can help you to find a program that matches your academic needs and helps you to meet your personal goals and interests as well.

When should I study abroad?

Programs are offered during the summer, fall or spring semester or for a full academic year.

Biology majors typically study abroad as juniors, but some travel in their sophomore spring or senior fall semesters.  The most important recommendation is to complete the three core classes of the major (i.e. BIOL 125, 130, 244) before you travel.  Other plans can work and all plans should be discussed closely with your academic advisor. 

Summer programs are open to students at all levels, unless otherwise noted.

Can I afford to study abroad?

Yes! Willamette-sponsored semester programs are comparable in cost to being on campus for a semester and most forms of financial aid can be applied. See the OIE website for more details about program costs and additional expenses to consider.

Scholarships for study abroad are available and can be found on the OIE website. It is critical to begin to research scholarships early, even before you apply for study abroad.

How should I choose a program?

Explore! Just as you spent time researching colleges before deciding on Willamette, you will want to spend time investigating programs abroad to ensure a good fit.

  • Research class offerings to know whether there are classes that meet your academic needs.
  • Consider your personal goals for the experience and seek out programs that will help you to meet them.
  • Investigate which programs offer support services you may need during your time there.
  • Network with alumni and current students that are returning from an off-campus program.
  • Meet with an OIE advisor!

Programs of interest for Biology majors

The Biology department recommends the following programs for majors:

Students may also choose from a variety of other programs to take courses in the major and in other elective areas.  Most programs are open to all majors.

Resources for study abroad:

Office of International Education

Visit the Office of International Education’s website to learn more about program options, scholarships how to apply and more.

Credit considerations

Biology majors need to consult with their advisor, but it is common for majors to receive in-major elective credits or equivalency credits for intermediate courses in Ecology and Evolution.

Willamette University

Biology Department

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-375-5425 fax

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