Yes, you CAN Study Abroad as a STEM Student

Posted in News Story

Georgetown study abroad alumni reflect on their semester study abroad experiences on OGE’s Stories Beyond the Hilltop blog

October 1, 2019 – If you are a student majoring in science, health, or mathematics, you may have heard rumors that study abroad is not compatible with your chosen field of study.  Recent study abroad alumni and the Office of Global Education (OGE) have come together to reassure you that in fact you can study abroad, take courses toward your STEM degree, and remain on track to achieve your academic goals.  STEM study abroad alumni, Lilia Darrow COL’20 and Sean Melville COL’20, testify to being able to study STEM while abroad. “It just takes some planning,” says Lilia in her blog “Study Abroad as a STEM Major” and “I recommend studying abroad to anyone, but especially to other STEM students,” Sean attests in his blog “STEM: Study Abroad in Belfast”.

OGE offers a wide array of academic programs in numerous countries that satisfy requirements for biology, chemistry, math, computer science, physics, and more. Read more about our students and their recent semester abroad experiences in STEM.

Lilia and another student on a sidewalk in St. Andrews, Scotland.

Lilia Darrow COL’20 studied abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and attests to being able to complete coursework for her major as well as core requirements. She also explains that she was able to access courses in her major that Georgetown does not currently offer.  Lilia comments, “I took an Invertebrate Zoology course while at the University of St Andrews, which is not offered at Georgetown, and allowed me to pursue an entirely new field of Biology.” Beyond the classroom, Lilia  befriended students from different parts of the world who were all interested in biology, helping her to see her field from new perspectives.

Head of Sean Melville COL'20

Sean Melville COL’20 spent a semester directly matriculating at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  As a student pursuing mathematics and economics, Sean took two economics classes and one mathematics course, directly satisfying requirements for his degree. A course entitled Numerical Analysis ended up being his favorite class, as well as a key component in making his study abroad experience eye-opening and rewarding. He shares that while taking this class he was able to apply the math he learned to real life events and scenarios to create a truly holistic experience. From these experiences, Sean explains that, “This further reinforced our knowledge base and helped my technical STEM skills.”

OGE offers many semester and full year programs that can satisfy the needs of students majoring or minoring in STEM degrees. 

Program offerings range from direct matriculation programs in comprehensive universities to specialized, topical programs, as well as programs that offer STEM coursework in a second language.  At Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, you can enroll alongside local students, while in the Community Public Health in Gaborone, Botswana (CIEE)  program, you can combine direct matriculation coursework with fieldwork in public health. In addition to geographic diversity, study abroad programs can offer opportunities related to specific interests with your major field specific interests. DIS – Study Abroad in Scandinavia in Copenhagen, Denmark offers coursework focusing on biomedicine, neurobiology, or computer science, and participants on the Language and Area Studies in Freiburg, Germany (IES) program can take coursework on environmental biology taught in German. 

Study abroad for STEM: There are dozens of locations where you can study abroad - here are 
some (but not all!) of our  featured programs for STEM students.

Featured Programs:
Australia: The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and University of Sydney: With over 53,000 students, UNSW is one of the largest universities in Australia. The U of Sydney offers world-class education in a wide range of degree programs to 60,000 students, of whom approximately 30% are international students. Both schools offer biology, physics, chemistry, and more. (English).

New Zealand: The University of Otago, founded in 1869 as the first university in New Zealand, offers students top-quality education, particularly in Science, Health Sciences, Business, Humanities, Indigenous Studies, and
Theater Studies. Located on a beautiful campus in a quintessential college town, the university offers students terrific access to the island. Hoyas have joined "tramping" clubs (hiking) to make friends and explore the beauty and environmental treasures of New Zealand. (English)

Scandinavia: DIS Copenhagen has offerings for: Biomedicine, Computer Science, Neuroscience, and
Medical Practice & Policy. DIS Stockholm has Neuroscience and Medical Practice & Policy. (English with a Danish or Swedish language course.) Botswana: Community Public Health in Gaborone, Botswana (CIEE) and Arts and Sciences at the University of Botswana (CIEE) are are both strong in the sciences. The Arts and Sciences program offers English-taught university courses, and the Public Health program includes a practicum. (English with a Setswana language course.)

Northern Ireland: Queen’s University Belfast is the oldest and most prestigious university in Northern Ireland and is one of the UK’s leading research universities. Hoyas have taken math, chemistry, and physics there, but the university is also famous for biology, especially marine biology and biomedical science. (English)
Ireland: University College Dublin: University College, Dublin is the largest research university in
the Republic of Ireland. Hoya STEM students have taken a variety of subjects at UCD, including
computer science, biology, and mathematics. Research opportunities are also available for study
abroad students. (English)

Spain: GU in Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca program. The USAL,
which is 800 years old, is a comprehensive university and offers advanced Spanish speakers loads of coursework options. They offer undergraduate courses in the following STEM subjects: architecture, biology, biotechnology,
engineering, environmental science, geology, nursing, math, physical therapy, physics, statistics, and more. (Spanish)

France: Université de Strasbourg is the largest single-site university in France. All subjects except psychology are available to students with sufficient French skills and foundations in the desired subject. (French)

Germany: IES Freiburg has a strong foundation in environmental studies, and Berlin has options for other STEM subjects as well. Some example Freiburg classes that may be available are Ecosystem Management or Sustainable Food and Agriculture (German)

Ecuador: Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) offers coursework in several STEM fields as well as the The Zero Latitude Ecuador Research Initiative (LOERI) where students have the opportunity to conduct a research project in conjunction with a USFQ faculty member. (Spanish)
Italy: Brown University in Bologna: Founded in 1008, UniBo is considered to be the oldest university in the Western world. Its history is intertwined with that of the great names of science and literature and it is a keystone and point of reference for European culture. (Italian)
SIT programs: SIT programs are interdisciplinary and accessible to a wide variety of majors, and offer a research opportunity. STEM-themed programs include global health, the environment, and climate change. Examples include:
SIT Tanzania: Zanzibar-Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management
SIT Mongolia and Siberia: Nomadism, Geopolitics, and the Environment
SIT Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine and Community Empowerment
SIT Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania
SIT India: Public Health, Gender, and Community Action
SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation (Spanish required)
SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems & Biodiversity Conservation
SIT Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management (French required)

(Language requirements depend on the program, many are in English.)

Summer Programs
Georgetown in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Translational Health Science Internship. This six-week combined academic and internship experience focuses on translational scientific research – the relationship between bench science and clinical care. Students will work in a lab alongside infectious disease specialists and shadow physicians in pediatric wards to directly observe how scientific research travels “from bench to beside”. (English)

Villa Le Balze (Fiesole, Italy): Georgetown at Villa Le Balze: A Microscopic View of Tuscany
Brand new as of 2020, this course gives students a chance to immerse themselves in the science of Italy’s world famous cheese and wine production. The course will explore the characteristics of microbes essential to the development of these foods, with an emphasis on biochemical pathways responsible for their unique flavors and textures. The course will examine primary literature on microbiology, and deploy tools of bioinformatics, a relatively new field combining biology, computer science, and statistics. (English)
How do I get started?

First steps: Visit and sign up for a Study
Abroad 101. After attending a Study Abroad 101, sign up to meet with an advisor. 

What are the deadlines? Most students apply in September
for spring abroad or February for summer, fall, or full year. For
exact dates and exceptions, visit:

What do past students have to say about their programs?
Hear from our students on our Youtube channel "GU Office of
Global Education", on Instagram @guabroad, and on our blog

Stay up-to-date with our current study abroad students and alumni on our Stories Beyond the Hilltop Blog. To find out more about what study abroad program is right for you, you can attend a Study Abroad 101 presentation, search for a program online on the Office of Global Education’s web page, or schedule an appointment to meet with an OGE advisor.