Learning Abroad for Chemistry majors

"The chemical enterprise provides a dramatic example of the global reach of modern science and technology. Chemistry majors benefit enormously from a learning experience abroad, whether it directly relates to the chemical sciences, or fits more generally with their overall academic program." —Darren Hamilton

Study Abroad

Where to Study
The Chemistry Department encourages students to think broadly about their goals for study abroad in choosing a host destination. For example: do you wish to study in a language other than English?

  • In recent years chemistry majors have studied in France and Germany. Perhaps you are interested in non-traditional, English-speaking locations such as South Africa or Hong Kong, or you would prefer to target an institution in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

For a list of where past and present physics majors have studied and a summary of the courses they have taken abroad, check this searchable database.  Note that this is not a definitive list of what is possible and should serve only as a useful guide and planning resource. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives Study Abroad website is also an excellent resource for programs, application procedures, deadlines, financial aid, and more. Laurel Fellowships (need-based financial aid) are readily available to qualified students.

When to Study
It is of vital importance that students plan their schedule according to whether they intend to take any chemistry courses while they are studying abroad. Almost no planning hurdle is insurmountable, as long as students consult with their advisor and, where necessary the department chair, to address these issues ahead of time

Chemistry majors interested in studying abroad for a single semester will generally find the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year to be the best options. The latter option would allow a chemistry major to complete the two required 300-level physical chemistry courses in sequence during her junior year and may open up the possibility of enrolling in more advanced courses abroad. The junior year spring semester option will introduce a break in the standard sequencing, but such situations are quite common and easily accommodated with good advance planning.

Credit Transfer
As a general rule, nearly all elective offerings at foreign institutions for which students meet the prerequisites will be accepted for 200 or 300-level credit toward the major. Core courses are frequently difficult ones for which to locate a match elsewhere. Therefore, a useful planning guideline is to look for courses abroad that meet the elective requirements of the major and to take physical and experimental chemistry requirements on campus.

Summer Internships and Research Abroad

An international summer internship or research project is a good way for chemistry majors to apply and develop their skills and explore possible careers paths while engaging with cultures and perspectives outside the United States.

Further, those chemistry majors involved in significant research collaborations with faculty may find a summer internship to be the best fit with their plans for their time at the college. A number of faculty members also have collaborations with colleagues abroad. A summer spent with a collaborator may, therefore, achieve the twin goals of providing a valuable experience abroad, as well as allowing a student to move her research efforts forward in a new and interesting manner. 

Many funded summer research opportunities are available to chemistry majors. The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, offers programs for undergraduate research both abroad and in the U.S. The DAAD RISE program also offers funded summer research opportunities in Germany for students in the sciences

Students have the option of developing their own summer internship or research project and we also have some useful links to help you in finding a research/internship opportunity.

  • Funding is available through the Lynk Universal Application Form (UAF). For more details about internship opportunities and funding, please contact Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential learning at the McCulloch Center.  

Next Steps

Students interested in exploring possibilities for learning abroad are encouraged to contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. April Stroud is the primary advisor for study abroad, and Kirk Lange can offer guidance on internships or research abroad. Students should also consult with their advisor about how they can best connect and integrate learning abroad with their work in the major.