Study Abroad for Biology Majors

The Biology Department encourages its students to broaden their educational experiences by studying abroad through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). Study abroad provides new academic insights, a broader understanding of other cultures, and the preparation to excel in the internationally competitive world. Many UCSB students spend a year or a quarter abroad to benefit from new perspectives, approaches, and experiences in all sub-disciplines of biology from microbiology to ecology and evolutionary biology. From wildlife in South Africa to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to rainforests in Costa Rica to biomedical and biochemical research programs in Sweden and the United Kingdom, UCEAP students are immersed in the study of the biological sciences around the globe.

Why study abroad?

UCSB students are fortunate to have available to them the premier study abroad program in the country. UC’s Education Abroad Program has hundreds of programs in over 40 countries on six continents. UCEAP enables students to study abroad while remaining fully enrolled UC students. Best of all, there is no question of transferring units to their home campus -- all courses taken through UCEAP are accepted as UC courses and carry UC units and grades.

Where should I study abroad?

You can find biology coursework on many UCEAP programs. In addition to immersion programs that have excellent biology coursework, UCEAP offers a number of special focus programs that may interest you: Lab Research, Field Research, and Health programs. Two excellent field research programs have pre-approved coursework outlined below.

The department has pre-approved coursework appropriate for Biological Sciences and Cell and Developmental Biology majors at 2 programs: University of Edinburgh, Scotland; and Utrecht University, Netherlands.

All biology students should meet with an advisor in the Biology Department well in advance of applying to EAP to discuss the best program options.

When should I study abroad?

You could study abroad as soon as the summer after your first year. If you wish to study abroad during the academic year, it is generally recommended that you first complete much of your upper division biology major area requirements prior to your departure. You can graduate abroad or even go during a fifth year.

What classes should I take?

UCSB biology students go on the full range of study abroad programs all around the world. By searching Gaucho Credit Abroad and the UCEAP Course Catalog, you will get an idea of the types of biology courses UC students have taken around the world. Go meet with your Biology advisor to discuss your plans! 

The department has pre-approved coursework appropriate for biological sciences and MCDB majors at 2 programs: University of Edinburgh, Scotland; and Utrecht University, Netherlands. MCDB students are encouraged to take MCDB 108A and possibly 101A during the summer at UCSB prior to studying abroad during fall (consult Bio advisors).

UCSB biology majors may fulfill their entire Physics 6 series requirement (6ABC and 6AL, BL, CL) through UCEAP summer programs in multiple locations if completed for a letter grade. See details here. Students may also complete Chem 109A, 109B, and 6AL (O-Chem) over one summer at University College Dublin, Ireland. 

If you are pursuing a career in the healthcare professions, please consult the College of Letters and Science's healthcare professions advisors regarding the applicability of these courses to the healthcare professions.

Two field programs are highly recommended by the department:

Costa Rica Monteverde Program 

Monteverde's unique contrasting wet and dry forests present extraordinary opportunities to study plant-animal interactions, ecology, and natural history. Students visit marine habitats and lowland environments. Two of the larger reserves include the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Bosque Eterno de los Niños, which together provide a habitat and protection to more than 3,000 species of plants and a variety of animal species including spider monkeys, quetzales, mountain lions, and tapirs. Strenuous hiking and rustic living conditions contribute to the rewarding nature of this program.

Students on this program receive the following approved course substitutions:

Taken in combination, 12 units of BIOL CRB 101 (4 units), BIOL CRB 102 (4 units), and ECOL CRB 188 (4 units),will apply to EEMB and MCDB majors as follows:

  • One diversity course for the following majors: 
    - Biology BA: Area E 
    - Biology BS: Area B6 and B7 
    - Ecology and Evolution: Area C1 or C2 
    - Zoology: Area D, underlined course
  • Substitute for EEMB 159
  • Substitute for EEMB 197
  • Elective units for Aquatic, Physiology, and Cell & Developmental majors

Individually these courses count as EEMB electives and are not applicable to the Biochemistry-Molecular Biology, Microbiology, or Pharmacology majors.

University of Queensland Marine Biology and Terrestrial Ecology Program

Students on this program study and live in the diverse marine ecosystems of Queensland. World-class research is conducted on such subjects as coral reefs, environmentally clean beaches, salt marshes, and more at the research stations and teaching facilities. EAP's program consists of lectures, laboratory studies, and extensive field study at the Heron Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef, the Moreton Bay Research Station, and other locations in coastal Queensland.

Students on this program receive the following approved course substitutions:

Ecol AQM 106, Human and Terrestrial (8 units) is an approved substitute for EEMB 159 (4 units) and EEMB elective (4 units).

Biol AQL 160, Marine Biology (13 units) is an approved substitute for EEMB 142A (4 units), EEMB 142AL (3 units), EEMB 147 (4 units) and 2 upper-division major elective units in EEMB. 

All UCEAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, the application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the department and approval of the college. Keep in mind that at least 20 units of upper-division major coursework (or 12 upper-division minor units) must be completed in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult a Letters & Science College advisor for more information.

How do I get started?

  • Stop by the UCSB EAP office at 2431 South Hall.
  • Go to Getting Started on the UCSB EAP website
    Consult the UCEAP website for program details.  
  • Meet with your department undergraduate advisor. 

Department of Biological Sciences
3307 LSB
Phone: (805) 893-5191
lifesci.ucsb.edu