Study Abroad for Biology Majors

The Biology Department encourages its students to broaden their educational experiences by studying abroad through the Education Abroad Program. 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 quarter or year abroad to benefit from new perspectives, approaches, and experiences in all sub-disciplines of biology from biochemistry to ecology and environmental 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, EAP students are immersed in the study of the biological sciences around the globe.

Why study abroad?

Students in the University of California 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. EAP enables students to spend some period of their academic career--a year, a semester, a quarter or summer term--studying abroad. While abroad, they remain fully enrolled UC students.

Best of all, there is no question of transferring units to their home campus -- all courses taken through EAP are accepted as UC courses and carry UC units and grades.

Where should I study abroad?

Biology coursework as well as special opportunities for field and laboratory study exist in many Education Abroad programs. Many of these programs fulfill requirements in the various biology majors at UCSB.

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.

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?

It is recommended that students who study abroad go during their junior or senior year, after completing much of their upper division biology major course area requirements or during the summer. Consider taking Physics 6 abroad during the summer after your freshman year!

What classes should I take?

Keep in mind that at students in the College of Letters and Science must complete at least 20 units of upper-division major coursework (or 12 upper-division minor units) in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult an advisor in the College of Letters & Science for more information.

UCSB biology students go on the full range of study abroad programs all around the world. Application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the Department and approval of the College. Come in to meet with your Biology advisor to discuss your plans!

UCSB biology majors may fulfill their entire Physics 6 series requirement (6ABC and 6AL, BL, CL) through EAP summer programs at the University of Sussex, University of Glasgow, or University College Dublin, if completed for a letter grade.

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 on this program 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. 

How do I get started?

Consult the EAP web pages to see what programs best suit you. Search the EAP programs for biology majors using the Program Builder and Course Catalog search engines. Navigate to host universities’ web sites on the available links to learn more about the schools and their departments.

Once you have researched your options, come by the EAP office at 2431 South Hall. Peer advisors who have recently returned from studying abroad as well as staff advisors are eager to answer your questions.

Meet with a Biology advisor to discuss timely progress within the major and an advisor in the College of Letters & Science to discuss general education, residence and other requirements.

Department of Biological Sciences
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9620
Phone: (805) 893-5191

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