Study Abroad as a Biology Major

UC San Diego offers several options for students to take advantage of opportunities abroad. Options range from summer to yearlong programs for UC credit, as well as work, internship, and volunteer abroad opportunities. Visit the UC San Diego Study Abroad Office to start your search for the right study abroad program for you!

The experience of studying abroad can assist you in the following ways:

  • Give you an experience of a lifetime.
  • Set you apart and improve your resume by showing recruiters that you possess international skills. Skills that many students do not possess - less than 1% of U.S. college students study abroad annually.
  • Widen your social network by meeting students and professors from around the world.
  • Expand your mind by learning a new culture and seeing the world from another perspective.
  • Add to your skill set by learning new techniques and approaches in biology that might not be taught at UC San Diego.

Video Resources

Going Abroad as a Biology Major- Helpful Tips

The Student Experience: Global Seminars Abroad

The Student Experience: Natural Reserve Programs

Begin the Journey

  • Start doing online research and attend information sessions at least one year before you plan to go abroad. This will help you determine the best time of year to go abroad and whether you’re prepared academically.
  • Determine which program best fits your needs - UC Education Abroad Program (including the Global Seminar program) or the UC San Diego Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP).
  • If possible, we recommend your lower division and foundational major coursework be complete prior to studying abroad. These courses include, general biology, general chemistry, mathematics, physics, organic chemistry, genetics and biochemistry.
  • Review coursework that could potentially satisfy UC San Diego college and major requirements (previously petitioned courses).

Study Abroad Academic Planning Form (EAP/OAP)

After you select the study abroad program you would like to pursue, you will need to have paperwork signed by your major department. If you are planning to attend the *Education Abroad Program (EAP) or the **Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP), you will need the Division of Biological Sciences to review your Academic Planning Form.

To obtain department signature on your Academic Planning Form, you will need to come in for Fast 15 (walk-in advising), please see our  advising times.

*If you are applying for EAP or Global Seminars and would like to obtain major credit, please review the  previously petitioned courses list before filling out your Academic Planning Form.

**If you plan to study abroad via OAP, your Academic Planning Form will need to be reviewed by the Admissions office FIRST, then your major department, and your college last. When you meet with a biology advisor, you can discuss previously approved OAP course work that may apply to the major.

Applying Course Work Taken Abroad Toward the Major

All courses taken abroad for the major must be approved by the Biological Sciences Student and Instructional Services Office. Approval may be granted in two ways:

1) Take a course from our list of previously petitioned courses list. (EAP/Global Seminar only)

  • Please note even if the course you plan to take is on the preapproved list, the course still must be UC transferable, upper division, at least four quarter units, and completed with a C- or better to apply for major credit. If the course you take is on the previously petitioned courses list but does not transfer correctly, it will not be valid for major credit.
  • If the courses you plan to take are on the preapproved list, please contact us via the VAC after you return and the grades have posted to your UC San Diego records. We will then make the necessary updates to your audit (pending the course transferred correctly). In your VAC message to Biology, please make sure to list: institution, EAP course title and what the course was preapproved for.
  • When reviewing the preapproved list, please note the UCSD Equivalency is valid through the end of the calendar year e.g. if the year under the “Expires End of Fall 20XX” column is 2018, you would need to complete the course no later than Fall 2018 to obtain the listed credit. If you take the course after the "Expires End of Fall 20XX" date listed, you will need to petition the course so it can be determined if the course is still applicable for major credit or not. 

2) If the course you plan to take is not on the previously petitioned courses list, you will need to petition it so a Biological Sciences faculty member may determine if it is applicable for major credit or not. Please note petitions are not guaranteed to be approved and take approximately two-to-four weeks to process. For specifics, visit the undergraduate petitions page for instructions.

As a reminder, preapproved and petitioned courses taken abroad must meet the following minimum criteria to be considered for use in the major:

  • Subject to UC transferability
  • Must be upper division
  • Must be taken for a letter grade (C- or better)
  • Biology majors must meet their Biology Residency Requirement

Petitioned courses that meet the minimum criteria above are not guaranteed to be approved. Refer to the undergraduate petitions page for information on the process. 

*Students who wish to apply EAP/OAP courses towards the major must initiate the process. The Biology USIS Office will NOT automatically review study abroad courses or update student records. If your courses have been preapproved or you need to petition them, please contact us via the Virtual Advising Center.*

Related Links

Questions? Contact Student & Instructional Services (Pacific Hall 1128) through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) or by phone at (858) 534-0557.