One of the biggest myths we hear about study abroad is “I can’t study abroad with my major,” especially from STEM students. Well, guess what? USAC has a program for every major! The most important part of making study abroad happen for you is to plan early and check in with your academic advisor about the courses you need to take in order to graduate.
The best way to choose a program is to ask yourself the following questions:
- What type of environment do I want to live in?
- How many courses do I need to complete during my time abroad to stay on track with my major or gen ed requirements, like a foreign language (and how many are offered in each location)?
- Academically, how much time can I dedicate to study abroad and what length of program am I comfortable with?
- What other activities and immersive opportunities do I want to participate in?
These questions can help guide you and your academic advisor to choose the study abroad program that is right for you, so once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, read about some of our favorite Specialty programs* – and some honorable mentions – for common areas of STEM to get the ball rolling (keep in mind that many of these programs offer internships or volunteer opportunities in these fields, as well).
*Specialty programs – run by on-site USAC Resident Directors, staff, and faculty hired by USAC. Classes are designed by USAC and most classes are with other USAC students.
Whether you’re planning to study abroad for a full academic year or are signing up for a jam-packed summer, biology majors have a lot of exciting choices when it comes to deciding on a location. Here’s a look at one popular location with biology courses.
San Ramón, Costa Rica
Latin America is becoming a hotspot for students who are interested in living in a Spanish-speaking country but aren’t keen on Europe. The San Ramón program is designed for science majors interested in learning more about health, ecology, and conservation biology in Costa Rica while also practicing their language skills and immersing in the Tico lifestyle. Available biology courses have included majors the following courses (some include a field study for additional credit):
- 200-Level Independent Research (Biology; 200-level; 1 – 3 credits)
- 400-Level Independent Research (Biology; 400-level; 1 – 3 credits)
- Biological Diversity (Biology; 400-level; 3 credits)
- Ecology and Population Biology (Biology, Environmental Science; 300-level; 3 credits) and Field Study (Biology, Environmental Science; 300-level; 1 credit)
- Natural History of Mesoamerica (Biology; 200-level; 3 credits) and Field Study (Biology; 200-level; 1 credit)
- Plant Taxonomy (Biology; 400-level; 3 credits)
- Tropical Conservation Biology (Biology; 400-level; 3 credits) and Field Study (Biology; 400-level; 1 credit)
- Tropical Marine Biology (Biology; 400-level; 3 credits) and Field Study (Biology; 400-level; 1 credit)
But wait, there’s more! San Ramón isn’t the only place we offer biology courses. Explore these USAC programs, as well:
- Brazil: Florianópolis
- Costa Rica: Heredia and Puntarenas
- Spain: Valencia
Always check the USAC website for the most updated course offerings.
We’re hearing more and more students requesting engineering courses. Engineering majors can take courses towards their major in a variety of USAC locations – from Africa to Spain. Engineering majors should consider studying abroad to gain international experience learning from leading professors in their field. Trust us when we say that international education looks great on your resume!
Valencia is located on the Mediterranean Coast and is known for being one of Spain’s most cosmopolitan cities with tons of amenities and things to do (after all, it is the third-largest city in the country). You’ll be able to knock out some engineering requirements during your study abroad in Valencia, but students can take cultural courses like Spanish language, dancing, and windsurfing. Here is a list of courses you can take towards your engineering degree:
- Engineering Thermodynamics I (Mechanical Engineering; 300-level; 3 credits)
- Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (Physics; 100-level; 3 credits)
- Physics for Scientists and Engineers II (Physics; 100-level; 3 credits)
- Statics (Mechanical Engineering; 200-level; 3 credits)
Looking for more options? Engineering courses are also offered in these USAC program locations:
- Costa Rica: San Ramon
- Ghana: Accra
It goes without saying that health majors should take any opportunity to live and study abroad. After all, the skills you develop during study abroad – like interpersonal communication, empathy, and adaptability – will help you in your career. So where can you study? Here are our recommendations (PS – we wrote an entire blog dedicated to nursing majors, which you can read here).
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Located in the heart of Thailand’s northeast region, Khon Kaen is a large and truly local city (and is one of USAC’s newest program locations!) We love Khon Kaen for providing a truly Thai experience; you won’t find many tourists or other study abroad programs here, which means a deeply authentic environment. The Khon Kaen program gives students insight into Thai culture and access to the largest center of healthcare, education, and technology in Thailand. Health courses that have been offered in Khon Kaen are as follows:
- Aging and Eldercare in the 21st Century (CHS/HDFS/NURS, 300-level, 3 credits)
- Aging Well: The Sociocultural Context of Healthcare Systems (CHS/HDFS/SOC, 400-level, 3 credits)
- Comparative Studies in Global Healthcare (CHS/SOC, 300-level, 3 credits)
- Environmental Health (CHS, 300-level, 3 credits)
- Gender and Sexuality in Healthcare (CHS/NURS/SOC, 400-level, 3 credits)
- Global Health Issues (CHS/HE/SOC, 400-level, 3 credits)
- Traditional Thai Medicine and Complementary Medicine (ANTH/CHS, 400-level, 3 credits)
- Health internship (1 to 3 variable credits
The good news is that Khon Kaen isn’t our only program that offers health courses. You can find health science courses at these locations, too:
- China: Chengdu and Shanghai
- Costa Rica: Heredia, Puntarenas, and San Ramon
- Cuba: La Habana
- Czech Republic: Prague
- France: Lyon
- Ghana: Accra
- India: Bengaluru
- Italy: Reggio Emilia, Torino, Verona, Viterbo
- Poland: Krakow
- Spain: Alicante, Bilbao/Getxo, Madrid, San Sebastian, Valencia
- Thailand: Chiang Mai
- Uruguay: Montevideo
Climate change is more than just a buzzword, it’s something that our world is fighting every day. Fortunately, students are more eager now than ever before to dedicate their studies and future career to understanding our environment and conservation practices to keep it safe. Fortunately, quite a few USAC programs offer courses in sustainability, environmental studies, resource management, and the like. Here are a few locations where you can take courses in this field:
- China: Shanghai
- Costa Rica: Puntarenas and San Ramon
- Czech Republic: Prague
- France: Pau
- Ghana: Accra
- India: Bengaluru
- Reading: England
- Thailand: Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen
In addition to the Specialty programs mentioned above, USAC hosts Partnership programs in 13 countries. Students participating in a Partnership program can enroll in most courses offered at their host university, as opposed to a pre-selected menu of courses offered on Specialty programs. There are pros and cons to both program models, but Partnership programs tend to give students more academic flexibility. If you’re looking for more than what is listed above, search by area of study in the drop down menu on our programs page.
*Partnership program – exchange-based agreements in which USAC functions as the intermediary between the students and our partner university abroad. Students can choose from classes offered at the university and are enrolled with other local and international students.