The Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences strongly supports Animal and Veterinary Biosciences students gaining international experience to complement their UW-Madison program and open doors to future career paths. A study abroad experience can provide a unique opportunity to gain a global perspective on animal health and production, animal welfare and ethics, animal nutrition and breeding strategies, and animal research aspects, while building regional knowledge and developing intercultural communication skills and networks. Whether studying animal nutrition in the Netherlands, animal physiology in Ireland, or animal agriculture and sustainable development in Mexico, students can incorporate short-term and semester-long programs that specifically match their interests and career goals. Students desiring an international experience should have the ability to incorporate a study abroad program within their 4-year plan with preparation and scheduling. Students considering veterinary school can benefit from a unique experience and include study abroad with careful planning. Department study abroad funding is available to provide financial assistance to students.
Prospective Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Students
Prospective students should familiarize themselves with the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major requirements and research international programs of interest that will complement the UW Madison program. Intentional and early planning is beneficial as you prioritize your goals for your undergraduate experience. You should work with your academic advisor to draft a 4 year plan to include degree and major requirements, certificate requirements, how study abroad courses may meet major requirements, and other unique curriculum details such as meeting pre-vet requirements. Developing a framework will help determine which study abroad program(s) will be possible and determine the best time to fit a study abroad experience into your academic plan.
To gain background information about study abroad and the various programs available, attend the Study Abroad Fair on campus, visit the Program Search page, and/or meet with CALS Study Abroad Advisors.
To discuss how studying abroad fits within your career or professional goals in relation to the completion of the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major, please visit the CALS Career Services webpage to schedule an appointment with a CALS Career Advisor.
Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Course Considerations Abroad
Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors are encouraged to build a study abroad into their academic plan and discuss that plan with their major advisor. Depending on your academic plan and degree progress, you may be able to take a mix of major requirements and electives while abroad.
Students interested in completing Animal and Veterinary Biosciences requirements abroad can select a program that offers coursework related to Animal and Veterinary Biosciences. This coursework may include specific Animal Sciences courses or other major requirements such as statistics and genetics. There are highly respected study abroad programs that have pre-approved courses that are equivalent to UW-Madison courses meeting Animal and Veterinary Biosciences requirements. You are encouraged to consider other programs that may meet any alternative study abroad goals as well. Several Animal Sciences courses are offered once per year at UW-Madison, so you are encouraged to work closely with the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences advisor to ensure requirements can be met if you plan a semester abroad. Completing core science and prerequisite courses is also important. Taking summer courses may help you fit in a semester-long abroad experience without taking heavy workloads at UW-Madison. Taking pre-vet courses during summer term can also be advantageous. Students considering professional schools should complete prerequisite course work at UW or seek additional guidance to address application of course work from professional school advisors.
The most common requirements that may be fulfilled through a study abroad program are:
- General Education requirements (e.g. Humanities, Social Sciences)
- Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Core requirements
- Animal and Veterinary Biosciences Biology Depth requirements
Most students take a mixture of requirements and electives during a semester abroad experience.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as an Animal and Veterinary Sciences Major
Animal and Veterinary Bioaciences students can include a study abroad experience any time during their program. Short-term experiences during Summer, Winter Intersession, or Spring Break can fit well earlier into your curriculum, but students may benefit from a longer experience during Fall, Spring, or Summer of their junior or senior year. When selecting semester-long programs, the program you select will likely determine when the best time will be for you to go abroad. When considering study abroad in combination with pre-vet goals, students may need to extend their UW program or plan a gap year prior to vet school. Students with a very strong international interest can also consider completing a short-term experience as a freshman or sophomore, followed by a semester abroad.
Steps to get you started:
- Explore and research available programs that interest you
- Meet with the Animal and Dairy Science advisor to review your 4 year plan, benefits of the study abroad program, and special considerations that come with studying abroad
- Communicate any questions to the study abroad advisor assigned to the program(s)
- Generate a list of pro and cons for any programs you are strongly considering
During freshman year, Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors will focus efforts on completing general education and college requirements, introductory major course work, and core science coursework. Explore short term programs for Winter or Summer terms, and research semester programs that interest you.
During sophomore year, Animal and Veterinary Biosciences majors will continue moving forward with required Animal Sciences and pre-vet courses, general education requirements, and college coursework. Students considering professional schools should include additional core science courses to meet prerequisite needs. Winter Intersession, Spring Break, or the Summer after sophomore year are also good times to consider studying abroad. Sophomore year is a great time to identify which semester abroad program you want to pursue for junior or senior year.
Junior year is the most popular time for Animal and Veterinary Biosciences students to complete a semester abroad. By junior year, you will have completed enough major course work to allow you to take upper level and/or specific course work abroad that will enhance your learning abroad. Fall or Spring semester may work well, depending on which program you select. Summer after junior year also provides an excellent opportunity to study abroad that fits in between semesters at UW-Madison. Professional school interests and required coursework may also dictate the best time to study abroad; for some students, Spring of junior year or even senior year may be a better option.
You are encouraged to study abroad the Summer prior to senior year. There may still time to study abroad during your senior year, but this may present certain challenges. For example, it is important to remain at UW-Madison for Fall semester in order to take the required senior capstone. Students considering studying abroad their final Spring semester should work closely with their major advisor to understand how this may impact graduation and post-graduation plans. Pre-vet students may want to consider adding time to their undergraduate academic plan to allow for a semester abroad, or take a gap year during which they can pursue an international experience outside of UW-Madison’s study abroad options.
Questions to Ask
- Why do I want to study abroad?
- How will studying abroad enhance my education and personal growth?
- What are my personal goals, and where is study abroad on my priority list? (E.g. Graduating in 4 years, professional school prereq needs, double major/certificates/honors/research, etc.)
- What type of learning experience do I want? Classroom, research, internship? Short-term vs long-term, during a semester or summer term? Do I want more than one experience abroad?
- Is there a specific country, culture, or language that I want to learn about and experience?
- How will I finance my study abroad experience and what scholarships and financial aid are available?
Your Academic Advisor
- What study abroad programs are you aware of that have valuable programs in Animal and Veterinary Biosciences that may match my interests and priorities?
- Can I include study abroad if I want to go to veterinary school or a graduate program?
- Will I be able to include study abroad into 4 years considering my other goals?
- What are some specific curriculum details I need to consider when selecting a program?
- Are there courses in the major that are offered once a year or that I have to take at Madison?
- What major courses or required courses can be taken abroad?
- How do I determine if my study abroad courses will meet major requirements?
- Can pre-vet courses be taken during study abroad?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What programs offer course work that would fit well with my major or personal interests?
- What are my financial aid and scholarship options for funding study abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- What is the process for determining UW equivalents for courses taken abroad?
- What are class structures like abroad, and how do they differ from UW-Madison?
- What is the application and notification timeline for programs and scholarships?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
The following are study abroad programs that may be of interest to students pursuing the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major. The programs below have various durations and courses that may count for electives or requirements for the Animal and Veterinary Biosciences major. If you do not have specific requirements you need to fulfill, you will have much more flexibility as to program type and location.
Fall and/or Spring Semester
University of Queensland Exchange
University of Copenhagen Exchange
ESA Angers Exchange – International Food, Culture & Agriculture Summer Program
ISA Lille Exchange
L’Institut Agro Montpellier Exchange
University of Leeds Exchange
University of Hohenheim Exchange
(*Not available for a standalone Fall semester; students can study at Hohenheim for Spring semester or the full Academic Year)
University College Dublin – Agricultural and Life Sciences
Wageningen University Exchange
Massey University Exchange
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Exchange
UW Banking Animal Biodiversity in Costa Rica
UW Global Health Ecuador Field School
ISARA Lyon Exchange – Agroecology Summer School
L’Institut Agro Montpellier Exchange
UW Food Systems and the Environment in Northern Japa
UW International Field Study in Animal Agriculture and Sustainable Development
Other Opportunities to consider:
- Internships or research in university or private settings abroad (check out the International Internship Program)
- Studying something completely different and focusing on your major coursework while at UW-Madison (use the Program Search to identify programs by region, country, language of instruction, duration, or subjects taught) – there are many programs that may not be directly related to your major but may complement your studies by practicing a language, learning about another culture or region, or earning credit towards an additional major or certificate.
Search all Programs
Research all programs using the Program Search page. There are many programs that may not be Animal and Veterinary Biosciences-related but may complement your studies by practicing a language, learning about another culture or region, or earning credit towards an additional major or certificate. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that might be appropriate. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.