Study abroad offers students countless opportunities, ranging from intimately experiencing a new place and culture to learning a foreign language. In a globalized world, international experience gained from studying abroad is highly attractive to potential graduate programs and employers. Fortunately, the global outlook of many Zoology fields, as well as the flexibility of the Zoology major make study abroad a feasible and appealing option for Zoology students. Furthermore, Zoology majors can take advantage of this wonderful opportunity during nearly any semester if they plan well and early. The information included below is intended to help Zoology students make study abroad a reality as they meet with advisors and plan their experience.
Background Information for Zoology Students
Current and potential Zoology majors should be aware of course requirements and expectations when planning for study abroad. In particular, Zoology majors are strongly encouraged to complete foundational coursework in math (Math 112 & 113; or Math 114) and chemistry (Chem 103 & 104; or Chem 109) freshman year, as well as foundational biology coursework (Bio 151 & 152; or Bio 101 & 102) sophomore year. The Zoology advisors can help with course and study abroad planning.
To gain background information about study abroad and the various programs available, attend the Study Abroad Fair on campus, visit the Program Search database on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website, and/or schedule a meeting with an advisor at IAP. Once you have identified some potential programs, meet with a Zoology advisor for consultation and planning. The earlier students begin this process and start planning in earnest, the better, as this will open up more possibilities.
Zoology Course Considerations Abroad
As part of the Zoology degree requirements, majors must complete 20-25 Zoology elective credits, so students seeking to earn Zoology credit abroad will likely take Zoology electives. Many study abroad programs offer courses that equate to Zoology electives. Zoology and IAP advisors can help identify programs that offer the equivalent of Zoology electives, as well as address questions about course equivalencies. Also, majors can earn both research and honors credit for Zoology work done abroad. Students should consult with a Zoology advisor about how to earn research and/or honors credit abroad.
Planning Your Study Abroad Experience
For students considering the Zoology major early, freshman year may be a good time to earn L&S general education and breadth credits abroad, especially through programs offered during winter intersession or summer terms. Freshmen considering studying abroad during fall or spring terms should bear in mind that Zoology majors should ideally complete foundational math and chemistry coursework freshman year.
Sophomore year could be a good time to study abroad, especially if most foundational coursework is completed early. Zoology majors should ideally complete foundational biology, chemistry, and math coursework by the end of sophomore year. For those who complete this work freshman year or fall sophomore year, programs offered during the fall or spring terms could be attractive for earning L&S general education and breadth credits, as well as Zoology elective credits. For those who do not, programs offered during winter intersession and summer terms may be attractive for earning L&S general education and breadth credits.
Junior year is typically when Zoology majors go abroad, as they have likely completed foundational coursework in biology, chemistry, and math, as well as most L&S general education and breadth requirements. Majors often take lots of Zoology electives at this point, so students commonly choose programs that offer either a full load of Zoology electives, or a mix of Zoology electives and courses that meet additional L&S requirements.
Study abroad senior year is certainly doable, especially since Zoology majors have likely completed foundational coursework, as well as most or all L&S course requirements. Seniors will likely be taking mostly Zoology electives and perhaps an elective or two, so programs that offer lots of Zoology credits would be ideal. Also, seniors should be aware of the senior residency requirement – credits 90-120 must be earned in residence (the 30-credit rule). Fortunately, credits earned abroad through UW-approved programs qualify as in residence. Finally, there is the possibility that seniors who go abroad during the spring semester may miss the official graduation ceremony if their programs extend longer than the UW-Madison semester.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor
- Which courses (general education, breadth, major) must I take to complete the Zoology degree?
- Which courses should be taken at UW-Madison?
- Do I need to physically be on UW-Madison’s campus for any credits?
- When would be the best time(s) to go abroad given my goals and remaining course requirements?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- Which programs fit my personal interests and academic requirements?
- Which classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- How and when will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What will the classroom experience be like abroad?
Identifying Programs Right for You
Studying abroad, regardless of the program, offers myriad benefits. When considering programs, strive to identify those that will expose you to subjects, places, cultures, and languages that you find appealing, while also helping you complete your degree. You will likely find that many programs all over the world fit your goals and interests. Below is a list of programs that have strong offerings in Zoology.
Kenya, Mt Kilimanjaro Foothills / SFS Water and Wildlife Studies
South Africa, Cape Town / University of Cape Town Exchange
Tanzania, Karatu / SFS Wildlife Management & Wildlife Research
China, Hong Kong / Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Exchange
Bhutan, Bumthang / SFS Himalayan Studies
Denmark, Copenhagen / University of Copenhagen Exchange
Denmark, Copenhagen / Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)
England, Leeds / University of Leeds Exchange
Ireland, Dublin / Trinity College Dublin Exchange
Netherlands, Wageningen / Wageningen University Exchange
Wales, Cardiff / Cardiff University
Latin America and Caribbean
Costa Rica, Atenas / SFS Sustainable Development Studies
Costa Rica, Monteverde / CIEE Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Costa Rica
Ecuador, Quito / Ceiba Tropical Conservation Semester: Galapagos, Andes and Amazon
Panama, Bocas del Toro / SFS Tropical Island Biodiversity & Conservation Studies
Turks & Caicos, South Caicos Island / SFS Marine Resource Studies
Australia, Brisbane / University of Queensland Exchange
Australia, Cairns & Townsville / James Cook University
Australia, Yungaburra / SFS Rainforest Studies
New Zealand, Multiple / Massey University Exchange
Search all IAP programs
The above list is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer Zoology courses. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests. Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page.