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Students frequently ask whether they can take courses in natural and mathematical sciences abroad. We do not recommend that students who only need to fulfill distributional requirements take science and math courses abroad. Courses in these disciplines abroad are usually designed for majors. However, students majoring in the sciences have a number of interesting options to choose from:


IU has exchange programs at the Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Western Australia and the University of Wollongong. Each institution has strong programs in the natural and physical sciences although some fields stand out at each. Students have taken courses in anatomy, biology, chemistry, geology, informatics, mathematics and physics at these institutions which have counted towards their major requirements. Others have taken such courses to satisfy distributional requirements but have found the courses more demanding than they expected. Check the program binders and course equivalency listings in the Information Center for more details.

Cayman Islands

IU’s Department of Biology has a tropical biology program with an emphasis on ecology and co-evolution between plants and animals, both terrestrial and aquatic, on the summer Grand Cayman program. Participants must have good swimming skills and be certified to SCUBA dive. Twelve qualified students may participate in this program which grants 3 credits for BIOL-L 433 (Tropical Biology).

Chile (IES)

Students on the IES Abroad Santiago Health Studies summer program participate in seminar with clinical observations in areas such as health services administration, adolescent and sexual concerns, nutrition and health, multidisciplinary approach to additions, mothers and children’s health care and urgent care, as well as a Spanish for Healthcare Practitioners language course. Program is designed for advanced Spanish students in health-related majors. IU students earn 7 credits.

Costa Rica

IU's Department of Biology has a tropical biology program that explores the rainforest of Costa Rica during the winter break. Sixteen qualified students may participate in this program which grants 3 credits for BIOL L433 (Tropical Biology).

Costa Rica (CIEE)

Students on CIEE's Tropical Biology program take classes at the Monteverde Institute's biological field station near the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, Costa Rica. IU students earn 16 credits in courses on tropical diversity, community ecology, and humans in the tropics. Students also complete an independent study project and receive Spanish instruction. Spanish language background is recommended, but not required.


The Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) offers both semester and summer programs that include course offerings in biology, neuroscience and public health in the Copenhagen Semester Program and the Copenhagen Summer Program. Programming includes study tours in Europe.

Ecuador (IES)

Students on the IES Abroad Quito and Galapagos Islands Environmental Studies summer program participate in three courses, including a Spanish language course, Conservation and Public Policy in Ecuador, and Ecuadorian Ecosystems. Program includes extensive field trips. IU students earn 9 credits.


IU has one exchange position in chemistry and another in physics at the University of Kent in Canterbury, Britain. Students participating in this exchange take either a full year or spring semester of courses which count towards their degree in chemistry or physics, while their British counterparts come to Indiana University in their place. Students in the biological sciences have also studied at the University of Kent, dedicating a full year or spring semester to science study, including lab work. Biochemistry, microbiology and computer science are especially strong fields at Kent.


Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics majors, with a working knowledge of German, can study successfully at the University of Freiburg. Semester courses are available and students need not devote themselves fully to the sciences, unlike Britain where science students do not have the option to take humanities and social science courses.

Netherlands Antilles (CIEE)

Bonaire serves as the location for the program, offering courses for biology, environmental studies, resource management. Integration of lectures and field experience in the setting which makes for a natural classroom.

New Zealand (IES)

Students on the IES Abroad Christchurch semester program enroll in 15-17 IU credits at the University of Canterbury. Students have access to a wide array of courses in a variety of areas, including biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics.

South Africa (CIEE)

Students directly enroll at the University of Cape Town on this semester program where students are taking 16 IU credits. The University of Cape Town offers coursework in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, geology, mathematics and physics.

Turkey (CIEE)

Istanbul serves as the location for the program, offering courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.  In addition to a required Turkish language course, students are encouraged to take coursework that will help them understand the history, society, politics and art of the region.

Other Options

Science students may certainly explore other options than those listed above. There are a number of science-related programs sponsored by other institutions which may be of interest to you. Consult the IIE books, Academic Year Abroad or Summer Study Abroad, which are available in the Office of Overseas Study in the Leo R. Dowling International Center, 111 South Jordan Avenue.

In an increasingly competitive global economy, the international dimension of education is becoming more and more important. Indeed, it is a matter of practical necessity: we have to provide it as a part of a good education, and students increasingly demand it."

-IU President Michael A. McRobbie

Other Options

All IU majors can explore opportunities in a wide range of IU and Non-IU programs.

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