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Microbiology in Western Europe

Biomedical Research and Public Health Aspects in Western Europe
Earn three hours of biology credit and visit some of Europe's leading pharmaceutical companies and infectious disease research units.
Paris, France; Strasbourg, France; Heidelberg, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland; London, England
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Exercise Science
Community Health
Program Type: 
Open to non-KU Students
Faculty Led
  • Explore the differences between European and US health care systems by visiting leading European public health organizations, reserach institutes, and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Spend three weeks exploring and experiencing remarkable cities in France, Germany, Switzerland, and England.
  • Earn three Biology credit hours towards your degree.
  • Review our coronavirus information page for details on how we're planning for study abroad this summer.
  • Now accepting applications for Summer 2021.
Program Summary: 

This program will take students to some of the leading infectious disease research institutes and pharmaceutical companies in Germany, France, Switzerland, and England.  Participants will be exposed to many of the public health approaches and aspects of western European countries giving them the opportunity to compare and contrast those found within the United States.  The itinerary will also include visits to historical sites related to infectious disease impacts on human development (e.g. plague, pox vaccine, etc.), industry visits highlighting food microbiology processes, as well as cultural tours and activities.


The program will visit the following cities in Summer 2021:

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • Paris, France
  • London, England

Details for the Summer 2021 itinerary are still being confirmed, but check back soon for updates.  See the 2019 itinerary below for examples of the types of visits and activities that will be included in each city.

2019 Itinerary

May 24 - Depart U.S.

May 25 - Arrive in Paris, France (5 nights in Paris): The program begins with a guided boat tour down the Seine River, one of the most relaxing and expedient ways to view the sights of Paris.  The following days in Paris will include visits to the Palace of Versailles, the Institut Pasteur, the Musée du Louvre, UNESCO head offices, and the Musée Pasteur.

May 30 - Travel to Geneva, Switzerland (3 nights in Geneva): Once in Geneva, there are scheduled visits to the World Health Organization, UNAIDS Headquarters, the United Nations Office at Geneva, and the Red Cross Museum. Before moving onto Basel, the group will enjoy a day trip to Gruyere.

June 2 - Travel to Basel, Switzerland (1 night in Basel): Participants will visit Novartis Basel, a pharmaceutical company, to learn about their reserach in the health care sector. Other visits will include a distillery, the Anatomic Museum and the Pharmacy Museum.

June 3 - Travel to Strasbourg, France (2 nights in Strasbourg): From Basel, students will travel to Strasbourg, the capital of the Grand Est region of France and the official seat of the European Parliament.  A visit to the hospital group Saint Vincent will provide participants with a comparative view of the French and US health care systems.  The itinerary also includes a winery tour and a weekend excursion to the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, former residence of Wilhelm II.

June 5 - Travel to Heidelberg, Germany (5 nights in Heidelberg): Participants will then travel on to Heidelberg, home to one of Germany’s most reputable universities.  A guided tour of the Germany Pharmacy Museum and Heidelberg Castle will start things off, and during their time in Heidelberg participants will have the opportunity to visit several leading research institutions such as the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the German Cancer Research Center, and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. 

June 10 - Travel to Utrecht & Amsterdam, Netherlands (3 nights in Utrecht): For the final leg of the program, participants will stay in Utrecht with day trips to Amsterdam. The group will visit Micropia (a microbiology museum), the National Health Care Institute and the Van Gogh Museum.

June 13 - Depart Europe and return to U.S.

Academic Information: 

Three hours of upper level undergraduate credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program.

Credit:  BIOL 423 – Non-laboratory Independent Study

BIOL 423 will count towards the elective requirement for all biology majors, and it also satisfies KU Core Goal 6.


Participants will stay in conveniently located hotels in Paris, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Basel, Geneva and London.  Rooms are double or triple occupancy, and continental breakfast is included daily.


Open to undergraduate and graduate students, sophomore level and above, from any accredited US college or university who have a minimum 2.5 GPA.

No prior biology experience or knowledge is required, but priority will be given to students pursuing one of the Molecular Biosciences majors. Priority will be given to current KU students, but students from other colleges and universities will be accepted if space is available. 

Program Faculty: 

Dr. Scott Hefty, Professor and Undergraduate Studies Director for the Department of Molecular Biosciences will lead the program.

8051 Haworth Hall


Summer 2021 programs now accepting applications !

Winter Break Info Session Schedule

Study Abroad & Global Engagement physical office will be closed for walkin traffic from Nov 20th - January 15th. However, we are still open virtually! 

NOTE: Our staff will be unable to meet virtually beginning on Thursday, December 24 through Friday, January 1 as SAGE will be closed during this time. 

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