Biomedical Sciences and Public Health in Italy

Image of Florence, Italy
Earn two hours of biology credit while gaining an inside look at practical applications of biomedical sciences in Rome and Florence.
Location: Rome and Florence, Italy
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Spring Break
Academic Disciplines: Biology
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Earn 2 biology credits towards your degree. 
  • Explore differences between the Italian and U.S. public health systems.
  • Visit hospitals, clinics, medical centers, and labs to gain an understanding of health and disease in Italy.
  • Visit the Coliseum, view world-famous Renaissance art, and explore two of Italy’s most enchanting cities: Florence and Rome.

This program offers a first-hand look at practical applications of biomedical sciences in Italy. Through visits to public and private healthcare facilities, research centers, a molecular laboratory, and a pharmaceutical company, students will gain an understanding of how biomedical researchers, biologists, and medical professionals tackle issues of health and disease in Italy. The visits will expose students to the Italian approach to public health to compare and contrast public health and healthcare facilities in the United States. The program also includes city tours of Rome and Florence and several cultural activities.

This program takes place in two of Italy’s most iconic cities: Rome and Florence. Rome is the capital city of Italy and one of Europe’s most ancient urban centers dating back more than 3,000 years. Florence is the capital of Italy's Tuscany region and is known as the cradle of the Renaissance with an abundance of masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture.

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

Credit:  BIOL 490 – Internship and Practical Applications (2 credit hours)

This course will consist of lectures, discussion, site visits, and excursions to explore in-depth Italy’s healthcare system.  

Participants will stay in conveniently located hotels in Rome and Florence. Rooms are double or triple occupancy with a private bathroom and continental breakfast is included daily. Two group dinners are also included in the cost of the program. A public transportation pass for Rome and chartered roundtrip bus transportation from the airport is also included in the program.

2023 Program Itinerary

Friday, March 10: Depart for Rome, Italy

Saturday, March 11: Arrive in Rome and transfer to hotel; orientation and welcome dinner.

Sunday, March 12: Guided walking tour of Rome, tour of Coliseum, visit to Roman Forum and Palatine.

Monday, March 13: Visits to the International Medical Center, a private clinic, and a public hospital.

Tuesday, March 14: Visit to the Medical Center of Caritas Rome and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Wednesday, March 15: Travel from Rome to Florence; orientation and walking tour of Florence, and visit to the University Hospital Meyer Children's Hospital.

Thursday, March 16: Activities in Florence TBD.

Friday, March 17:  Return to Rome and visit the Italian National Institute of Health.

Saturday, March 18: Free time to explore Rome plus Italian cooking class and farewell dinner.

Sunday, March 19: Program ends. Transfer to airport.

All program activities and planned visits are tentative and subject to change.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

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. 

Note: Students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days in advance of the program departure date to participate in this program due to the requirements of the CEPA, the organization KU works with to organize this program.

Dr. Scott Hefty, Professor and Undergraduate Studies Director for the Department of Molecular Biosciences will lead the program. Dr. Hefty has led multiple KU study abroad programs and also directs the Biomedical Research and Public Health in Western Europe program.