Biomedical Research and Public Health in Western Europe

Image of Heidelberg, Germany
Earn three hours of biology credit and visit some of Europe's leading pharmaceutical companies and infectious disease research units. Next offered Summer 2024.
Location: Paris, France; Strasbourg, France; Heidelberg, Germany; Gene
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Explore the differences between European and US health care systems by visiting leading European public health organizations, research 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.
  • Next planned program offering: Summer 2024. Applications will open in Nov/Dec 2023.

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 2022:

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

2022 Itinerary

May 21 - Depart U.S.

May 22 - Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland (4 nights in Geneva): The program begins with an orientation session and guided walking tour of Geneva to see highlights of the city. The following days in Geneva will include visits to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)UNAIDS Headquarters, the Red Cross Museum, and a free day to explore.

May 26 - Travel to Basel, Switzerland (2 nights in Basel): Participants will visit Hoffmann-La Roche, a Swiss multinational healthcare company with pharmaceutical and diagnostics divisions to learn about their research in the health care sector. Other visits will include the Anatomic Museum, the Pharmacy Museum, and Novartis, a global leader in innovative pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer health products.

May 28 - 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 tour of the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, former residence of Wilhelm II.

May 30 - Travel to Heidelberg, Germany (4 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. 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. The group will also visit Heidelberg University and the Heidelberger Kulturbrauerei where the brew master will explain the scientific steps involved in brewing beer.

June 3 - Travel to Paris (5 nights in Paris): The program in Paris begins with a guided boat tour down the Seine River, one of the most relaxing ways to view the sights of Paris. The following days in Paris will include visits to the Palace of Versailles, the Musée du Louvre, the Museum of the History of MedicineMicalis Institute, the Institut Pasteur, and a free day.

June 8 - Travel to London (4 nights in London): For the final leg of the program, participants will take a train to London. The group will enjoy a walking tour of London and visit the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, the Science Museum, the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum, and take a day trip to Oxford for a tour of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and a free afternoon in the famous university town.

June 12 - Program ends.

Note: All itinerary details and planned visits are subject to change.

Three 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 (3 credit hours)

BIOL 490 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.

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.

Additional Resources

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. 

Due to the entry requirements of countries this program will visit and the policy of the organization KU works with to organize this program, full vaccination against COVID-19 is required for participation in this program.

Dr. Scott Hefty, Professor and Undergraduate Studies Director for the Department of Molecular Biosciences will lead the program.
8051 Haworth Hall