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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; Freiburg, Germany; Geneva, Switzerland
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Exercise Science
Community Health
Program Type: 

Next Offering - Summer 2019

  • Explore the differences between European and US health care systems by visiting some of the leading pharmaceutical research institutes and companies
  • Spend three weeks exploring and experiencing some of the most beautiful cities in France, Germany, and Switzerland
  • Earn three credit hours towards your Biology degree
Program Summary: 

This program will take students to some of the leading infectious disease research institutes and pharmaceutical companies in Germany, France, and Switzerland.  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.


Paris, France (5 days): 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.

Strasbourg, France (4 days): From Paris, students will travel via TGV train to Strasbourg, the capital of the Grand Est region of France and the official seat of the European Parliament.  Visits to both the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM) and 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 weekend excursion to the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, former residence of Wilhelm II.

Heidelberg, Germany (5 days): 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. 

Freiburg, Germany (2 days): Participants will spend the weekend in Freiburg exploring the medieval city, taking in the beautiful cathedrals and colorful daily market, and enjoying a guided tour of a local distillery.

Geneva, Switzerland (4 days): Before traveling on to the final destination, the itinerary includes a stop in Basel, Switzerland where participants will visit a pharmaceutical company to learn about their research in the health care sector.  Once in Geneva, there are scheduled visit to the World Health Organization, UNAIDS Headquarters, the United Nations Office at Geneva, and the Red Cross Museum.

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, Freiburg, and Geneva.  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 < http://molecularbiosciences.ku.edu/p-scott-hefty>, Associate Professor and Undergraduate Studies Director for the Department of Molecular Biosciences will lead the program.



8051 Haworth Hall


Deadlines Extended for Summer, Fall and Academic Year Programs.

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