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.
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.
  • Applications now open for Summer 2024.

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 2024:

  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Paris, France
  • London, England

2024 Itinerary (Tentative)

May 18- Depart U.S.

May 19 - 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)UNAIDS Headquarters, visit to a biotech company such as Geneva-Biotech, Epithelix, Selexis or Fluorosphere, visit to private hospital Hopital de La Tour and a free day to explore.

May 23 - Travel to Basel, Switzerland (2 nights in Basel): Participants will visit Hoffmann-La Roche and Novartis, a global leader in innovative pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer health products.

May 25 - 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.

May 29 - Travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands (3 nights in Amsterdam): The program will then travel to Amsterdam where they will visit a biotech company such as CimCure, VectorY or the National health Care Institute and visit Micropia, a museum dedicated to microbes and microbiology. While in Amsterdam the group will also visit the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.

June 1 - Travel to Paris, France (4 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 French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, the Institut Pasteur, and a free morning.

June 5 - 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 International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) then take a day trip to Oxford for a tour of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and visit to the Jenner Institute which specializes in the development of vaccines.

June 9 - Program ends.

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

Upon successful completion of the program three hours of upper level undergraduate credit are granted by the University of Kansas for the following course:

BIOL 490 – Internship and Practical Applications (3 credit hours)

*Honors course contract available for students in the Honors Program.*

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 Amsterdam, Paris, 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.

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


8051 Haworth Hall