Pre-Health & Pre-Medicine

General Planning Tips For Pre-Health & Pre-Med

  • With careful planning you can study abroad and still graduate on time.
  • The minimum eligibility requirements to study abroad are the completion of one semester on campus and a GPA of 2.5 or higher.  Some programs may have additional eligibility requirements.
  • Study abroad is a great way to satisfy your KU Core requirements.  Therefore, you might consider reserving some of your KU Core classes to take abroad.  
  • Scholarships are available for study abroad both through KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement and national organizations. Research your opportunities early.
  • Courses to take at KU: There may be certain courses within your curriculum that you should plan to take at KU.  Meet with your academic advisor to learn more about any restrictions that may exist in your curriculum so that you can effectively plan for a study abroad experience.

When To Go


  • Schedule a meeting with your pre-health advisor or pre-med advisor during your first semester at KU to discuss your graduation year plan and identify specific courses as well as specific timing opportunities for your study abroad experience.  In addition to meeting with your advisor, you should also review the online advising resources for pre-med and/or pre-health professions
  • After you’ve met with your academic advisor, continue your program research by visiting the KU Study Abroad Info Center in Lippincott Hall. Study abroad peer advisors can help you to identify suitable study abroad options based upon the information you received from your advisor.
  • Studying abroad usually requires two letters of recommendation, so it’s good to start identifying individuals who can speak to your academic qualifications as well as your ability to be successful during an international experience.
  • There are some unique experiential opportunities available for pre-health students over the summer, and you may be eligible for many of these after you've successfully completed your first year at KU. That summer would also be a great time to take some of your KU Core requirements abroad.  Applications for these programs are usually due March 1st or earlier, so visit the Study Abroad Info Center in the fall semester to learn more about your options.

Sophomore and Junior

  • Sophomore or Junior year is a common time for students to pursue a study abroad program during a fall or spring semester.  Specific timing recommendations will depend upon your major(s), so work closely with your academic advisor to determine the best time for you to study abroad.
  • Summer after junior year is not a good time to go overseas because most pre-health and pre-med students need to take admission tests and apply to professional schools and graduate programs during that time. 
  • Students often take a combination of major courses, elective courses, minor requirements, and/or KU Core requirements during their time abroad.  Your academic advisor can help you to determine which courses to target for your study abroad experience, and Study Abroad & Global Engagement can help you to find a suitable program match based on the information you learn from your academic advisor.


  • Most medical schools and health-related professional schools and graduate programs conduct admissions interviews in the fall of senior year, so this is not an ideal time to study abroad.
  • If you do plan to study abroad as a senior, you should first meet with an academic advisor prior to applying for a program to make sure that you are on track to complete all your degree requirements.

Courses and Credit

  • A number of study abroad courses have already been pre-approved for KU credit.  To see available pre-approved courses, visit the Course Equivalencies Database.
  • If you want to take a class/classes that have not been pre-approved, complete the credit approval process.

Recommended Programs For Pre-Health & Pre-Med

KU Exchanges - Various locations

The University of Kansas Study Abroad & Global Engagement offers a variety of semester and year-long exchanges for students studying biology, chemistry, psychology, engineering, exercise science, and more.  Popular options include the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. 

University of Costa Rica

For students studying Spanish, UCR is a wonderful opportunity to improve fluency and take courses in a variety of subjects abroad. Students live with local host families and enroll directly in classes with locals taught in Spanish. Subjects include biology, chemistry, psychology, and healthcare. Volunteer opportunities are available.

Microbiology in Western Europe

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. In addition to cultural tours and activities, historical sites related to infectious disease impacts on human development will also be included in the itinerary. 

Hospital Shadowing in Spain

Four and six-week programs where participants will gain extensive observation experience in a hospital setting, a broadened perspective on the medical vocation, and a comparative lens to examine global healthcare.  

Healthcare and Social Policies in Sweden

This KU sponsored, faculty-led summer program focuses on Sweden’s system of comprehensive and publicly-funded healthcare and social services. A professor will guide the group, provide background lectures, lead discussions, and answer questions. The program includes visits to healthcare facilities and lectures from local healthcare professionals. 

Race, History, & Health in Brazil

This winter break faculty-led program focuses on the interconnections between race and racism, history and politics, and health and inequality in Brazil’s Afro-diasporic communities. Learn about how Brazil’s legacy of slavery, colonialism, segregation, and socio-economic inequalities have disproportionately affected the health and well-being of its Afro-Brazilian communities. Lectures from health experts and visits to locations such as a health care research institution and public hospital will are planned along side cultural activities like museum visits, capoeira workshops, and an excursion to a beach village.

SIT Study Abroad - Various locations

The School for International Training offers global health summer and semester programs focused on research and service around the world. Options include Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Systems in MadagascarTraditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices in India, and Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. In addition, students may be interested in the public health programs in Argentina, Brazil, ChileJordan, and South Africa

DIS Study Abroad - Scandinavia

DIS offers semester and summer programs in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Disciplines include biomedicine, biotechnology, child development, family studies, gender studies, human development, neuroscience, pre-medicine, health science, psychology, and public health. 

CET Academic Programs - Vietnam

CET offers semester and summer programs in Vietnam focused on public health. Students participate in a service-learning internship, take courses in public health, and study beginning Vietnamese. This program may be eligible for Freeman Asia Internship Scholarships. 

Global Semesters - Cyprus

Global Semesters offers semester and summer programs in Cyprus focused on health sciences, pre-med, pharmacy, nursing, and physical therapy. Courses are offered in English through the University of Nicosia. 

UC Davis Microbiology Lab in the Kingdom of Smiles - Thailand

University of California Davis (UC Davis) offers a summer laboratory program introducing microbiology to students wishing to explore the enchanting and exotic Kingdom of Thailand. Students will explore microbial diversity from samples they obtain from a variety of places, ranging from open-air markets and urban canals to pristine jungles and beaches. 

IFSA Summer Nursing and Pre-Health, University of Ulster, Coleraine - Northern Ireland

Offered by Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA), students develop interpersonal and practical skills through nutrition and microbiology coursework combined with intercultural learning. Field and laboratory experiences are a key part of the program and include a visit to medical microbiology labs and practical lab work. 

Human Health & Spanish for Health Professionals - Costa Rica (available through multiple program providers such as AIFS, API, ISA, and more. Visit the link to see a full list of providers)

Students enroll at Veritas University in San Jose for the summer or semester and take a mix of coursework taught in English and Spanish language courses. Course options include Spanish for Health Professionals, Introduction to Genetics, Introduction to Physical Therapy, Alternative Health Approaches, Health Psychology, and Tropical Medicine.