Study Abroad


The chemistry and biochemistry majors curriculum is designed with the flexibility to allow multiple options for studying abroad.  During the academic year, roughly 1/3 of our majors spend a semester abroad. Additionally, many students complete academic study or research abroad during the summer. Below you will find some information on the most common programs our students choose, as well as some other considerations that will play into your decision making process.

Anywhere you want to go

Students in Notre Dame's London program

There is enough flexibility in both the chemistry and biochemistry majors to allow you to take an entire semester off from science classes. This can be done without overloading your remaining semesters in terms of either science classes or total credits. Students who are interested in participating in a non-science international program should talk with their advisor as soon as possible.  Together student and advisor work out a 4-year plan to ensure on-time graduation.  The semester abroad is then spent taking classes that fulfill University requirements, serve as electives, or contribute towards a minor.  In addition to the science programs mentioned below, recent students have participated in the programs in Chile, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK.  The fall semester in Puebla, Mexico program is particularly appealing to those interested in the medical field due to its practicum program (lectures on healthcare in Mexico and the opportunity to shadow Mexican doctors at Puebla’s Hospitals).  Sample schedules for students going to non-science programs can be found for Chemistry (76 kB pdf) & Biochemistry (109 kB pdf).

Our most popular program - Dublin

Dublin UCD

Each year, the majority of chemistry and biochemistry students who study abroad choose University College Dublin (UCD).  This program’s popularity is due to the close matching of science courses offered between the two schools.   As a result, students who choose UCD stay on track with their peers.  Of course, the Irish connection is always appealing to students as well.  Students can choose to spend either the fall or spring semester at UCD. Recently, a course has been established so students can conduct research for credit while abroad.  A list of approved courses that fulfill requirements in the chemistry or biochemistry majors is available: Dublin (49 kB pdf). For those looking to spend the entire year abroad, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) offers both semester and year-long programs.  

Science-centered programs

Students from Notre Dame's Perth program at Shell Beach / Coral Bay

Perth, Australia offers a wide variety of chemistry and biology courses that can fulfill departmental requirements. Since the semesters are switched between here and Australia, students who participate in this program can expect a few courses to be off-sequence from their classmates back at Notre Dame. A list of some pre-approved courses can be found here: Western Australia (54 kB pdf). Three newer programs, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 2008), Hong Kong University (HKU, 2012), and National University of Singapore (NUS, 2014) offer numerous science options that match up well with Notre Dame’s science courses. A small selection of science courses are offered in London as well. 

Other opportunities

Students who cannot go abroad during the school year, or who do not want to be out of the country for an entire semester still have options.  Several summer study abroad programs are offered each year that fulfill University requirements.  One of the big advantages of the summer programs is that courses are taught in English at most locations, eliminating the language requirements.

The International Summer Service Learning Programs (ISSLP), administered through the Center for Social Concerns, provide opportunities for students to experience other cultures while serving those in some of the world’s developing and non-industrialized nations.  Uganda, Tanzania, Honduras, Nepal, and Ecuador are just a few of the many ISSLP locations.


The earlier you start thinking about study abroad, the better.  Many of the school-year programs have minimum language requirements.  Make sure you meet those or can do so by the time you would travel.  Some programs do offer intensive language courses to allow you to fulfill these requirements. 

Those interested in medical or dental school must also consider whether or not they are willing to take a gap year between graduation and matriculation into professional school.  Those who desire to go directly into medical or dental school after graduation must apply the summer following their junior year.  The Health Professions Advisors strongly discourage students following this plan from studying abroad during the spring semester of their junior year, because their academic records for their semester abroad will still be incomplete at the time of application.  Taking a gap year eliminates this restriction allowing students to go abroad either semester.