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Study Abroad Programs for Chemistry Major

LemonleeLemonlee Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
My daughter is a sophomore at an LAC that fully funds their Study Abroad programs meaning that it would cost her the same as a semester on campus (the school even covers the airfare). That was one of the big selling points for us when she was considering schools and she was really looking forward to the opportunity. Now she is telling me that as a potential Chemistry major, she doesn't think she will be able to study abroad and still finish in 4 years and that none of the other Chem majors at her school study abroad. This is so hard for me to believe. Are there no Study Abroad programs that offer Chemistry classes that would help fulfill the requirements for her major? Do science majors never study abroad? How can that be true?
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Replies to: Study Abroad Programs for Chemistry Major

  • crknwk2000crknwk2000 Registered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    Hi, my daughter has listed Chem as her major and is applying to several LACs. Would you mind telling me where your daughter is at school? This would be a big bummer to find out : (
    Hopefully you'll find a way to work around it....
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,219 Senior Member
    Perhaps she can try designing a schedule for the remaining semesters where:

    * Required courses and important prerequisites to other courses are taken at the home college.
    * The abroad semester contains elective courses (in or out of major) that the home college accepts for subject credit.
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,928 Senior Member
    My daughter is a chemistry major at St. Andrew's. They have loads of classes and they speak English.

    Although paying full LAC tuition would be a bummer
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 216 Junior Member
    Science majors, even chemistry ones, absolutely do study abroad, but it's going to depend on an individual school/faculty/department's policy with regards to accepting credits from other schools.

    I second what ucbalumnus suggests. If it is the case that the school will not give credit for courses required for the major taken at a different school, if she can arrange her timetable to have all her required courses for the year clustered in one semester and then have all her electives in a separate semester that could be a solution. In fact it could be fun to be able to dedicate a semester away to taking electives that she wouldn't be able to take at her own school.

    It is possible however that chemistry students don't go on exchange at her school not because they can't but because the department just doesn't have a history of their students doing so, so students don't think it's possible. If she could break the mold she might encourage other students in the faculty to do so as well. She should talk to her academic advisor and the study abroad office to see how she might be able to make it work. I find it hard to believe that a school that has such a strong support for their students studying abroad would make it impossible for students in a specific faculty to do so.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 9,075 Senior Member
    My kids did not do study abroad because it was too difficult to make sure that they'd be able to graduate in 8 semesters while doing so.... it's not just getting your credits accepted- it's making sure you are not out of synch with course sequences, you've got the right pre-req's in the right order, etc.

    If your D doubles up on the science requirements while at her college, make sure she's not giving herself a killer schedule senior year....when she also needs some slack time to either look for a job or apply to grad school (or both).

    We were unwilling to pay for an extra semester (the bad guys) in order to work in the overseas experience. But many parents do.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 3,363 Senior Member
    My daughter is planning on majoring in chem e and was told it is possible to do a whole semester abroad, but very difficult. Most of the upperclassmen advised her against it. The most compelling reasons against a whole semester abroad, from DD's perspective, were there being much more academic support for courses on her home campus than abroad, missing career and research fairs for summer internships, and would potentially put her off cycle for course sequences making it more difficult for scheduling. Many upperclassmen also said it would require an additional semester at school to graduate, or at least summer courses.

    Having weighed that advice and talking to her engineering advisors, DD is opting to do a month long study abroad, just two 3 credit courses, for the month of May right after completion of her freshman year. The program fulfills some gen ed and honors requirements, and will be in her target country - Italy. All the STEM based study abroad options in her school were in countries she already has visited/experienced and she wanted to go study somewhere new.

    I hope that it works out for you daughter in some way shape or form. I think studying abroad is a great experience for students!

  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 5,407 Senior Member
    I don't think this is an uncommon problem for science majors as other posters have noted. At my D's school, I know a lot of the science majors do a study abroad stint over the summer.
  • ChangeTheGameChangeTheGame Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    At my daughter's institution, going abroad is encouraged but she (also a chemistry major with math and biology minors) can not take any Chemistry, Math, or Biology courses abroad which makes it very difficult, but she will still be able to go during her 2nd semester of year 3 only by loading up (taking 19 credit hours the next 3 semesters along with starting college with 19 credit hours) so that she will have everything completed to graduate on time. When we visited Georgia Tech for an accepted student gathering in April, they talked about actually have Georgia Tech professors abroad so that their students could continue to matriculate without falling behind, so it definitely depends on the school you are at.
  • ECmotherx2ECmotherx2 Registered User Posts: 2,024 Senior Member
    Some LAC's have winter term, spring into summer or summer terms abroad that make it easier for science and engineering majors to attend and still finish required courses in 8 semesters. This was very important to my DD who was a marine science major. Does the college have any type of articulation agreement with an international college where she could do a summer research project?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,422 Senior Member
    Part of the problem can be the tight sequencing for sciences (OChem is a full year, PChem is a full year, etc.) and there is no way to double up or take the individual semesters out of sequence. She should find out if any of her classes can be taken out of sequence , and which of them could be taken in a summer session either at her college or elsewhere.
  • scout59scout59 Registered User Posts: 3,400 Senior Member
    ^^ This. When I majored in chemistry, Organic was a 2-semester class (sophomore year) as was PChem (junior year). There was no way to double up on Organic/Pchem and no way to take them out of sequence. Senior year classes (inorganic and quantum) were both required, and could be take out of sequence, but Quantum was only offered in the fall and inorganic only in the spring.

    As a result, the only chem major I knew who spent a semester abroad took 5 years to graduate.

    This rigidity in scheduling may not be a factor at every school (especially larger schools) but it was a deal-breaker at my small research U back in the day. -
  • nypapanypapa Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 11,948 Senior Member
    edited December 4
    Pre-med chem majors will have issues since they can't fulfill reqs out of the US. But a regular Chem major? Surely there are approved programs.

    My D is in a sequential sort of STEM major and needed particular courses in a particular order. She'd wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country for her semester abroad but that came off the table because none of those programs had 2 necessary courses her major department would accept and that she needed to take THAT semester. But a few countries did so she chose one of those and had a great semester abroad and came back with everything she needed to continue on with her major peers.

    How to make it work is a question your D needs to ask her major department and study abroad office. Just because other kids don't do it doesn't mean it cant be done. She just might have to choose from a much smaller number of specific programs.

    Worst case, she might do a study-domestic program in another part of the US. But I just googled "study abroad Chemistry" and got a bunch of program results.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,373 Senior Member
    Chemistry major eons ago. Especially for upper level chemistry classes I can see why they need to be taken at the home institution. So many two semester sequences (as above for P chem and organic) that one of the semesters abroad likely will leave gaps. I though the concept of a semester abroad was appealing (although finances were a huge problem) but realized the courses available did not work for my chemistry major.

    The above post for Germany- it does NOT matter that the country has a great chemistry tradition- like in the US what matters is the specific school you attend. Chemistry is a lab based field and an undergrad with limited experience will not be able to take advantage of the top programs. One needs to decide if taking longer to graduate or doing a lesser course is worth the experience abroad. Life experiences do not end with college graduation. There are grad school/fellowship ones plus just plain traveling. btw- some of those linked courses, aside from not being chemistry focused, refer to attending a "renowned" university.

    One makes choices in college. Choosing a STEM major over a social science/humanities major means different course requirements. Within a four year time frame the course and time requirements do not lend themselves to off campus semesters. The time for this would likely have been before getting into the intermediate/advanced classes for the major- when gen ed courses were being done. Of course, as a college freshman a student may not yet realize the desired major will preclude an easy semester abroad.
  • ChangeTheGameChangeTheGame Registered User Posts: 417 Member
    edited December 4
    My daughter is taking Physical Chemistry as a Senior and taking her Analytical Chem and Instrumentation class out of a normal sequence (both by 1st semester junior) but before her pre-reqs for each to overcome her sequencing issue and go abroad 2nd semester junior year.
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