Nobody goes straight to the heart of the matter quite like biologists. The study of life itself, the chemical compounds that constitute us and the evolutionary forces which drive our existence, is universal in application. Earning your biology degree abroad can accordingly take you anywhere in the world that most excites your intellectual curiosity; are you ready for an adventure?
Why Earn Your Degree Abroad
Whatever field you intend to move forward in after your studies – whether it be in academia, industry, medicine, or any combination thereof – the opportunity to earn your biology degree abroad as a means to that end is simply too good to pass up on. As a subject offered by essentially every major university in the world, this is your chance to pick any destination that most intrigues you, and there put your best foot forward into the scientific study of life at large.
While most universities around the world offer the opportunity for foreign students to pursue a biology degree abroad, there are some determining factors that can help narrow your focus during the search. One thing to consider is obviously whether you can see yourself settling into that country for the long haul; you never know what opportunities might come up while earning your biology degree abroad, and it is not uncommon for students to remain abroad as expats after graduation.
Another important factor to consider is the language barrier. As a full time student pursuing a degree at a foreign university, you will typically be expected to be fluent in your host country’s language in order to be considered for enrollment. Many universities in the non-English speaking world (places as varied as Germany, China, Argentina, and Malaysia) will administer an examination prior to your studies in order to make sure of your proficiency.
For students who do not know a second language, or are unwilling to learn one, the good news is that English speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom host many of the most respected biology programs in the world. While you may not gain from the same kind of culture shock you might experience in other countries, universities in the English speaking world understandably remain attractive options because of their high quality academics.
Academics & Degrees
Biology is a broad, interdisciplinary field that encompasses many sub-disciplines and specializations within its scope. As an undergraduate you will likely be expected to take a variety of courses within related fields such as chemistry, math, physics, and physiology as part of your degree track. Usually there are no set prerequisites to enrolling in a biology degree at the undergraduate level.
While many biology majors move on to pursue a medical degree, there also lays the possibility to continue your academic pursuits at the postgraduate level by obtaining a Master’s or PhD in the field. The details of these programs may differ depending on the country where you earn your biology degree abroad, but for the most part you can expect a Master’s program to require one or two years of study, and a PhD program to require several additional years on top of this.
You will also often be expected to choose a focus within a particular branch of biology during the course of your graduate studies, such as molecular biology, evolutionary biology, or cellular biology. Extensive research in the laboratory or field and a final thesis are commonly expected of graduate students of biology around the world as well.
Benefits & Challenges
Adaptation. While biologists make a living off studying the underlying mechanisms of life, understanding the environmental forces that shape behaviors can be equally important. Living amidst a different culture is a valuable lesson in the powers of both nature and nurture.
Evolution. Earning your biology degree abroad will be a tremendous personal growth experience, as you challenge yourself to tackle the difficulties of culture shock and life away from home. It can prove a tremendously humbling and maturing journey.
Competition. Lastly, earning your degree abroad in biology will certainly not help your chances of advancing to the next step of your career path; it shows employers and admissions officers that you are flexible, ambitious, and able to communicate effectively across cultures.