Study Abroad

Medical school admissions committees have expressed the opinion that study abroad offers students an opportunity to broaden their undergraduate experience. The student who has had this experience gains in maturity, self-knowledge, and appreciation of the cultural differences among people. These students bring an enhanced wisdom to any medical program that accepts them. If you are preparing for a career in the medical and health professions, you will gain important experience from living and studying internationally. As with all students, your overall goals for your undergraduate studies should shape how you envision your international experience. As you consider your plans, it is important to establish a set of priorities and to remain flexible.

For more information on planning an international experience of credit issues for pre-health students, consult with an advisor in the Office of Pre-Professional Programs & Advising and any of the advisors in the Office of Global Education

For a full list of approved study abroad options, please consult the Global Education Office’s Program Finder (you can search for pre-med-relevant opportunities using the Areas of Study parameter for ‘Health & Medicine’).

I’m premed. Can I still study abroad?

Yes!!! It is possible for premed students to study abroad during their years at Johns Hopkins. It’s feasible with good planning and flexibility

Can I take the recommended premed science classes abroad?

Can I take my premedical science classes over the summer in order to study abroad?

In many cases, taking premedical prerequisites in the summer to allow you to better accomplish your academic goals is justified. This may be the case with physics, as it is normally taken in the junior year, and is an attractive sequence to take in the summer. This decision should be discussed individually with an advisor in the Office of Pre-Professional Programs and Advising.

When is the best time to study abroad for a premed student?

This answer depends on the individual student and on his/her premed, personal and academic timeline. Some students chose to take a year off between their undergraduate studies and medical school-they are therefore easily able to study abroad during their Junior Year. More than 60% of Johns Hopkins medical school applicants apply after taking at least one year off after graduating. Other students have completed all of their premed sciences by the end of their sophomore year, which leaves the junior year open for studying abroad. If the student intends to apply to medical school at the end of the junior year, the best times for study abroad are in the Fall semester of the junior year, or in the summers. In this circumstance the Spring semester of the junior year is usually occupied with MCAT examinations and the Recommendation Committee process at Johns Hopkins. The Fall semester of the senior year is the time for medical school interviews. Some students may chose a summer study abroad experience or less frequently, chose to study abroad during their senior year. The fall semester of the senior year is attractive for the student who is delaying applying for at least one year. Your individual timeline should be discussed with your advisors.

While there are some international sites which administer the MCAT, you should think carefully about whether you really want to make the commitment to undertake MCAT preparation while abroad. This might take away from the overall study abroad experience.

Do I need to go to a program which leads to a transcript from an American university?

Studying abroad at a program which issues a transcript from an American university will result in regular Johns Hopkins grades calculated into your overall grade point average. These grades will be factored into your AMCAS application. If you study abroad at a program not sponsored by an American University, the grades will appear as S/U on your transcript and not be calculated into your overall grade point average. On your AMCAS application they will appear as P/NP and not be factored into your AMCAS GPA.

Are there study abroad programs specifically for premed students?

Yes. There are a few programs that are designed specifically for premed students. There are also programs that focus on health, community issues, development, and biomedical subjects where you might pursue your own interests in science & health. Please see the selection of study abroad programs recommended for premedical students: