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 Advising and any of the advisors in the Office of Study Abroad.

Q: 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.

Q: Can I take the recommended premed science classes abroad?

No. Medical schools will not accept premedical sciences taken abroad. It is sometimes difficult to take sequenced science courses abroad. You will need to complete all of the required science courses in the U.S., preferably at Johns Hopkins.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q. 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.

Q: 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:


  • Hopkins St. Anne’s College (Oxford University) Pre-Med Program is a highly competitive program for sophomore/junior pre-med students with a 3.7 GPA. Students spend a full academic year completing many pre-med requirements in the rigorous Oxford tutorial system, which come back with Hopkins course numbers and grades.
  • Hopkins University College London is the oldest and largest institution within the University of London with excellent academics across all disciplines. The International Health and Medical Education Centre focuses on interdisciplinary international health policy studies. Students must have a 3.5 GPA to apply.
  • Hopkins Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain offers 6 credits: Neurobiology of Hearing (in English) and Spanish for Science Students, which focuses on Spanish science and medical terminology that might be useful to medical practice or research. Students must be junior/senior Neuroscience majors with a 3.0 GPA. No background in Spanish required.

DIRECT ENROLL (through IFSA-Butler):

  • King’s College London, England (has a premedical program focused on biomedical sciences and clinical experiences)
  • Oxford University, England
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (has a English language premedical program)
  • University College London, England
  • University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • University of Glasgow, Scotland (offers Functional Anatomy)
  • University of Melbourne, Australia (the Medical Faculty is one of the largest biomedical research institutions in Australia, offering courses in biomedical sciences, as well as other medical areas including health and society, women’s health, cultural studies in health, rural health, and public health policy)
  • University of Queensland, Australia (offers Functional Anatomy)
  • University of Sydney, Australia (offers courses in community health, biomedical sciences, and indigenous health through their Faculties of Health Sciences)