Students Interested in Studying Abroad

The Department of Molecular Biology encourages concentrators to study abroad. The department is committed to working with students to help ensure that those who wish to study abroad are able to do so without compromising the quality of their molecular biology education.  

Plan ahead. Study abroad requires careful advance planning, especially for pre-medical students. It is crucial, for example, that interested students complete their chemistry and, if possible, biochemistry requirements prior to the start of junior year (see below). Consult with the Office of International Programs study abroad staff early in your Princeton career.

The fall semester of junior year is the best time for molecular biology concentrators to study abroad. In rare cases, study abroad might be an option for seniors doing an independent (i.e., non-laboratory) thesis. Study abroad during the spring semester of junior year – when concentrators are expected to work closely with their faculty advisers on spring junior papers – will not generally be approved.

Juniors who wish to study abroad must fulfill chemistry requirements beforehand. They need to complete CHM 201/202/303/304(B), and if possible MOL 345, during their freshman and sophomore years.

While abroad, students need to complete the equivalent of the fall semester junior paper. Some students fulfill this requirement by completing an independent scientific literature reading program, including weekly communication with a molecular biology faculty member and written reports, while they are abroad. Others join a journal club in a research laboratory abroad, again with close monitoring by a member of our department.

Study abroad that entails intensive laboratory research (e.g., the Oxford-Princeton Exchange in Biochemistry) can, with advance permission, substitute for MOL 350. None of the other core courses (MOL 342, MOL 345, MOL 348) can be completed abroad, nor can any concentrator graduate with fewer than eight approved departmentals taken at Princeton.

The Office of International Programs has a detailed list of study abroad options listed on their website. Interested students should, at their earliest opportunity, discuss their plans with the departmental study abroad adviser, Fred Hughson.