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Study Abroad

If you are contemplating a semester abroad in your sophomore or junior year, you should plan carefully for it, and be sure to consult with your faculty advisor. Premedical science requirements may not be taken abroad.

A. Semester Abroad in Junior Year

Schedule D above easily allows you to spend the fall of your junior year abroad. Chemistry and Biochemistry majors should note that Chem 43 and 44 are required for the major and are ordinarily taken during the fall of the junior year. Chemistry and biochemistry majors should consult with the chemistry and biochemistry department early on to map out their coursework if they hope to study abroad. The MCAT can be taken either in the summer after the sophomore year or in the spring of the junior year. Schedule C above also allows you to take the fall semester of the junior year abroad, if physics is taken during the summer between the sophomore and junior years.

B. Semester Abroad in Sophomore Year

Two possible schedules for studying abroad in the spring semester of the sophomore year are listed below. Other plans are just as feasible, especially if you do not plan to attend medical school right after graduation from Swarthmore.

Schedule F
Year Fall Spring
Freshman Year Bio 1
Math 15
Chem 10
Bio 2
Chem 22
Sophomore Year Chem 32
Stat 11
Soc/Anth
Study Abroad
(Physics I and II with lab at summer school)
Junior Year Psych 1 Chem 38
MCAT
Schedule G
Year Fall Spring
Freshman Year Math 15
Chem 10
Bio 2
Chem 22
Psych 1
Sophomore Year Bio 1
Chem 32
Study Abroad
(Physics I and II with lab at summer school)
Junior Year Stat 11
Soc/Anth
Chem 38
MCAT

If you are not planning to attend medical school right after graduation, this gives you the flexibility to complete the premedical requirements in the senior year and take the MCAT in the spring of your senior year, making it easier to fit in study abroad.

Summer School

As indicated above, you may fulfill the premedical requirements by taking some of the courses at summer school. This allows you to avoid doubling up on laboratory courses, and to pursue study abroad and other academic interests during the regular academic year. You should not overuse the summer school option, however, because medical schools want to see evidence that you can handle difficult science courses as part of a regular academic load. A conservative strategy would be to take no more than two of the premedical science courses at summer school, e.g. Physics I and II or Organic Chemistry I and II.

It is important to take courses only at an accredited four-year U.S. college or university, and to check that the courses have a laboratory and are the ones normally taken by their premed students. If the school is on a quarter or trimester system, be sure your coursework grants equivalent credit to what you would earn at Swarthmore. If you want to transfer the credits to Swarthmore, you must get pre-approval from your academic advisor, the registrar, and the corresponding Swarthmore department. However, it is not necessary to get Swarthmore credit for a course to count for medical school applications, as you will be required to submit a transcript directly from all schools attended when you apply. If the summer course is a prerequisite to a course you plan to take at Swarthmore, check with the corresponding Swarthmore department as to whether the summer course is robust enough to prepare you for the Swarthmore course.