Montana State University

Bioscience across the pond, new partnership provides MSU students with unique study abroad opportunity

College Office

You would expect to find exchange programs in departments such as Modern Languages and Literatures (and they do have many great programs!) but departments throughout the college are striving to provide their majors with international experiences within their course of study—through opportunities to go abroad as well as working with visiting international students on the MSU campus. An excellent example is a bioscience exchange program between the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience and the University of Exeter.

The fledgling program has brought 12 British students to MSU so far, but only one MSU student to Exeter. Working toward greater parity, Andrew Shaw, professor of biosciences at Exeter, and Frances Lefcort, professor of cell biology and neuroscience, compared syllabi and discovered that MSU science majors could graduate on time even if they attended Exeter. MSU students had thought that studying abroad would interrupt the sequence of classes they’d need to graduate in four years and make it difficult to fulfill their prerequisites for upper-level courses, Lefcort said. Addressing those concerns, Shaw said Exeter offers classes that match the requirements for MSU science majors. It also offers classes that aren’t available at MSU, such as forensic science and astrochemistry.

Lefcort and Shaw said MSU students—like Exeter students—would benefit from attending school in another country. Exeter is only eight miles from the sea, close to a national park and approximately 2½ hours by train to London.

Updated: 04/15/2011