“Off-Campus Studies gives students hands-on experience in the field, generates thesis data and expands a student’s knowledge base.  Any exposure to global perspectives is  good and enriching.”  - Delbert Hutchison, Associate Professor

Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Biology students…

  • Improve foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline in a different academic and geographic setting
  • Develop primary research skills from field or lab work in a different locale
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Biology department?

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with host-country students
  • Field study program with opportunities to engage in research with the local community and environment
  • Program that offers an opportunity for independent study research

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Biology prepare for various career opportunities? 

  • Study abroad provides biology majors with research opportunities and exposure to the international scientific community that enhances international career opportunities.

Which requirements can Biology majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • Major credit, especially courses in the three biology categories (Molecular/Cell Biology; Organismal Biology; Ecology/Evolution
  • The biology department recommends against taking major requirements in non-English speaking locations.  Biology courses selected during off-campus studies should take advantage of the location (e.g. Marine ecology in Australia).

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Biology Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First year students should enroll in CHEM 125 & 126 General Chemistry with labs; one year of Calculus; and perhaps BIOL 111 Biological Principles
  • Second year students should enroll in CHEM 245 Organic Chemistry I; BIOL 111 Biological Principals, BIOL 112 The Biological World, and perhaps BIOL 205 Genetics with lab

Credit Limitations

A maximum of 11 credits can be applied to the Biology major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) with the approval of the student’s major adviser.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Biology department?

Field-based programs suitable for biology majors:

  • SIT Australia:  Sustainability and Environmental Action (Byron Bay)
  • SFS Australia:  Center for Rainforest Studies (Queensland)
  • CIEE Monteverde:  Tropical Ecology and Conservation (Costa Rica)
  • SFS Costa Rica:  Sustainable Development Studies (Atenas)
  • SIT Ecuador:  Comparative Ecology and Conservation (Quito)
  • SFS Kenya/Tanzania:  Center for Wildlife Management Studies
  • SIT Madagascar:  Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management (Fort Dauphin)
  • SFS Panama:  Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies
  • SFS Turks & Caicos Islands: Center for Marine Resource Studies
  • SeaSemester (Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA)

University-based programs offering biology and other natural science courses:

  • University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • University of East Anglia (Norwich, England)
  • University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • University of St Andrews, (St Andrews, Scotland)

Students interested in health professions/public health may wish to consider the following options:

  • SIT Chile:  Public Health, Traditional Medicine and Community Empowerment (Arica)
  • DIS Denmark Institute for Study Abroad (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • IES London:  Health Practice and Policy (England)
  • SIT South Africa:  Community Health and Social Policy (Durban)

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.