Paris: Global Health

Early App Deadline: 
Friday, April 23, 2021
Final App Deadline: 
Friday, October 22, 2021
Language Requirement: 
Kylie Poulin

The Global Health in Paris program will feature a sequence of three courses focused on epidemiology, microbiology, and the broader social, political, and economic forces that shape global health issues.

For all courses, classroom work will be complemented by laboratory exercises and field trips to Parisian locales that will enhance students’ understanding of the course topics. All participants will take a “practical” French language course (beginning, intermediate, or advanced) running at a normal pace through the quarter.

Winter 2020 Faculty and Courses

BIOS 27813. Global Health Sciences I: Cancer Concepts: Causes and Consequences
Instructor: Kay Macleod, PhD (Ben May Department of Cancer Research)
The goal of this course is to build concepts and develop understanding of how cancers arise by addressing the genetic basis of cancer, in addition to the role of environmental stresses in tumorigenesis. Specifically, we will examine how genetic changes, infection, diet and stress all affect tumor cell stemness, tumor evolution & heterogeneity, tumor metabolism and drug resistance. We will focus in on the role of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in humans cancers as a means to dissect basic molecular mechanisms of cancer but also to explore how our understanding of HPV as an etiological factor in cancer has changed in recent years, how efforts to vaccinate against HPV serves as a paradigm (or not) for other cancers and the controversies surrounding all of the above. Finally, we will examine in more detail how obesity, altered metabolism and stress affect tumor metabolism, co-evolution of the tumor with its microenvironment, the gut microbiome and anti-tumor immunity, and how diet may be exploited to prevent cancers (or not). We will conclude with a discussion of possible future directions to better prevent and treat human cancers.

BIOS 27811. Global Health Sciences II: Microbiology
Instructor: Kathleen Beavis, MD (Department of Pathology)
This course will examine infectious diseases with global health impact, analyzing their historic and projected impact, their biological foundations, treatment, and preventative control. Course topics include gastrointestinal infections (e.g., cholera, bacillary dysentery, typhoid fever, rotavirus infections), sexually transmitted diseases (HIV), infections transmitted via aerosol droplets (tuberculosis, meningitis), and vector borne diseases (e.g., malaria, typhus, dengue fever, plague). Special emphasis will be placed on emerging infectious diseases (Ebola, Lassa, Rift Valley fever) and either completed or ongoing studies for infectious disease elimination (smallpox, polio, diphtheria, river blindness). The course encompasses lectures, student presentations, and the preparation of a capstone essay.

BIOS 29814. Global Health Sciences III: Biological and Social Determinants of Health
Instructors: Christopher Olusola Olopade, MD, MPH, and Olufunmilayo Olopade MD, FACP (Department of Medicine)
Global health is an interdisciplinary and empirical field, requiring holistic and innovative approaches to navigate an ever-changing environment in the pursuit of health equity. This course will emphasize specific health challenges facing vulnerable populations in low resource settings including in the United States and the large scale social, political, and economic forces that contribute to them through topical events and case studies. Students will study the importance of science and technology, key institutions and stakeholders; environmental impacts on health; ethical considerations in research and interventions; maternal and child health; health and human rights; international legal frameworks and global health diplomacy. Students will gain skills in technical writing as they construct position statements and policy briefs on global health issues of interest. Career opportunities in global health will be explored throughout the course.

Center in Paris

Headquarters for the College’s study abroad programs in Paris is the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the University’s research and teaching arm in Europe. Situated in the thirteenth arrondissement, the Center in Paris is part of an ambitious intellectual project along the river Seine, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and a new home for Université de Paris (formerly Université Denis Diderot - Paris VII). The Center in Paris features classrooms, offices for faculty and graduate students, computer facilities, a small library, and an apartment for the faculty director. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the Center in Paris provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place, and a continuing Chicago “presence” within one of the major capitals of Europe.


Students in the Global Health program are housed in a residence hall within the Cité Internationale Universitaire (Cité). The Cité, a park-like residential complex in the fourteenth arrondissement, is the international student campus in Paris, though French students also live there. Students reside in single rooms with a private bath and have access to Cité facilities, including a library, theater, laundry, and athletic facilities. Students will have access to common kitchens in the residence halls and can purchase inexpensive meals at the Cité’s restaurant universitaire.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Global Health program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses. The Epidemiology and Microbiology courses can be used to satisfy upper-level elective requirements within the Biological Sciences major, while the Topics in Global Health course will count as a general elective in the College. These courses may also be appealing to students majoring in other disciplines, such as Public Policy Studies or History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, and to students who are preparing for health professions, although a strong background in biology is required. The language course will count as an elective. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.


Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the 2021–2022 year are listed below:

Winter tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Paris program fee: $4,975

Program fee includes: Out-of-pocket expenses include:
accommodation round-trip airfare to and from the program site
instruction transportation on site
student support meals
program excursions course materials
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) personal entertainment and travel
  communications (including cell phone usage)
  health insurance and upfront payments for care
  other miscellaneous expenses

Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Paris is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

Eligibility and Application

To be eligible for the Global Health in Paris program, students should have completed the first three quarters of a Biological Sciences Fundamentals Sequence or obtain consent from the Master of BSCD. Students who have taken BIOS 20170, 20171, and 20172 and earned an average grade of B- or better in these three courses are also considered eligible for the program.

The Global Health program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

The program is designed for undergraduates in good standing in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take French on campus before the program begins.

Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record, personal statement, and academic recommendation. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

Further Information

To discuss the Paris: Global Health program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin.

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

The group poses for a photo in front of a world map at the World Health Organization in Geneva.