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General Overview

horse-drawn carriage passing in front of Hofburg Palace Vienna is the historic capital of the multinational Habsburg Empire, a melting pot of language and cultures and the crossroads between East and West. Salzburg, Prague, Budapest, and Munich are each only a few hours away; Venice and Paris are within a day's train ride -- via the Orient Express.

Vienna consistently ranks among those cities with the highest quality of life in the world. aerial view of urban park in Vienna The role of wine in Viennese culture is only one contributing factor. In addition, it is a great base for travel to other attractive destinations, including Berlin, Munich, Prague, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Venice, and Geneva—to mention but a few. In addition, Vienna prides itself on innovation, among other things in smart city technology.

The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois invites students to spend a fall or spring semester in this exciting city as part of the Austria-Illinois Exchange program. three lab students preparing research samples by measuring with a pipette Founded in 1971, this program provides an extremely high level of support from Illinois faculty and staff in Vienna. Take courses that will transfer back to Illinois as advanced MCB courses for the major. There are also opportunities to immerse yourself in German language and Austrian culture. The language of instruction in the MCB courses is English.

Language Requirements

Though Vienna is a German-speaking city, no prior knowledge of German is required for this program. It is relatively easy to live and study in Vienna with English because English is the second language of the European Union and many Austrians speak it routinely. By the end of the semester, students will have acquired basic knowledge of the German language.


For those who have no German instruction prior to participation, the Program requires on-site participation in a one-month beginning German course (Illinois GER 101) taught on-site in Vienna by program staff. two lab students preparing research samples Orientation to this program happens during this same period of time prior to courses beginning at the University of Vienna. The University of Vienna (UW) offers a wide variety of relevant courses in English. Participants complete between 15 and 18 hours of credit, the average is 15 hours (15 hours is the minimum allowed if you are receiving financial aid). Credit approval and articulation should be discussed with and approved by Melissa Michael ( in MCB prior to the completion of the application.

The fall term begins with orientation in September and ends in January. It is possible to finish in time to begin the spring semester at Illinois. The spring term begins with orientation in February and ends in June. Information on academic dates will be provided in post-acceptance information. Please consult with Melissa Michael ( before purchasing a return plane ticket.


Participants live in well-situated dormitories with a mix of Austrian and other foreign students. Single- and double-occupancy housing is available. Public transportation to university facilities, shopping centers, entertainment and leisure facilities is excellent. The two housing options available to our students in this program are Haus Erasmus and Haus Panorama.

Program Administration

Students on this program are affiliated with the Austria-Illinois Exchange Program, which provides the following support:

  • on-campus and on-site orientation
  • assistance with travel and travel transfers
  • assistance with accommodation arrangements
  • on-site academic, bureaucratic, and personal advising
  • excursions to several international organizations
  • semester-long mentoring with German language and culture

Students may participate in AIEP field trips and other social activities.

On-site administration for the program, including housing arrangements and on-site advising, is managed by the AIEP. For more information, please contact Melissa Michael (

Health Insurance

Participants in the program receive the same excellent health benefits available to Austrian students; i.e., medical, optical, dental, and prescription drug expenses. Medical care is readily available. Insurance covers both on- and off-campus activities. Program fees include mandatory insurance which begins with the start of classes in October. Students are also automatically enrolled in the University's international insurance policy for students abroad.


  • Field Trips: At regular intervals, the program arranges excursions to Austria's historic and scenic sites, such as museums, exhibitions, archaeological excavations, monasteries, castles, and vineyards.
  • Theater and Music: Vienna is justly famous for its Opera, the Spanish Riding School, and the Boys Choir. But Vienna also offers avant-garde theater and jazz. Students attend plays at the famous Burgtheater and the Volkstheater, as well as concerts at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus.
  • Sports: Located at the edge of the Vienna Woods in the eastern foothills of the Alps and the Danube river, Vienna offers excellent opportunities to hike and bike in beautiful landscapes. Students may also join one of the local sports clubs offering a variety of organized athletic activities.


Students must be academically prepared for this program, meaning they have completed the the major part of MCB Core (MCB 150, 250/251, 252/253, 354). Applicants must be in good health and have the kind of flexibility and sensitivity to others that will allow for successful adjustment to an unfamiliar cultural setting.

Applicants should have an overall grade point average of at least 3.0.

The program is open to MCB majors and is meant for the spring of the third year or fall of the fourth year. Other options may be available depending on circumstances.


If you intend to study abroad in the fall semester, the absolute application deadline is February 15th. If you intend to study abroad in the spring semester, the absolute application deadline is September 15th. Please refer to our "The Study Abroad Process" page for more information.

You can find more information about the LAS-MCB in Vienna program and its application here.