Empowered by our worldwide partnership networks, Washington University is advancing and collaborative education and research initiatives that have a tangible impact on our planet.

From helping to decode the human genome to eliminating neglected tropical diseases, Washington University is a significant contributor to large-scale, multi-national efforts to address humanity’s most pressing challenges. In addition, we are connected across the world through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy’s expansive network of partner institutions.

Our researchers are engaged in transnational and comparative studies in many different fields. They study not only specific geographic regions or countries but also the vital intersections and interrelationships among them.

At a glance


international students currently enrolled at WashU


alumni living outside the US


new global collaborations supported with seed grants (2020-2023)


strategic partners of the McDonnell Academy around the world

Research excellence

Multi-national partner networks play a vital role in advancing high-impact research. One notable example is WashU’s contribution to the Human Genome Project, an international effort to decode all 6 billion letters of our genetic blueprint. The McDonnell Genome Institute played an integral part in achieving this goal, contributing more than 20 percent of the sequence.

Current ambitious efforts at the School of Medicine that convene multi-national networks of partners include the Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis (DOLF) Project, seeking to eliminate neglected tropical diseases and the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN), which facilitates Alzheimer’s studies and clinical trials in multiple countries. Through research, education and partnership, the Global Health Center advances health equity in low-resource settings around the world.

In the area of environmental research, WashU engineers are leading the global fine particulate matter network (SPARTAN); researchers at the Tyson Research Center are connected to a global network of forest research sites through ForestGEO; and the Living Earth Collaborative engages partners both at home in St. Louis and worldwide to conserve biodiversity and sustain life on Earth.

Significant contributions in other fields, such as business, politics, law, physics, earth and planetary sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, often involve comparative research across many countries or transnational networks of collaborators. Some examples include negotiating a global treaty on crimes against humanity, pioneering asset-building policies for low-income people around the world, and uncovering the secrets of the universe.

DOLF Project’s role in global efforts to eliminate neglected tropical diseases

Washington University’s long-running Death to Onchocerciasis and Lymphatic Filariasis (DOLF) Project is part of a large global effort to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which affect a billion people worldwide. Elimination of a number of NTDs is part of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

More research stories

Tracking the populist tsunami

By analyzing social media content generated across the globe, political scientists seek to understand the current wave of populist rhetoric flooding the internet and its threats to democracies.

Education and outreach

Washington University draws on its international partner network to create distinctive educational programs on campus and beyond. These programs provide our students with opportunities to gain a global perspective and cross-cultural competencies.

Signature multi-national programs

McDonnell International Scholars Academy

The Academy’s Scholars and Ambassadors are vital links in a network that facilitates impactful work around the world. The Academy has forged partnerships with more than 30 premier universities globally and has a dual mission. First, we recruit talented students from around the world and mentor them as they pursue graduate and professional degrees at WashU, preparing them to become future global leaders. Second, we engage our global network of partners in collaborative research.

On-campus McDonnell Scholars participate in a collaborative graduate-level leadership program and become part of a unique global community. They represent different countries, cultural viewpoints, academic and personal interests, and they enrich Washington University and its graduate student body. 

WashU Olin Global MBA

At WashU Olin, students experience a global MBA program designed to bring together business expertise and international leadership. It’s why our program includes an experiential learning immersion that spans three continents. It’s why we choose faculty members who are recognized worldwide as experts in their fields. And it’s why our coursework is grounded in an understanding of the global nature of business.

The global MBA program includes a formative, six-week immersion experience during which students travel to Washington, DC; Barcelona, Spain; Paris, France; and Santiago, Chile, becoming more globally aware and culturally fluent with each passing day. The program may be based in St. Louis, but it’s informed by the world.

Colleagues discussing data on a whiteboard

Training the informatics workforce of the future

The Institute for Informatics, Data Science and Biostatistics (I²DB) at Washington University in St. Louis is sharing its expertise on an international stage.

Alumni networks and impact

International networks support alumni, students, families, and friends of Washington University by offering opportunities to socialize, network, and share WashU memories. We welcome you to reach out, make new connections, and build on your lifelong connection with WashU.

WashU CNX is the university’s online networking platform where alumni and current students share experiences and expertise, ask questions, find answers, and help each other grow. They make meaningful connections every day.


Tami Holder
Executive Director, International Advancement Programs

Rebecca van Bergen: Empowering women around the world

Young entrepreneur Rebecca van Bergen is the founder of Nest. The nonprofit organization helps skilled and talented artisans around the world make a sustainable living and preserve their cultural heritage. Nest has built a global network of more than one thousand handcraft businesses across 115 countries.

More alumni stories

Flying smart

A love of logistics and learning about the world leads Michael Holtz to create a new kind of luxury travel company. First comes the thrill. A trip to the Hershey chocolate factory — what greater wonder at age 5? At 7, a flight to London, with the big clock and the solemn Beefeaters in their fuzzy black […]

Explore our impact in other regions

No single map can reflect all global perspectives. The country borders on this map do not reflect the official policy of Washington University in St. Louis or any specific government.