The University of Iowa

Environmental Science

By its nature, environmental science takes place in a global context. There is much to be gained through acquiring an understanding of how the environments, histories, and traditions of other cultures both shape and are shaped by environmental factors.


Coffee farm in Costa Rica

Study abroad provides many opportunities to further your study of the world’s environments and ecosystems by experiencing them for yourself, and from an international perspective. You could work on an urban environmental program in a foreign city, or study conservation biology or tropical ecology on the Caribbean coast, near splendid mountains, lush rainforests, and smoking volcanoes of Costa Rica! These are just a few of the exciting possibilities offered by study abroad programs.

After reading through this MAP, make sure to head over to our Steps to Studying Abroad page to learn about our Discover Study Abroad sessions and how to start planning your time abroad. Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date. Be in touch with a Study Abroad advisor and your advisor in the Environmental Science Department early in the planning process.

For more information about studying abroad as an Environmental Science major, look over the Environmental Science Department’s study abroad webpage or contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Because Environmental Science students have a highly structured curriculum of courses, we generally do not encourage study abroad until your junior and senior years. It is recommended that you have your math and science foundation courses completed before you go abroad. The summer after your first or second year is, however, a great time to study abroad—especially if you are interested in fulfilling your World Languages requirement or other general education requirements abroad. Just be sure that you are on track to graduate on time when you return! Your faculty advisor can help you see how study abroad can fit into your academic timeline by customizing a Sample Plan on MyUI.

Summer and winter programs are highly recommended, especially for double majors who do not have time to study abroad during the school year. While you might not be completing course work that applies to your major, you can take General Education Program and World Languages requirements. More information about fulfilling academic requirements abroad as an Environmental Science major is available on the Academics tab of this MAP.

 

Before you enroll in courses abroad, be sure to consult with a faculty advisor in the Environmental Science Department and a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss which of your academic requirements can be taken abroad for credit.
Double majors should be sure to check out the Major Advising Page (MAP) corresponding with their second major, as there are likely study abroad options relevant to both majors.

General Education Courses

Environmental Science majors are encouraged to fulfill general education requirements abroad, especially those who are in their first or second year at the UI. The World Languages requirement, in particular, lends itself to study abroad. Most study abroad locations offer coursework that will count as part of your general education requirements. For more information, check out our General Education Program MAP.

Major Requirements

Whatever your area of study, there are plenty of opportunities for you to fulfill your B.A. requirements or your B.S. requirements while abroad. Just be sure to consult with a faculty advisor before your departure to discuss which overseas courses can apply towards your degree.

All Environmental Science foundation courses must be completed at the University of Iowa.

More information regarding your specific track can be found on your major’s requirements page.

Honors Courses

You may be able to receive Environmental Science Honors credit for courses taken abroad. For more information, consult with the Environmental Science Honors advisor. Keep in mind that if you are pursuing University Honors it is possible to earn an Honors Commendation for 12 hours of Honors coursework taken abroad. For more information, please refer to the Environmental Science Honors page.

Minor Courses

Environmental Science minors may be able to receive minor credit abroad. Just be sure to get the approval of the instructor who teaches the UI equivalent of the course you want to enroll in overseas. Consult the Minor in Environmental Science webpage for more information.

Most departments in CLAS allow up to 3 s.h. of transfer credit towards a minor; be sure to check with your faculty advisor to confirm transfer credit limits. This limitation does not apply to study abroad programs that grant resident credit.

Internships

Consider taking advantage of an internship for credit while abroad; it is a wonderful way to help ease the transition into post-academic life. More information can be found on our internships page.

Courses

The B.S. in Environmental Sciences is a highly structured course of study, so you will need to plan carefully to go abroad.

All Environmental Science majors are encouraged to look at opportunities for field research abroad, possibly as research towards an honors or senior thesis. Conducting fieldwork abroad is excellent preparation for your future career or for graduate school.

Funding your trip abroad

Various scholarships are available for UI students planning to study abroad. Information about these scholarships is available on the scholarships webpage. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with a faculty advisor and a Study Abroad Advisor about financing their study abroad experience.

You can start your search with the recommended programs below, but feel free to browse our program database and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room for other possibilities. The specific programs recommended below may change, so check with your major advisor and Study Abroad for the latest updates.

All students who study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Each program listed has coursework taught in English unless otherwise stated. In addition, each program has specific eligibility requirements that may include GPA, prerequisites, and/or class standing. For more information about the program, click on the button below the program description.

Oceania

Australia

TEAN Australia: University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

The UNSW School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences provides students with a strong grounding in present biological, ecological, and environmental problems and their effects on biodiversity. They offer over 50 classes in the fields of biology, earth science, climate science, and geography. UNSW offers an exciting academic experience that takes students out of the classroom and places them in the field. Courses include Biodiversity & Conservation of Natural Resources, Advanced Techniques in Remote Sensing, Coral Reefs & Climate Change, Applied Geochemistry, and Australian Soil Use and Management.

TEAN Univ New South Wales

 

Iowa Regents Semester in Australia: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

Studying at the University of Tasmania means unparalleled access to a diverse range of environments. The multidisciplinary nature of their study options means that students can gain knowledge and skills to apply to myriad challenges, communities, and industries around the world. Field experiences are a strong component of this course of study. Tasmania is a living laboratory, with a fifth of it in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Areas and 42% in protected areas, all of which are accessible straight from the campus door. Courses include Natural Environment Field Techniques; Fire, Weeds & Ferals: Conserving Nature in Protected Areas; Bridging Science & Policy for Sustainability; Conserving Nature in Landscapes; and Global Geographies of Change.

Regents Tasmania

New Zealand

TEAN New Zealand: University of Otago
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

The School of Geography at the University of Otago has a robust environmental management program that has a science focus with a core of physical geography courses. Environmental management fuses the understanding of natural environmental systems with knowledge of the methods and techniques necessary to manage human activities to ensure sustainable uses of resources and minimal impact on people, communities, and the environment.  Students are also introduced to the basics of social and environmental science through fieldwork and practical courses in research methods. Courses include Physical Geography; Human Geography; Resource Evaluation and Planning; Climate Change: Present and Future; Plants, People and the Environment; and Field Research Methods.

TEAN Univ Otago

 

TEAN New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year

Victoria University offers both Environmental Science and Environmental Studies degrees. Students can take advantage of teaching and research input from the University’s own Climate Change Research Institute and Antarctic Research Centre. Students can study a range of topics including climate change, urban green spaces, Māori resource management, and the impact of humans on Antarctica. Courses include Environment and Resources: New Zealand Perspectives; Environmental Policy and Governance; Ice and Climate; Islands and Oceans: People, Power, and Place; Quaternary Environmental Change; and Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

TEAN Victoria Univ

 

Europe

France

CIEE Paris Open Campus
Fall, Spring

Students take courses in environmental science while studying in Paris. Two courses are taken during each six-week block, and UI students participate in all three blocks for 18 semester hours. Students choose one of six coursework “tracks,” although all courses are open to all students. The STEM track offers several courses in environmental science, and students also have options to take courses in French, fulfill general education requirements, and take elective courses. Students may opt to do an internship during the third block. Courses include Nature and Culture in Transnational Perspective, Global Environmental Policy, Environmental Engineering, and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.

CIEE Paris OC

Iceland

University of Iceland Exchange
Fall, Spring

Due to Iceland’s geographical position in the North Atlantic, and its geotectonic position over a mantle plume and astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, geological and tectonic processes are extraordinarily rapid and easily observed. The University of Iceland has a Faculty of Earth Science and a Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. UI students can take many courses in environmental science, geography, and sustainability that are not offered at the University of Iowa. Courses include Glacial Geology, Mineralogy, Current Crustal Movements, Introduction to Geophysics, Volcanology, Soil Science, Natural Hazards: Physical Processes, Remote Sensing and Environmental Monitoring, and Cartography and Map Design.

Univ Iceland Exchange

 

SIT Iceland Renewable Energy, Technology & Resource Economics
Summer

This summer program allows students to examine the physical processes, economics, and environmental impacts of energy use in Iceland. Students learn from local experts: academics, activists, businesspersons, artists, community leaders, and government officials. This access to local perspectives and knowledge gives students a greater understanding of the issues and innovations within their host communities. The program combines classroom study with hands-on work in the field. Courses include Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics Seminar; Icelandic; and Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics Project. This project course gives students the opportunity to conduct research with a field study component to produce an original academic paper.

SIT Iceland

United Kingdom

Lancaster Exchange Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Through the Lancaster Exchange Program, students enroll at Lancaster University, living and studying on campus with their British peers while fully immersed in the local culture. Lancaster’s Geography and Environmental Studies department is ranked 7th in the UK and offers dozens of environmental science and geography courses across all levels. Courses include Africa: Geographies of Transformation; Atmosphere, Weather & Climate, Coral Reef Ecology, Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Practice; and Volcanic Processes Field Course.

Lancaster Exchange

 

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

With the Iowa Regents Semester in Wales program, students enroll at Swansea University. Swansea’s highly rated Geography department allows students to enroll in courses exploring human and environmental geography, as well as geographic information systems, from a Welsh perspective. Swansea’s upper-level coursework in geography is particularly strong. Courses include An Introduction to Data Visualization, Animating Migration Theory, Geographies of Language, Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, and Regional Economic Development and Policy.

Regents Wales

Ireland

Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

The Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland offers students the opportunity to enroll at the University College Cork (UCC), one of the oldest universities in Ireland. UCC offers a variety of geography courses at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. Courses include Advanced Geographical Information Systems, Coastal and Marine Geomorphology, Environmental Analysis: Field Data Course, Geography as Human Ecology, Introduction to Geographical Information Systems, and Introduction to Physical Geography.

Regents Ireland

Italy

Wells College Florence: Lorenzo di Medici
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Wells College facilitates enrollment for students at Lorenzo di Medici, the Italian International Institute. Students can enroll in classes related to their major, classes for general education credit, electives, and Italian language classes. UI students can take courses in the departments of Geography & Environmental Studies, Chemistry, and Math to fulfill requirements for their major. Courses include Sustainable Food, Introduction to Environmental Issues, Introduction to Statistics, General Chemistry with Laboratory (I in Fall, II in Spring), and Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (I in Fall, II in Spring).

Wells College Florence

Latin America

Costa Rica


At the Continental Divide in Monteverde, Costa Rica

CIEE Monteverde Sustainability & the Environment
Fall, Spring, Summer

On this program, students dig into today’s pressing environmental issues and focus on Costa Rican history, environmental studies, and sustainability. Semester students take three biological and environmental courses taught in English, a Spanish language course at one of nine levels, and an internship. Fall and spring program courses include Conservation and Sustainability Internship, Tropical Conservation Biology and Policy, Costa Rican Natural History, and Sustainability: Environment, Economy, and Society. Summer students take Sustainable Economic Development or Environmental Engineering (each three credits) or both courses for an eight-week experience. Learning takes place in both the classroom and in the field as students travel around Costa Rica.

CIEE Sustainability

 

CIEE Monteverde Tropical Ecology & Conservation
Fall, Spring, Summer

This program is ideal for students who love the outdoors and are committed to fully immersing themselves in academics, nature, and the local culture. Semester students take three biological and physical science courses taught in English, a Spanish language course at one of nine levels, and an independent research course. Fall and spring courses include Tropical Diversity, Tropical Community Ecology, Humans in the Tropics, and Independent Research in Ecology. The eight-week summer program immerses students in tropical biology and ecology and allows them to conduct independent research in a specific area. Learning takes place in both the classroom and the in the field as students travel around Costa Rica.

CIEE Tropical Ecology

 

USAC San Ramón Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

This program is designed for science majors interested in learning more about health, ecology, and conservation biology. A minimum of one year of general biology is required. Students augment their coursework by enrolling in several related field study courses that give them hands-on experience. Courses include Environmental Policy, Natural History of Mesoamerica, Plant Taxonomy, Society and Environment, Sustainable Development: Women and the Environment, Tropical Conservation Biology, Tropical Marine Biology, and Tropical Ecology.

USAC San Ramón

 

USAC Heredia Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer
USAC Heredia

This program offers three diverse academic areas: Spanish language, ecological studies, and Latin American studies. All USAC classes and offices are located on the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA) campus. Students live with host families in neighborhoods around the university campus. Courses include Climate, Global Change, and Society; Water in Tropical Landscapes; Introduction to Conservation Biology; Introduction to Tropical Plant Biodiversity; and Introduction to Tropical Ecology.

USAC Heredia

 

USAC Puntarenas Program
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer

USAC Puntarenas allows students to study Spanish language, Latin American studies, and ecological studies. Classes are taken in a building overlooking the ocean just a few blocks from downtown Puntarenas. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved with the local community including volunteering at the Mangrove Forest and the sanctuary for injured marine animals. In addition, many of the science courses have accompanying field study courses in which students visit different habitats and locations throughout Costa Rica. Courses include Introduction to Conservation Biology, Tropical Marine Biology, Forest Ecology, and Introduction to Tropical Marine Biology.

USAC Puntarenas

Ecuador

SIT Ecuador Comparative Ecology and Conservation
Fall, Spring
SIT Ecuador

Students who participate in this program live like biologists exploring the Amazon Basin, the Andes Mountains, cloud forests, the Pacific Ocean coastline, and the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador. All courses are taught in Spanish, and students need to have completed four semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent to participate. Courses include Conservation and Sustainability Practices in Ecuador, Comparative Tropical Ecology, Spanish for the Natural Sciences, Environmental Research Methods and Ethics, and an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program.

SIT Ecuador

Africa

Tanzania

SIT Tanzania-Zanzibar Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management
Fall, Spring

While participating in this program students explore Zanzibar’s unique coastline and gain a deeper understanding of biodiversity, conservation areas, and ecotourism projects. Students learn more about rare animals by taking a deeper look at endangered wildlife and study the coastal environment with its coral reefs and vulnerable fauna. Courses include Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management Seminar, Environmental Research Methods and Ethics, and an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program.

SIT Tanzania

Madagascar

SIT Madagascar Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management
Fall, Spring

Madagascar is one of the world’s globally recognized “megadiverse” countries, with flora and fauna not found anywhere else on earth. Students explore environmental challenges, conservation, and development across an array of ecosystems including tropical rainforests, mangroves, and dry deciduous forests in multiple economic and cultural contexts. This program has prerequisite of at least three semesters of college-level French courses. Courses include Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management Seminar, Malagasy, French for Natural Sciences, Environmental Research Methods and Ethics, and either an Internship or Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP provides an opportunity to study in greater depth an aspect of academic interest relating to the program. Internship placements are in biodiversity and natural resource management organizations.

SIT Madagascar

South Africa

IES Cape Town University of Cape Town
Fall, Spring, Academic Year

Students will enroll in the top-ranked university in South Africa - the University of Cape Town (UCT) and take a service-learning course in either health or sociology with IES. In the Faculty of Science, the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science aims to further knowledge, understanding, and management of interactions between humans and their social, biological, and physical life-support systems. Courses include Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences, Geography Development and Environment, Atmospheric Science, Sustainability and Environment, and Climate Change and Predictability.

IES Cape Town

Asia

South Korea

TEAN South Korea: Korea University
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year, Summer

TEAN facilitates direct enrollment for students at Korea University. Students can enroll in courses related to their major, courses for general education credit, electives, and Korean language courses. Disciplines that are available and relevant to this major are environmental science, science, and math. Courses include Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Science, Systems Ecology, and Sustainability Strategies. Students can also find biology, chemistry, calculus, and statistics course offerings. Course offerings vary by semester.

TEAN Korea Univ