University of Iowa

Geographical and Sustainability Sciences

Geography is a very popular and important field of study overseas, so there are many options available. From short-term, faculty-led programs to full-year enrollment at a foreign university, there are plenty of opportunities to earn major credit, fulfill introductory classes, complete upper-level courses, or explore electives. Other exciting opportunities include language study, gaining insight into different environmental, geographical, and social perspectives, learning about a different culture, or doing an internship in another county.


Trekking in Peru

In general, we encourage Geography majors to study abroad later in their college experience. However, the specific year and semester that you decide to go overseas will depend on the Geography track (GIS, Environmental Studies, or Social Change) you choose to follow. Below, we've listed some general guidelines for Geography majors as well as tips pertaining to each track. For more information, including specific instructions for GIS Geography majors, visit the Considerations and Programs sections of this MAP, contact your major advisor, and review your four-year plan.

Freshman

Although we generally do not encourage Geography students to study abroad until after their first year, the summer between freshman and sophomore year provides an excellent opportunity to participate in a short-term program. This option is especially good for students studying either Environmental Studies or Health and Society. Going abroad early in your college experience can lay the groundwork for the development of foreign language skills that can culminate in fluency in later classes at the University of Iowa or during a second trip abroad. Explore our website and visit with a study abroad advisor to discuss your options.

Sophomore

Sophomore year is a good time to start planning your study abroad experience. During your sophomore year, you should decide on the type of a program you would like to go on, and set objectives for your experience abroad. Discuss the options available to you with a study abroad advisor and do some research at the Study Abroad Resource Room to make sure that the classes you want to take overseas match your degree requirements.

In addition, if you are following either the Environmental Studies or Health and Society trackthe second semester of your sophomore year can be a good time to go overseas and complete General Education requirements or core classes for your Geography major.

Perhaps the best time for Geography students to study abroad is during their junior or senior year of college.

Junior

The first semester of your Junior year is a great time to go abroad. Juniors will likely choose a program that is focused on Geography major credit. Consider going abroad to take the beginning courses in your chosen track and complete any remaining General Education program requirements. Remember, while many foreign institutions will offer some geography courses, not all will have classes related to the track you are following at the University of Iowa, so spend time researching your options by visiting the Programs section of this MAP and meeting with study abroad advisor. Junior year is also a great time to go abroad to work on special project or thesis research.

Senior

Senior year, especially your first semester, can be a great time to study abroad if you've planned ahead and discussed course and thesis options with your advisor. Seniors will likely choose a program that is geared toward their track. Also, consider taking courses that are not offered by the University of Iowa and that enrich your understanding of Geography by exploring the specific issues facing the countries or regions you are studying.

General Education Component

Most study abroad locations will offer course work that will count towards Humanities and Social Sciences GERs.

Major Course Work - Required Courses for Geography

One of these:Early planning is the key to successfully finding equivalencies for your major requirements on a study abroad program. Classes offered by our partner universities will provide you with a perspective on your field that is unique to the country and culture where you are studying, and that will augment the perspectives you receive in the US classroom. Geography majors are required to take:

GEOG:1010 Introduction to Human Geography 3 s.h.
GEOG:1090 Globalization and Geographic Diversity 3 s.h.

  • It is recommended that you take these courses at the UI. However, some overseas classes will be accepted. Talk with your academic advisor for more information.

All of these:

GEOG:1020 The Global Environment 3 s.h.
GEOG:1021 The Global Environment Lab 1 s.h.
GEOG:1050 Foundations of GIS 3 s.h.

  • It is recommended that you take these courses at the UI. However, some overseas classes will be accepted. Talk with your academic advisor for more information.

One of these, in addition to any course required to fulfill a track requirement:

GEOG:1060 Geography of Asia, From Japan to Pakistan 3 s.h.
GEOG:1070 Contemporary Environmental Issues 3 s.h.
GEOG:1090 Globalization and Geographic Diversity (if not chosen above) 3 s.h.
GEOG:2110 Population Geography: Societies in Flux 3 s.h.
GEOG:2130 World Cities 3 s.h.
GEOG:2910 The Global Economy 3 s.h.
GEOG:2950 Environmental Conservation 3 s.h.

One of these (not required for GISci track students):

GEOG:3340 Ecosystem Services: Human Dependence on Natural Systems 3 s.h.
GEOG:3500 Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing 3 s.h.
GEOG:3520 GIS for Environmental Studies 3 s.h.
GEOG:3540 Introduction to Geographic Visualization 3 s.h.
GEOG:3560 Spatial Analyses of Wind Energy 3 s.h.
GEOG:3570 Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR): Principles and Applications 3 s.h.
GEOG:4010 Field Methods in Physical Geography 3 s.h.
GEOG:4020 Field Methods: Mapping and Mobile Computing 3 s.h.
GEOG:4150 Health and Environment: GIS Applications 3 s.h.
GEOG:4650 Simulation in Environmental Geography 3 s.h.
GEOG:5129 Information Systems for Resource Management 3 s.h.

One of these:

GEOG:4030 Senior Project Seminar 3 s.h.
GEOG:4995 Honors Thesis 3 s.h.

  • These must be taken at the UI. But, study abroad during a previous semester would be a good foundation for an undergraduate thesis. Keep in mind that GEOG:4030 is offered only in spring semesters.

One of these (at least 1 s.h. required):

GEOG:3400 Iowa Environmental Policy in Practice 3 s.h.
GEOG:3992 Undergraduate Research (including through ICIGO or independent research) arr.
CCP:1201 Academic Internship 1-3 s.h.

BA Geography Majors must take one of these (or a statistics course equivalent to or numbered above one of these):

GEOG:1065 Introduction to Spatial Analysis: Patterns and Processes 3 s.h.
PSQF:4143/STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods 3 s.h.
STAT:1020/PSQF:1020 Elementary Statistics and Inference 3 s.h.
STAT:1030 Statistics for Business 4 s.h.
STAT:2010 Statistical Methods and Computing 3 s.h.
STAT:2020 Probability and Statistics for the Engineering and Physical Sciences 3 s.h.
STAT:3510 Biostatistics 3 s.h.

  • You may be able to find equivalencies for some of these abroad. Talk to an academic advisor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science for more information.

BS Geography Majors must complete 9 s.h. of statistics courses via one of the following options:

Option 1
One of these sequences:
PSQF:4143 & 6243 Introduction to Statistical Methods & Intermediate Statistical Methods 7 s.h.
BIOS:5110 & 5120 Introduction to Biostatistics and Design & Analysis of Biomedical Studies 6 s.h.
STAT:2010 & 3200 Statistical Methods and Computing & Applied Linear Regression 6 s.h.
and one of these:
EES:4870 Applied Geostatistics 3 s.h.
MATH:1380 Calculus and Matrix Algebra for Business 4 s.h.
MATH:1460 Calculus for the Biological Sciences 4 s.h.
MATH:1550 Engineering Mathematics I: Single Variable Calculus 4 s.h.
MATH:1850 Calculus I 4 s.h.

Option 2
One of these:
PSQF/STAT:4143 Introduction to Statistical Methods 3 s.h.
STAT:2010 Statistical Methods and Computing 3 s.h.
and one of these sequences:
MATH:1440 & 1460 Mathematics for the Biological Sciences - Calculus for the Biological Sciences 8 s.h.
MATH:1550 & 1560 Engineering Mathematics I: Single Variable Calculus - Engineering Mathematics II: Multivariable Calculus 8 s.h.
MATH:1850 & 1860 Calculus I-II 8 s.h.

Electives

Electives are an excellent opportunity to earn Geography credit. Many classes offered abroad are transferable, but check with your academic and study abroad advisor as you are planning to make sure.

Double Major

If you are a double major, make sure that you are staying in contact with both of your advisors so that you meet all of your various degree requirements.

The UI Department of Geography offers degrees in Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Science, and Health and Society. Both the Environmental Studies and the Health and Society tracks are conducive to study abroad. However, the GIS track is very reliant upon technology, and the UI has excellent labs. So, while comparable facilities may be found overseas, it is unlikely that you will find better. However, you could go overseas to work on your language requirements or GERs, complete research, or do an internship that applies GIS to an important problem. Talk with your academic and study abroad advisors for more information - there are lots of study abroad options out there!

The programs listed below were chosen because they offer a diverse representation of issues in geography, strong basic science courses, unique cultural experiences, or specialized internship options. While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to explore all UI study abroad programs.

As the UI Department of Geography works with Study Abroad, the specific program recommendations listed here may change, so check with your advisor for the latest updates.

The programs listed below are divided into four categories:

I. General Geography Programs
II. Programs especially strong in GIS
III. Programs especially strong in Environmental Studies
IV. Programs especially strong in the study of Health and Society

There is some overlap between these sections, and before making any decisions, you should discuss programs and courses with a study abroad advisor and your major advisor.

I. General Geography Programs

Australia

Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The University of Newcastle

At The University of Newcastle, the Discipline of Geography is taught by the Faculty of Science and Information Technology and includes Human Geography, Development Studies, and Environmental Management. Physical Geography is taught through the School's Discipline of Earth Sciences. Specific courses open to those interested in studying Geography include:

  • Biological Science
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences (a blend of Physical Geography and Geology)
  • Geography
  • Marine Science
  • Mathematics
  • Photonics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sports Science and Physical Activity
  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Living Systems (Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration)
  • Physical Systems (Air, Land and Water)
  • Social Systems (Sustainability, Policy and Futures)

University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania School of Geography and Environmental Studies offers classes in the areas of Aquaculture, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geography and Environmental Studies, Geology, Mathematics, Microbiology/Immunology, Physics, Plant Science, Psychology and Zoology.

Denmark

Aalborg Exchange

Aalborg University offers a number of courses across the curriculum conducted in English for its Danish student population. Students can therefore gain exposure to the European problem-based approach to university level studies by taking classes alongside local students with no need to be fluent in Danish. Aalborg’s program in Culture, Communication and Globalization (CCG) has courses of interest for Geography students.

France

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

ISEP is a multilateral exchange program involving hundreds of universities around the world. The University of Iowa is a member of ISEP. Participating on an ISEP exchange program requires a high level of language proficiency and an independent, confident attitude.

The Université de Caen, Université de Picardie Amiens, and the Université de Rennes II all offer courses in Geography and related fields. For example, at Caen, students can study environmental technology & forest management, geography, geology, and even oceanography. Students interested in any of these programs should have previously taken several French courses. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

Iceland

The University of Iceland Exchange


Oddastaðavatn, Iceland

The University of Iceland has established a year-long program in Geology/Geography. The University of Iceland conducts research and offers courses in more than a dozen subject areas related to the study of geography. It is also home to an experimental geochemistry laboratory and an experimental petrology lab.

Ireland

Iowa Regents Semester in Cork

University College Cork (UCC)

The Geography Department at UCC has links to social sciences, hard sciences, and liberal arts, allowing for an incredible breadth and depth of study. Students can study geomorphology, climate and meteorology, soils and biogeography, marine environments, Earth resources, environmental management and the impacts of people in the environment, quantitative methods and cartography, meteorology, climatic change, atmospheric studies and climate modeling, economic geography, geohazards, glacial and cold regions geomorphology, political geography, and Quaternary and palaeoenvironmental studies.

Switzerland

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

ISEP is a multilateral exchange program involving hundreds of universities around the world. The University of Iowa is a member of ISEP. Participating on an ISEP exchange program requires a high level of language proficiency and an independent, confident attitude.

At the Université Fribourg, students can study geography, geology, mathematics, mineralogy, paleontology, and petrography. Classes are offered in both French and English. Fribourg is known for its highly structured courses and its well-respected research institutes. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

At the Université Lausanne, courses are offered in geography, geology, and geophysics. Strong French language skills are recommended. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

United Kingdom

Iowa Regents Semester in Wales

University of Wales - Swansea

The Geography Department at Swansea University, as part of the School of the Environment and Society, aims to be one of the foremost international centres for research in Human and Physical geography. The Department has won numerous awards in recent years for teaching and research. Classes offer students practical, hands-on experience as well as a chance to expand their knowledge of discipline-specific theory. The Swansea Geography Department currently specializes in the following areas of study:

  • Environmental and Climate Change
  • Land Surface Processes
  • Glaciology
  • Social and Cultural geography
  • Urban, Social and Economic Policy
  • Geoinformatics: Satellite Earth Observation and Geography
  • Information Systems

Please see the Swansea University Geography Department undergraduate brochure for a full list of courses.

II. Programs Strong in GIS

Australia

Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The University of Newcastle

At The University of Newcastle, the Discipline of Geography is taught by the Faculty of Science and Information Technology and includes Human Geography, Development Studies, and Environmental Management. Physical Geography is taught through the School's Discipline of Earth Sciences. Specific courses open to those interested in studying Geography include:

  • Biological Science
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences (a blend of Physical Geography and Geology)
  • Geography
  • Marine Science
  • Mathematics
  • Photonics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sports Science and Physical Activity
  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Living Systems (Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration)
  • Physical Systems (Air, Land and Water)
  • Social Systems (Sustainability, Policy and Futures)

Iceland

The University of Iceland Exchange

The University of Iceland has established a year-long program in Geology/Geography. The University of Iceland conducts research and offers courses in more than a dozen subject areas related to the study of geography. It is also home to an experimental geochemistry laboratory and an experimental petrology lab.

III. Programs Strong in Environmental Studies

Australia

Iowa Regents Semester in Australia

The University of Newcastle

At The University of Newcastle, the Discipline of Geography is taught by the Faculty of Science and Information Technology and includes Human Geography, Development Studies, and Environmental Management. Physical Geography is taught through the School's Discipline of Earth Sciences. Specific courses open to those interested in studying Geography include:

  • Biological Science
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences (a blend of Physical Geography and Geology)
  • Geography
  • Marine Science
  • Mathematics
  • Photonics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Sports Science and Physical Activity
  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Living Systems (Biodiversity, Conservation and Restoration)
  • Physical Systems (Air, Land and Water)
  • Social Systems (Sustainability, Policy and Futures)

France

International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

ISEP is a multilateral exchange program involving hundreds of universities around the world. The University of Iowa is a member of ISEP. Participating on an ISEP exchange program requires a high level of language proficiency and an independent, confident attitude.

ISEP facilitates exchanges with several French universities that offer classes that might be of interest to Geography majors pursuing the Environmental Studies track. At the Université de Savoie's Chambéry campus, courses are offered in international business, transport, and tourism & leisure, while at the Le Bourget campus, students can study construction & environmental engineering and geology. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

At the Université de Caen, degrees are offered in Earth Sciences and Regional Planning, which include coursework in environmental technology & forest management, geography, geology, and oceanography. For more information, schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad advisor.

Finally, at the Université du Havre, students can take courses on health, safety & environmental studies and logistics & transport.

Spain & Spanish-Speaking

SIT Ecuador Comparative Ecology and Conservation

SIT offers students the chance to study abroad, build language skills, take courses, and develop their own research project. In this program, students participate in an intensive language class, a seminar focusing on comparative ecology and conservation, an environmental field study seminar, and then work on an independent project.


Cotopaxi, Ecuador

SIT Ecuador Development, Politics & Languages

This SIT program looks at history, politics, and economics, cultural anthropology, environmental issues, geography, ecology, and development issues. In addition to working on an independent project, students take an intensive course in Spanish, a culture and development seminar, and a field study seminar.

IV. Programs Strong in the Study of Health and Society

Panama

SIT Panama Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation

This SIT program focuses on tropical ecology, marine ecology and conservation, sustainable development, and the environmental and social issues facing Panama today. In addition to this coursework, students participate in intensive language study, take a field study seminar, and develop their own independent study project.

Peru

SIT Peru Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

SIT offers students the chance to go abroad, study a language, take courses, and then develop their own research project. This SIT program offers Spanish and Quechua classes, a seminar on indigenous peoples and globalization, and field study seminar, and the chance to develop and independent project.

SIT offers a variety of similar programs in other Latin and Central American countries. Please meet with a study abroad advisor to learn more.