I had the chance to be taught by a wide variety of professionals in specific fields from Esteban Suarez, who specializes in mountain microecosystems and microclimates, to Carlos Valle, the first Galapaguenian scientist to receive a Ph.D. who specializes in evolution.  Then after learning from five such professors in marine biology, botany, inland tropical ecology, evolution, and island ecology, including a German specialist in sharks, we had an anthropology class to view how conservation affects the politics and social dynamics of the islands and the country as a whole.

Michael Collis '13, Beloit Ecuador GAIAS Program, Spring 2012


Domestic Programs


Study Abroad Programs

Australia - James Cook University, Townsville (D)

Fall or spring (southern hemisphere calendar)

Language: English. 

Prereqs: One college year of study, 2.8 gpa; previous coursework in field to qualify for advanced courses.

Housing: On-campus residence halls/off-campus apartments; students provide own meals.

Details: Study with local students; courses in marine and tropical biology, conservation biology, environmental science; many courses have a field-trip component for hands-on experience; university research facilities include island, rainforest and outback field stations.   


Costa Rica – ACM: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences & Humanities (P)


Language: Spanish.

Prereqs: Jr. or Sr with coursework in the proposed research discipline. The equivalent of 2 years of college Spanish preferred, enrollment in a Spanish course the semester or summer before departure; background in field methods recommended.

Housing: Host family, other housing possible during field-work.

Details: Study with Americans in Spanish; limited curriculum, student plan a month-long research project in discipline of choice during the semester, present a project paper; open to all majors.   


Denmark – DIS: Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen (P)

Fall, spring

Language: Study in English, courses in Danish available.

Prereqs: 3.0 gpa, previous coursework in your chosen program, several programs have additional requirements Housing: 5 living options: host family, a kollegium (student residence hall), shared DIS housing downtown, Danish roommate in an apartment, folkehøjskole (rural campus with Danish students).

Details: Students are mostly from American colleges; choose a program (one or two core courses with unique program integrated study tours) to study such as Medical Practice & Policy or Biotechnology & Biomedicine, elect 1 or 2 other courses many of which have field studies in Copenhagen; Danish language optional but recommended; optional adventure trips at extra cost; sports and volunteering available.   


Ecuador - USFQ Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (D)

Fall, spring

Language: Courses in English, Spanish required for host family and volunteering.

Prereqs: 2 years of college Spanish, 3.0 cumulative gpa and gpa in Spanish, at least one course in biology and ecology or evolution for the “Evolution” and “Marine” options; courses with a Latin American focus strongly recommended.

Housing: host families in Quito and in San Cristobal.

Details: Orientation in Quito; excursions; choice of three options of study: 1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation in the Galápagos, 2) People, Politics and the Environment in the Galapágos, 3) Marine Ecology; study with program students only; limited curriculum: 5 three-week modular courses, optional course in digital photography; few options for volunteering. 


Ghana – ISEP: University of Ghana, Legon (D, Ex)

Fall, spring, academic year

Language: English, beginning Twi language course

Prereqs: 3.0 gpa, previous coursework with African content recommended; students expected to enroll in a beginning Twi language course at the University of Ghana.

Housing: International student hostel on campus, stipend provided for meals.

Details: Study with Ghanaian and international students; Institute of African Studies (beginning level courses), biology courses such as: plant and animal ecology, plant morphology, history of western medicine in Ghana, algae, enzymology and biochemistry; wide range of courses at beginning to advanced levels; orientation program; resident director; sports and volunteering available.   


New Zealand – University of Otago, Dunedin (D)

Language: English

Prereqs:  Junior or senior standing, 3.0 gpa, previous coursework in your field and relative to the understanding of NZ.

Housing: University assists students with accommodation options, ranging from residence halls with meal plans to student flats where students provide own meals.

Details: Study with local and international students in a medium sized university, the first in New Zealand; wide range of courses/papers offered in the Arts and Sciences many with a New Zealand flavor: Maori studies, environmental science, media and film, health, geology of New Zealand, performing arts; located in a vibrant city center. 


Norway – From Mountain to Fjord, Sogn og Fjordane University College, Sogndal (Ex)


Language: English, Norwegian language course possible in fall

Prereqs: Junior or senior standing, previous study of earth, environmental or life sciences, recommendation from department.  (See Geology department and Laura Parmentier, Chemistry)

Housing: shared rooms, students provide own meals

Details: Study geology and ecology of western Norway with local and international students; three module courses:  Geological processes (bedrock geology), Ecological and surface processes (glacial geology, vegetation ecology, limnology) and Fjord processes (fjord hydrography, fjord biology, fjord sedimentology); field-work in environments from alpine to marine; excursions.   


Tanzania – ACM: Ecology & Human Origins (P)


Language: Courses taught in English, 1 month intensive Kiswahili.

Prereqs: Jr. or Sr with coursework in natural or social sciences, background in field methods recommended.

Housing: University dormitories, tent camps in the field, 1 month host family in Dar es Salaam.

Details: Study with Americans; limited curriculum; methods course and student designed field project in Tarangire National Park, Endulen village, Serengeti National Park (Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge); presentation of project at end of semester; students provide some camping gear, required inoculations.   


United Kingdom - Lancaster University, Lancaster, England (D)

Fall 10-week term+pre-session course, or spring/ summer terms

Language:  English. 

Prereqs: Minimum cum 2.8 gpa and in subjects relevant to your study plan.

Housing:  on-campus accommodation with local and international students; shared kitchens; options for meals.

Details: Fall term students arrive early and choose from 2 courses (each worth 4 semester hours) with field trips and orientation; semester courses at all levels in the sciences including MCAT courses; study with local students; many other course options; international student body; shopping on the university campus outside of Lancaster, easy access to town.


United Kingdom – University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland (D)

Fall, spring

Language: English

Prereqs: 3.0 gpa, previous study in your field, coursework relative to the understanding of Scotland

Housing: University assists students find housing in halls of residence or student flats, students provide own meals.

Details: University has switched to a semester system; study with local and international students, wide variety of first and second year courses available, third year courses possible in major with background; classes for study abroad students in: arts, biomedical and life sciences (including a short course in clinical Human Anatomy for students planning to attend medical school), information and mathematical sciences, business and social sciences, physical sciences; lectures and tutorials, some art classes available in the Glasgow School of Art. 


Recent biology majors have studied in Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Madagascar, Scotland, Senegal, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Talk with your advisor about your best options.

Other opportunities available for students with research experience and a recommendation from their advisor.


Domestic Programs

ACM – Oak Ridge Science Semester, Oak Ridge, TN (P)


Prereqs: 3.0 cumulative gpa and in the major; senior standing preferred, juniors considered; major in biology, chemistry, computer science, physics or social sciences.

Housing: Shared single bedroom apartment; students provide own meals.

Details: Program focus on national and global energy and environmental issues; students earn academic credit for research in ongoing investigations guided by a mentor; interdisciplinary seminar course, advanced course options; guest speakers, departmental colloquia.    


Semester in Environmental Science, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole MA* (P)


Prereqs: 1 yr. college chemistry, biology, calculus

Housing: Dormitory, 20-meal plan

Details: Study of ecological systems in the laboratory and in the field; 2 core courses covering aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, 1 elective, independent research project; students report findings at a symposium; distinguished scientist seminar; science writing seminar.  


Sea Education Association (SEA) Semester, Woods Hole MA (P)

Fall,  spring

Prereqs: Open to all disciplines

Housing: On campus houses during first half, students provide own meals; on ship students assist in preparing meals

Details: 12-week interdisciplinary curriculum combining the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and public policy; scientific exploration both on shore and aboard a sailing ship at sea; Atlantic and Pacific cruises.   


Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies, Front Royal, VA (P)

Fall, spring, or academic year

Prereqs: A minimum of 45 credits (11.25 Beloit credits) of college coursework, including conservation-related courses in the natural or social sciences; an additional upper-level ecology course (or equivalent subject) is required for the Semester in Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices.

Housing: On-site housing in double-occupancy dorm rooms with private bathroom, 21-meal plan

Details: Two semester-long programs, Applied Conservation Strategies and Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices, offer a set of five integrated courses that combine lessons from leading scholars and professionals with fieldwork at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), adjacent to Shenandoah National Park. Administered by George Mason University. Scholarships available.


Research opportunities for summer and for field terms can also be found at the Argonne National Laboratory during the summer, fall or spring.  See Yaffa Grossman ( for information.


Option Types
Ex = Exchange Program

D = Direct Enrollment

Ex/D = both Exchange and Direct Enrollment are available

P = Program Provider


Last Updated: 4/16