Learning Abroad Center
Paro Taktsang monastery on a mountain in Bhutan

School for Field Studies Bhutan

Asia & Oceania

High in the Himalayas sits Bhutan, a small country defined by towering mountains, lush forests, and flowing rivers, and home to endemic species such as the snow leopard, tiger, golden langur, takin, and black-necked crane. As the country begins to modernize rapidly, the people of Bhutan are challenged to sustainably manage their wealth of natural resources in order to preserve biodiversity and secure their own economic futures.

Program Details

Paro, Bhutan
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
Summer Session
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In
School for Field Studies

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year
2.8 for semester, 2.6 for summer

Program Model

Experiential Learning
Study Abroad Center

Program Structure

This is an affiliate program. You receive resident credit for the courses you take. Your grades factor into your University of Minnesota GPA and each course appears on your transcript with an A/F grade. Consult the Learning Abroad Center's Academic Policies for more information.

The School for Field Studies creates transformative study abroad experiences through field-based learning and research. Their educational programs explore the human and ecological dimensions of the complex environmental problems faced by local partners, contributing to sustainable solutions in the places where students live and work.

Affiliate organizations and partner universities will not accept applications from UMTC students without the endorsement of the Learning Abroad Center. Students must participate in affiliate organization and partner university programs through the standard Learning Abroad Center application process.

Visit the School for Field Studies' website for specific program features and eligibility requirements.


Course descriptions and full syllabi are available on the program page of SFS' website.

Semester Coursework

Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition: Venture to the mountain kingdom of Bhutan, where change is on the horizon. Explore the challenges of protecting biodiversity and maintaining traditional rural lifestyles in this time of transition. Study conservation and environmental issues firsthand against the backdrop of vibrant culture and Buddhist philosophy.

You will enroll in five courses for a total of 18 credits:

  • SFS 2010: Religion and Culture of Bhutan (2 credits)
  • SFS 3040: Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment (4 credits)
  • SFS 3050: Land Use, Natural Resources, and Conservation (4 credits)
  • SFS 3060: Mountain Ecology (4 credits)
  • SFS 4910: Directed Research (4 credits)

Summer Programs & Coursework

Forests in the Land of the Thunder Dragon: Explore the rich culture, biodiversity, and dramatic mountain views of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Spend six weeks studying issues of conservation and development, visiting ancient shrines, and surveying big cats and forests in one of the most fascinating countries in the world. (SFS 3580: Eastern Himalayan Forests Biodiversity, 6 credits)

Dates Details

Visit your affiliate's website for program dates and application deadlines.

SFS grants admission to programs on a rolling basis as long as space is available, so there is no application deadline. You are welcome to apply for programs up to one year in advance of the program start date. Early submissions are strongly encouraged as some programs fill to capacity.

Orientation Dates & Locations

Orientation will consist of: 

  • Online health & safety orientation - This asynchronous module can be accessed in your LAC checklist and is mandatory for all students.
  • LAC affiliate orientation (live Zoom session) - UofM-specific information will be covered (academic planning, finances, etc.). Details on the LAC affiliate orientation will be sent to students via email. 
  • Affiliate provider orientation - This orientation will cover program-specific information. Your affiliate provider will invite you to a pre-departure orientation leading up to your departure. 

Understand it is your responsibility to review the information shared at these orientations. 


University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.

How to Calculate the Total Program Fee

Affiliate Program Fee plus APAAC plus International Health Insurance minus Affiliate Fee Reduction equals Total program fee

To calculate your total program fee

Find your Affiliate program fee

For more specific information about fees, visit the School for Field Studies website.

UofM students on SFS programs receive an automatic fee reduction of $3,000 for semester, $600 for summer sessions 6 or more weeks in length and/or sequential summer programs, and $300 for summer sessions 4 weeks in length. UofM students can also take advantage of SFS's financial aid, in the form of scholarships, grants, and zero- or low-interest loans.


Refer to the Affiliate Program Fees. Follow instructions on that page to determine your APAAC.

Add International Health Insurance

Multiply the number of months you will be away by $45.

Subtract Affiliate Fee Reduction

Visit the Affiliate Program Fees to determine the fee reduction you receive for being a University of Minnesota student.

What Is the APAAC?

Students participating on affiliated programs are charged a program fee that is inclusive of the affiliate's program fee, University of Minnesota Advising, Placement, Academic, and Administrative Costs (APAAC), and international health insurance. The APAAC covers:

  • Application processing
  • Advising services, orientation
  • Course registration
  • Grade transfer and posting for resident credit
  • Program billing and assistance with financial aid (when applicable)

Based on these additional services and benefits, the total program fee may be higher than the affiliate's published program fee.

Billing & Payments

Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

Each of our affiliated programs awards its own array of scholarships. While many are need-based, others are based on merit, location, academic area, or diversity criteria. Explore your options within specific affiliates' scholarship pages.

Cancellation Policy

Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling


Complete pre-application advising.


The COVID-19 vaccine series is required for participation in this program. Complete your COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now

If your program and term does not appear in the drop-down list of available programs, select ‘SFS—Other Programs Not Listed Here’ and complete the application item ‘Affiliate Program Information’ found in your application checklist.


After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:

In addition to completing the LAC application, submit to School for Field Studies (SFS):

  • School for Field Studies (SFS) Online Application

Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

Next Steps

  1. Upon submitting the online application, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application was received.
  2. Follow the instructions on your application checklist to submit all of the items. Your application is not considered complete until all items on your application checklist are either received or waived.
  3. Complete the affiliate program's application requirements as applicable.
  4. Your completed application is reviewed by our program team. If nominated for participation, the Learning Abroad Center contacts the affiliate's staff to notify them of your status.
  5. You will be notified of an admission decision by email. If admitted, you will be assigned a confirmation checklist. Log in to the online application to review the confirmation checklist and submit the required items.
  6. Do not pay the affiliate’s confirmation deposit. The affiliate accepts the Learning Abroad Center’s deposit as indication of confirmation. The Learning Abroad Center deposit is submitted by completing the Confirmation and Payment Agreement found on the confirmation checklist assigned to you.
  7. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log in to the online application and submit a Cancel Request. You must also notify your affiliate of your cancellation.

Program Contact

For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

Clara Arent or call at 612.301.1571