Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad in Biology, Society, & Environment

Firsthand learning through experiences in diverse parts of the world is an invaluable ingredient in the formation of an educated person in our globalizing world. Study abroad is designed to provide you with these experiences. Whether your area of emphasis is on the health sciences, environmental studies, policy, or some combination, studying abroad can enrich your educational experiences. You will understand your own cultural area better for having shared in and with another. Study abroad will help you understand how science and society intersect not only in the US but around the globe.

Academic Planning

When should I go abroad?

  • There is no “best” time for everyone. It depends both on the individual student and on the type of education abroad experience.
  • Introductory short-term programs and language study can be great as freshmen or sophomores. This gives you time to follow up with a longer-term experience abroad before you graduate.
  • For semester or full-year programs the sophomore or junior year tend to be best on the whole.
  • Senior-year study abroad may require additional planning. When are graduate school applications due? Do you need to take exams given only at particular times of year, or only in the US? Will the grades from your study abroad arrive in time for graduation? Is there any danger that the study abroad will impede timely completion of the major paper?

How will a study abroad program fulfill my BSE major requirements?

  • You are most likely to find courses that will count as theme electives.
  • For exact course substitution to fulfill requirements (such as your biology and other science requirements) the course needs to be equivalent.
  • Only courses accepted by the University of Minnesota at the upper division level can count toward the major.
  • Internships abroad might apply toward the elective component of the major, but the academic documentation must be persuasive. Although the department encourages internships, you may be able to use them only toward elective credit outside the major.

Conduct fieldwork for your senior project

  • With the consultation of an appropriate faculty member who will act as your senior project adviser, you may be able to use fieldwork as the basis for your senior project; however, the actual senior project must be completed for 2-3 credits once you return to the University.
  • You may be able to pursue independent research, research through an internship or volunteer opportunity, or research through your study program. Use the Learning Abroad Center program search to identify study abroad programs that include these kinds of opportunities.

Fulfill liberal education requirements

  • Consult the U Credit Abroad Search for classes that have been approved for Liberal Education. If a course is not listed, it may still meet a liberal education requirement. We encourage you to submit your course(s) for evaluation.

College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students


The Biology, Society & Environment program has identified the following programs as examples of options of potential interest to its majors and minors. These are for illustration only, and you need not confine your search to those on the list.

Africa and the Middle East


University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Program type: University Study
  • Offers courses in a wide variety of disciplines, including several environmental studies courses such as Environmental and Natural Resources Policy in Israel and the Middle East and Climate of the Eastern Mediterranean and Israel.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students may also take regular courses in the larger university (many offered in English) in addition to courses through Rothberg. 
  • Spring in Jerusalem—Honors Program is offered in the spring semester. Combines language study, research, and advanced coursework. Includes study tours and additional lectures. Available to outstanding students on a competitive basis.
  • Students accepted into the Spring in Jerusalem Honors Program receive a $4000 merit scholarship (in addition to the $6000 UofM student scholarship through Spring 2023) as part of their acceptance to the program - no additional application is required. Students do not need to be enrolled in the UofM Honors program in order to qualify for this scholarship - the requirement is a minimum of a 3.7 GPA.


MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall or Spring semester.

South Africa

University of Cape Town (available through IES South Africa)

  • Experience South African culture firsthand while learning alongside South African students. Study in an urban setting at the University of Cape Town. The University of Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest university and is one of Africa’s leading teaching and research institutions. The main campus occupies a beautiful site on the slopes of Table Mountain.
  • Courses available in English in environmental science, climate change, and sustainable development.
  • Semester, academic year, and calendar year options available.



Argentine Program (available through IFSA Argentina)

  • Attend the prestigious Universidad de Buenos Aires to take regular coursework alongside Argentinian students. Additional coursework available at Universidad del Salvador, Universidad Católica Argentina, or Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
  • Coursework is available in biology, ecology, and botany.
  • All courses are in Spanish; at least 2 years of college-level Spanish required. Semester, academic year, calendar year, and summer terms available.

Costa Rica

The School for Field Studies Costa Rica

  • Semester program: Sustainable Development Studies, Summer Session I: Biodiversity and Sustainable Food Systems, Summer Session II: Environmental Justice From the Ground Up
  • Program type: Field Study
  • Semester program examines the effects of globalization on development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, and population growth.
  • Choose either or both summer sessions- the first explores the sustainability of tropical ecosystems and the second focuses on field research techniques for addressing conservation questions.
  • All courses taught in English. No language prerequisite. One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science required for semester program. Semester and summer options available.


MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall or Spring semester.

Turks & Caicos

The School for Field Studies Turks & Caicos

  • Program type: Field study
  • Semester program: Marine Resources Studies. Engage in research that provides the local government, community, and tourism developers with recommendations to sustain economic, social, and ecological stability.
  • Summer programs: Fundamentals of Marine Conservation and Marine Megafauna. Explore the effectiveness of marine protected areas in maintaining biodiversity and critical habitats and contributing to the socioeconomic sustainability of the local community.
  • Take a hands-on approach to learning about marine ecology and coastal ecosystems.
  • All courses taught in English. No language prerequisite. One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science required for semester program. Semester and summer options available.

Asia and Oceania


The School for Field Studies Australia

  • Semester program: Rainforest to Reef and summer programs: Rainforests of Australia and Marsupials of Australia
  • Examine the impact of human activity on the environment; efforts to protect and conserve natural resources, as well as the psychological and philosophical dimensions of these issues
  • Interact with professionals, academics, conservationists, community members, and host families
  • Use your field study experience and research skills to complete an Independent Study Project

James Cook University (available through IFSA Australia)

  • Program type: University Study
  • JCU, located close to the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest, and the outback, has long been respected as a world leader in such fields as marine science and tropical environment studies.
  • Sample courses: Environmental Risk & Social Practice; Science Journalism; Society & the Environment. JCU’s emphasis on field study permits US students to explore new environments.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.


The School for Field Studies Cambodia​​​​​

  • Study the environmental dynamics of the Mekong River, which provides habitats to myriad species and sustains life for millions of people.
  • Examine the interaction between human life and the ecology of the river and region. In addition, students explore a variety of regional development and conservation challenges and community-based solutions during travel across rural and urban Cambodia.
  • All courses taught in English. No language prerequisite. One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science required for semester program.
  • Semester and summer options available.

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. About one out of every three New Zealanders lives in Auckland, a subtropical city on the North Island
  • For relevant courses look in the online catalog under Geography (strong environmental focus) and under Social Science for Public Health.
  • Instruction is in English, although some Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • Program type: University Study
  • Courses available in the wide array of science and social science areas, including Environment and Society, Environmental Science, Drugs and Human Health; Infection and Immunity; Nutrition, Metabolism and Human Health; and Reproduction, Genetics and Development
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year


MSID—International Development in Thailand

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and internship/research further enrich cultural immersion. Based in Chiang Mai but with internship options outside the city.
  • Many past internship placements have focused on such areas as environmental issues, sustainable agriculture, public health/nutrition, or community health.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai language is required. Fall or Spring semester.



Study Abroad in Denmark and Summer in Denmark & Sweden

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • More than 200 courses offered in a wide range of academic disciplines. Thematic concentrations include: Biomedicine, Medical Practice & Policy, Public Health, and Sustainability.
  • Summer in Denmark & Sweden offers you the opportunity to explore one or both countries and build your summer experience abroad.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.


Language & Culture in Southern France

  • Program type: University Study and Study Abroad Center (two tracks)
  • Permits a mix of special language and culture courses for international students and regular Université Paul Valéry courses in a proportion suitable to each student’s language proficiency.
  • Relevant fields available at the university include anthropology, biology, chemistry, environmental studies, geography, history, international relations, political science, psychology, sociology.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French prerequisite for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.


IES Germany—Freiburg Environmental Studies & Sustainability

  • Program type: Study center
  • Explore the field of renewable energies & energy policy
  • Sample courses include Ecology and Management of Forest Landscapes in Southwest Germany & the Swiss Alps; Global Environmental Change; Methods in Ecosystem Analysis


Exchange in Iceland

  • Program type: University Study
  • Sample courses: Nature-Based Tourism; Research Project in Biology for Foreign Students; Ecological Economics; Field Course in Management of Protected Areas; Sustainable Futures.
  • Instruction in many courses (included those listed here) is in English; no prior Icelandic is required. Additional courses available to students fluent in Icelandic. Academic year only.


University College Cork (available through IFSA Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Situated in the city of the same name (population 200,000) on the south coast of Ireland 160 miles from Dublin UCC has an enrollment of 17,000.
  • BSE-relevant courses are scattered through many departments, including Ecology, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Epidemiology & Public Health, and a number of the natural sciences.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.


Exchange in Oslo

  • Program type: University Study
  • A bilateral exchange offers highly affordable access to Norway’s largest and oldest university, featuring a great variety of courses in sciences, social sciences, healthcare management, and the environment.
  • Sample course titles: Nature and Society; Cross-Cultural Perspective on the Environment, Environmental Philosophy and Ethics; and Environmental Economics.
  • No prior Norwegian is required. Many courses are taught in English; still more are available for students sufficiently proficient in Norwegian. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom—England

University Study in the UK: Queen Mary University of London

  • Program type: University Study
  • QM’s academic departments, library, students’ union, and administrative buildings are all on one campus in the multicultural East End, making it unique among the traditional London colleges.
  • BSE-relevant courses in this affordable program are scattered among many departments. Check especially under Biological & Chemical Sciences, Economics, and Geography
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Additional Options to Consider

LAC Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over winter break or May session.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic, Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

LAC Freshman Seminars

  • Combine on-campus instruction during the spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break, on a 3 credits, 1xxx level Seminar.
  • Freshman Seminars Abroad are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad, an opportunity to explore an exciting location and topic, and likely fulfill a liberal education requirement.

Additional LAC Seminars

  • Check out additional LAC Instructor-led Seminars that might run over winter break, spring break, May, and summer sessions. They vary in length, dates, and content so students can find one that best fits their academic and professional goals.

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester-long program.