Learning Abroad Center

Sustainability Studies Minor

“Spending meaningful time in another country and culture offers a personal experience of cultural, economic, and natural systems that may be more—or less—sustainable than the equivalent in the US. Many sustainability study abroad programs offer experiential education options like internships, community-based class projects, and field studies that allow students to experience, personally, the complexity of furthering sustainability goals and to gain new perspectives on sustainability challenges at the global scale.”

Beth Mercer-Taylor, Sustainability Education Coordinator

Department Recommendations

Academic Planning

  • The Sustainability Studies Minor accepts study abroad courses for up to 6 of your 9 elective credits. Contact Grant McCormack ([email protected]) regarding which elective categories your potential study abroad courses will fulfill. It is best to do this prior to departure, however, you may also request that credits count for the Minor upon your return. You will need access to a syllabus of the course to provide with the request, as well as which of the four elective categories you would like the course to fulfill. As a reminder, 6 of your 9 elective credits will need to be upper division courses. Below are just a few of the many programs that are great options for Sustainability Studies Minor students.
  • Because Sustainability Studies is so interdisciplinary, we recommend reviewing additional Major Advising Pages for additional study abroad options.
  • Plan early to apply study abroad credits to the University’s Liberal Education requirements. Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad so you do not fulfill them on campus. Consult the Learning Abroad Center's U Credit Abroad Search for courses that have been approved for Liberal Education.


Africa and the Middle East


MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • Study international development in Senegal, a fascinating French-speaking country seen as a bridge between Africa and the West. Participate in an internship or research project with a nonprofit organization. Based in Dakar with internship options outside the city.
  • Internships in the Sustainability theme could place students with local seed banks and agriculture groups to develop sustainable practices amongst local communities.
  • Minimum 4-semesters of college-level French required. Fall or Spring semester.

South Africa

University of Cape Town (available through IES South Africa)

  • Spend an academic year or semester studying at a large, diverse, and urban university on the coast.
  • Choose from coursework in fields related to Sustainability Studies, including Biology, Architecture, Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Engineering.



Wildlife Medicine and Conservation (Offered through CFANS)

  • Discover the rich diversity of Belize while working in collaboration with the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic.
  • Gain an introduction to the major ecosystems in Belize, the plant and animal organisms inhabiting these areas, and the strategies employed by biologists and environmental resource managers.
  • Students interested in animal science, wildlife conservation, and sustainability will benefit from this experience.


School for Field Studies: Chile

  • Hike through the dramatic landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, and take an expedition to neighboring Argentina and the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier.
  • Explore the dramatic shifting landscapes, from sub-polar, broadleaf evergreen forests growing alongside glaciers to broad open plains where flightless rheas and guanacos roam.
  • Journey to northern Patagonia’s lakes region, home to the lush Valdivian temperate rainforests, the active Calbuco and Osorno volcanoes, and endangered blue whales.
  • Semester and summer programs available.

Costa Rica

School for Field Studies: Costa Rica

  • Explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity, to study tropical ecology and sustainable land management
  • Take a week-long expedition to Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands, a lush, forested region of volcanic peaks, integrated coffee farms, rich Nbäge-Buglé culture, and perpetual spring-like weather.
  • Go behind the scenes at a local coffee farm and sustainable permaculture homestead to learn how Costa Ricans have successfully combined agriculture and conservation.
  • Semester and summer programs available.


MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Live, study, and intern among the Andes mountains in the colonial city of Quito, Ecuador. Few countries as small as Ecuador contain such remarkable geographic and biological diversity, and the Sustainability theme focuses environmental challenges throughout the country.
  • Pursue an internship or research at an ecological reserve working on rainforest restoration, at a sustainable eco-tourism collective, or at a flower-producing farm focusing on agricultural production methods.
  • Minimum 4-semesters of college-level Spanish required. Fall or Spring semester.


Sustainable Akumal: Turtles, Tourists, Cenotes & Coral Reefs

  • Explore the complex problems of the impact of tourism and development on coral reefs, marine life, water quality and other habitats.
  • Earn about responsible tourism and sustainable development through field based projects and experiencing the water, land, flora and fauna firsthand.
  • Visit mangroves, seagrass communities and hike into lush tropical forests while experiencing Mexican history and culture by visiting Mayan ruins and spending time in local communities.


School for Field Studies: Panama

  • Snorkel in the waters of the archipelago to explore coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds as you study sea stars, turtles, rays, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish.
  • Visit the Pacific coast and the mountains of Boquete: Explore the Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park, take a canopy walk through cloud forest, and tour a sustainable coffee farm.
  • Spend a day in Ngäbe communities: Speak with local Indigenous leaders, visit a women’s co-op, and take a forest walk with a local guide.
  • Semester and summer options available.


School for Field Studies: Peru

  • Take a multi-day excursion to the village of Sucusari to learn about the livelihoods of the Maijuna people and explore the rainforest from one of the world’s longest canopy walkways.
  • Take a five-day riverboat expedition in Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area, home to species like pink river dolphins, sloths, piranhas, primates, macaws, and giant river otters.
  • Visit a manatee rescue center, tropical fish exporter, and potato and butterfly farms to study a range of local agriculture and conservation organizations.
  • Semester and summer options available.

Turks & Caicos

School for Field Studies: Turks & Caicos

  • Go snorkeling and diving in the clear waters around South Caicos to conduct marine species identification exercises and parrotfish surveys.
  • Visit the Grotto and Shark Alley to see eagle rays up close, and study their behavior and population dynamics using photo tracking.
  • Take an excursion to the islands of Middle Caicos, North Caicos, and Providenciales to explore the variety of ecosystems in the TCI, including caves and protected wetlands.
  • Semester and summer options available.

Asia and Oceania


School for Field Studies: Australia

  • Explore the world’s oldest rainforest – the Daintree – then work alongside community volunteers to regenerate critical rainforest habitats.
  • Travel to the Great Barrier Reef to learn about the biological links between rainforest and reef ecosystems.
  • Experience firsthand the transition from savannas on the edge of the Outback to the lush green coastal rainforests and mangroves.
  • Semester and summer programs available.

University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne (available through IFSA Australia)

  • The University of Melbourne is one of the world’s top research and teaching institutions.
  • Classes are available in Australian flora and fauna, ecology, sustainable environmental development, biogeography, GIS, parts and recreation management, hydrology, environmental management systems, environmental economics, environmental site engineering, agroforestry, zoology, botany, and global environmental politics.
  • Field study is an integral part of environmental subjects, allowing students the opportunity to practice techniques and learn more about the Australian environment.

University of Queensland, Brisbane (available through IFSA Australia)

  • The University of Queensland has a highly regarded reputation in environmental science with a particular emphasis on field studies.
  • Study topics such as arid zone ecology, marine botany, and coral reef ecology.


School for Field Studies: Bhutan

  • Embark on a multi-day cultural trek through remote villages and high mountain passes to experience the natural beauty of Bhutan’s countryside and the traditional lifestyles of its people.
  • Visit monasteries, such as the famed Tiger’s Nest, and take part in unforgettable festivals to learn more about Buddhism and Bhutanese culture.
  • Explore Bhutan’s diverse range of biomes through trips to Himalayan ridges, the subtropical Punakha and Chukha Valleys, and the alpine meadows of Phobjikha.
  • Semester and summer programs available.


School for Field Studies: Cambodia

  • Meet the gentle giants of Mondulkiri: Visit the Elephant Valley Project, Cambodia’s first elephant sanctuary, to study elephant behavior and ecology.
  • Spend the night in a floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake and learn from villagers about how they’re adapting their livelihoods to climate change.
  • Take an expedition to a vast riverine archipelago in southern Laos, home to endangered Irrawaddy river dolphins and stunning waterfalls during the wet season.
  • Semester and summer programs available.


Exchange in Japan—Nagoya University

  • Sample course offering areas, taught in English include: agricultural science, chemistry, economics, environmental studies, international development, information science, law, math, and medicine.
  • Japanese language courses available, beginning to advanced.
  • No previous Japanese language study required.
  • Academic year or spring semester only program.


MSID—International Development in Thailand

  • The program is based in Chiang Mai at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI).
  • An internship or research placement is a key component of this program. Past placements have been with local farms, architecture firms, and environmental non-profits.ach organizations, small businesses, and local art cooperatives, among others.
  • Sustainability-focused thematic coursework related to sustainable food systems, sustainable design, sustainable architecture, and the environment.
  • Instruction is in English.



Study Abroad in Denmark—Sustainability in Europe

  • The program’s core course will enhance your understanding of the divergent goals and processes connected with sustainable development.
  • Study tours allow students to study sustainability from a multi-country perspective.
  • Interact with a range of Danish and European stakeholders currently shaping the sustainability agenda.
  • Identify your own values and strategies for a sustainable future.


IES Germany—Environmental Studies & Sustainability

  • Organized in cooperation with the Forest Ecology and Management Program at the distinguished Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, courses focus on the sustainable management of natural resources, with a special emphasis on the adaptive management of forests.
  • Take German language courses at the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level.
  • Post-program research assistantships and extensive field study trips to the Swiss Alps, the Rhine River Valley, and the Black Forest give you hands-on experience.


Exchange in Iceland

  • This partial scholarship exchange offers you the chance to study in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik.
  • Choose coursework from a host of options, including Biology, Engineering, Geography, Geology, Political Science, and more.


Sustainable Food Systems of Sicily & Florence (Offered through CFANS)

  • Explore past and present Italian culture through the foods, their cultural importance, and the concepts of sustainability.
  • Study aspects of sustainability and ethics in the context of cultural, social, economic, and environmental considerations in which food is produced, prepared, and eaten.


Norwegian University of Life Sciences

  • Study at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, which focuses specifically on biology, food, environment, land use, and natural resource management.
  • Over 200 English-taught courses are available.

United Kingdom

University Study in the UK: Queen Mary, University of London

  • Spend an academic year or semester living and studying on the only university campus in London.
  • Choose from coursework in fields related to Sustainability Studies, including Biological and Chemical Sciences, Engineering, Geography, and Politics.

University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

  • Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is one of the UK's most highly-rated schools.
  • Students can explore options through the biology and earth science departments—many of which focus on environmental studies and sustainability.
  • Option to study at the Dumfries campus in southern Scotland. Sample courses in sustainability include "Energy: Options for Sustainability" and "Sustainability of Farming Systems."
  • Semester and academic year options available.

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.