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Environmental & Plant Biology Study Abroad

Students and faculty on a study of Neotropical Rainforest Ecology in Brazil
Students and faculty on a study of Neotropical Rainforest Ecology in Brazil

What is the Global Studies in Plant Biology program?

Global Studies in Plant Biology is a new umbrella encompassing short-term domestic or international "study abroad" experiences with field courses. All programs include a seminar course or series of orientations prior to departure, as well as the main course itself (usually a field course). In certain cases, students may have the opportunity to engage in lab research studying data and materials brought back from the field course, after the main program has ended. The seminar classes or orientations introduce topics concerning the geographic destination and it biota, as well as travel details and program administration, and take place during the academic quarter before the course; for instance, during fall semester for a winter intersession course or the first half of spring semester for a spring break course.

Two programs regularly return to the same destinations, offering students a predictable set of field course opportunities. The Global Studies in Plant Biology course (PBIO 4/5850, Tier III equivalent; sometimes also taught under Field Studies in Plant Diversity, PBIO 4/5095) takes upper-level natural science majors who have taken PBIO 1150 to Arizona, Florida or Hawaii in years alternating with "Plant Systematics" (see below), during spring break or winter intersession. That course involves a combined ecological and floristic immersion to the region's plant diversity. The next program is spring break 2016. The Plant Systematics and Vascular Plant Survey course (PBIO 4/5090) is another advanced course for upper-level natural science majors, with PBIO 1150 as a prerequisite, that has required biweekly fall lectures, labs and orientation workshops, and devotes its field component to studies of vascular plant families, genera and common species in Panama during winter intersession but is officially part of the subsequent spring semester during odd years (next program is evenings in fall semester, with winter intersession trip to Panama in 2015). Dr. Harvey Ballard, instructor for "Plant Systematics", is presently holding information/recruitment sessions to fill spots in the course by the end of the spring 2014 semester. Occasional additional programs going to other destinations are hosted by faculty under PBIO 4/5850, Global Studies in Plant Biology for upper-level students.

What To Do Next if You Are Interested in Participating

  • Contact Dr. Harvey Ballard or the faculty director in charge of the program, about an upcoming trip, at least six to nine months in advance of the program date.
  • Attend an upcoming information and recruitment meeting.
  • Go to the Office of Global Opportunities website, and apply online.
  • After an interview with the faculty director of the program, students will be nominated to the program by the director. Students must respond affirmatively within a few days of their nomination by sending an email to the director indicating that they accept the nomination and want the spot in the program.
  • Within two weeks of acceptance, students must pay a deposit toward the program fee if one exists. (This is not "new" money, it's subtracted from the total program fee.) The deposit guarantees a student’s spot.
  • Participate in all preliminary meetings, orientations, course lectures and other activities, as these are mandatory; and prepare for the program.
  • Have a great experience!

Contact Us

For more information, contact Dr. Harvey Ballard.