As an interdisciplinary cross-college (CALS & L&S) program, students majoring in Environmental Sciences are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with out-of-classroom experiences such as study abroad. Studying abroad exposes the student to a wide array of opportunities that will strengthen their understanding of environmental issues throughout the world.
Prospective Environmental Sciences Students
If you are interested in majoring in Environmental Sciences and studying abroad, we would encourage you to first explore programs by attending the Study Abroad Fair, visiting the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website, and/or scheduling a meeting with an IAP advisor.
After exploring programs, we would recommend that you schedule an advising appointment with one of our Environmental Sciences advisors to discuss programs of interests, course considerations, and any circumstances related to your goals. Even if you are not ready to declare yet, we encourage you to meet with one of us prior to studying abroad.
Environmental Sciences Course Considerations Abroad
There are many opportunities to complete requirements for the Environmental Sciences major abroad. It is recommended that students complete their math and science (chemistry, biology, physics) requirements at UW-Madison. However, for general education requirements and major core & elective courses, there are opportunities to fulfill requirements abroad. Students should consult with an Environmental Sciences advisor to discuss their interests and goals of studying abroad, especially if they are thinking of studying abroad during a fall or spring semester. Students participating in summer, winter, or spring break programs, including field, global health, or research-based experiences, often do not need to be as concerned with fulfilling requirements or course equivalencies.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as an Environmental Sciences Major
During freshmen year, many Environmental Sciences majors take general education requirements including intro math and science courses. Some students may study abroad during winter or spring break, especially if they are a part of a First Year Interest Group (FIG) that has a study abroad component.
Many Environmental Sciences majors take biology and organic chemistry during sophomore year. If a student has completed their foundational coursework early, they might consider studying abroad during the summer or during one of the breaks. Sophomore year is a good time to research programs and discuss options with your advisor.
Junior year is the most popular time for Environmental Sciences majors to study abroad, but it is also the year when most students fulfill their two-semester physics requirement. If a student would like to study abroad during the fall or spring semester of their junior year, it is advised that they meet with their advisor to discuss course planning, especially given the physics requirement. It might be possible to take one semester of physics over the summer and then the other semester either during the fall or spring term. For students considering studying abroad during their junior year, winter or spring break or during summer would be great times to go abroad without affecting curricular sequencing.
Senior year is also an option for Environmental Sciences majors to study abroad, however it is not as desirable as Junior year. If a student is considering applying to medical school, law school, or graduate school for immediate acceptance after graduation, they should take that into consideration when planning a possible study abroad. Students will also need to complete their capstone requirement either the summer preceding senior year or during their senior year, which is another reason to consult with their advisor to discuss options if they plan to study abroad.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I take to complete my Environmental Sciences major (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Which courses should be taken at UW-Madison?
- When would be the best time to go abroad given my goals and remaining course requirements?
- Would a study abroad experience enhance my curricular studies?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
- Is there anything I need to tell my academic advisor should I opt for a study abroad experience?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
There are many different study abroad programs available to you. Programs vary in their course offerings, language of instruction, duration, and cost. It is important to consider your goals and priorities in selecting a program. The list below is not exhaustive but is demonstrative of programs that offer courses that work well for Environmental Sciences students. Courses offered as part of these programs may not be guaranteed to be the best fit for you depending on where you are in the major, so be sure to talk with your academic advisor during the program selection process.
Australia: University of Sydney Exchange
Denmark: Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)
Ecuador: Ceiba Tropical Conservation Semester: Galapagos, Andes and Amazon
Iceland: University of Iceland Exchange
Ireland: IFSA National University Ireland
Nicaragua: UW GreenHouse Program in Nicaragua
Turks & Caicos: SFS Marine Resources Studies
Worldwide: UW Worldwide Internship Program
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that will work for Environmental Sciences students. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.