The Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology welcomes students to participate in a broad array of experiences outside the classroom, including studying abroad. While most courses at UW-Madison focus on forests and forestry practices in the United States, students who study abroad will gain knowledge of international forest ecosystems, build skills through hands-on field research, and learn how global issues such as climate change impact forest ecosystems around the world. From learning about post-logging forest recovery in Australian rainforests, to studying international forest policy in Sweden, to examining the relationship between Himalayan forests and local livelihoods in Bhutan, there are many ways to enrich your studies through an international experience.
Prospective Forest Science Students
Study abroad programs are offered throughout the year in Fall and Spring semesters, over the Summer, and during Winter and Spring Breaks. Forest Science students typically study abroad in their junior year but may study abroad earlier or later depending on their individual academic plan. With advance planning, studying abroad during a Fall or Spring semester should be possible, although many students may find that a Summer or Winter program fits more easily into their academic plan. Some students are able to study abroad multiple times. Students are encouraged to create a four-year plan within Degree Planner that incorporates a study abroad experience and share their plan with their academic advisor.
To gain background information about study abroad and the various programs available, attend the Study Abroad Fair on campus, visit the Program Search database on the UW Study Abroad website, and/or meet with CALS Study Abroad Advisors.
To discuss how studying abroad fits within your career or professional goals in relation to the completion of the Forest Science major, please visit the CALS Career Services webpage to schedule an appointment with a CALS Career Advisor.
Forest Science Course Considerations Abroad
Most Forest Science students take a mix of major requirements and non-major elective courses that count towards graduation during a study abroad program. Students should have the courses they plan to take abroad equated to UW-Madison courses in advance, when possible.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a Forest Science Major
Freshman year is a good time to focus on your core foundation courses – namely math and chemistry. Many freshman are part of a FIG (First Year Interest Group), which is a year-long experience and a great way to meet and connect with other new students. Students could consider studying abroad the Summer after their freshman year.
Once core chemistry and math requirements are complete, sophomore year is a good time to complete major biology requirements as well as statistics. Many students also complete core requirements for the major. The Summer after sophomore year is a great time to consider studying abroad.
With advance planning, junior year may be a good time for Forest Science students to study abroad during Fall or Spring semester. The Summer after junior year is also a great time to consider studying abroad. Some study abroad programs offer courses that are equivalent to courses that meet Forest Science major requirements.
Senior year is when students finish taking required courses for the major. With advance planning, students may be able to study abroad for a Fall or Spring semester during their senior year and complete their final semester requirements abroad. Many study abroad programs offer field research opportunities.
Questions to Ask
Your Academic Advisor:
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Which courses are likely to be found abroad for my major/degree? Which will I likely have to take here at UW-Madison?
- How do my other goals (summer research experiences, attending medical or professional school, taking a gap year vs. applying right away) fit in with my coursework and timeline for studying abroad? When would be the best time(s) to go abroad?
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?
- Will this experience extend my time at UW-Madison by one semester?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
- What is my rationale for wanting to study abroad? What experiences am I hoping to gain?
- How does studying abroad fit in to my future career goals?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
The following are study abroad programs that may be of interest to students pursuing the Forest Science major. The programs below have various durations and courses that may count for electives or requirements for the Forest Science major. If you do not have specific requirements you need to fulfill, you will have much more flexibility as to program type and location.
SFS Rainforest Studies (Summer, Semester)
University of Queensland Exchange (Semester)
James Cook University (Semester)
SFS Himalayan Studies (Summer, Semester)
SFS Conservation and Development Studies (Summer, Semester)
UW Banking Biodiversity in Costa Rica (Spring Break)
Czech University of Life Sciences Exchange (Semester)
University of Copenhagen Exchange (Semester)
University College Dublin Agricultural and Life Sciences (Semester)
UW Wildlife Ecology in Mexico (Winter Intersession)
Wageningen University Exchange (Semester)
Massey University Exchange (Semester)
SFS Biodiversity and Development in the Andes-Amazon (Semester)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Exchange (Semester)
Wild Rockies Field Institute (Summer, Semester)
Other Opportunities to consider:
- Internships or research in university or private settings abroad (check out the International Internship Program)
- Studying something completely different and focusing on your major coursework while at UW-Madison (use the Program Search to identify programs by region, country, language of instruction, duration, or subjects taught) – there are many programs that may not be science or plant-related but may complement your studies by practicing a language, learning about another culture or region, or earning credit towards an additional major or certificate.
The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that might be appropriate. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.