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Bobcats without Borders

Suggested Programs for Environmental Systems Science

Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia


Backpack through tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, research the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or delve deeper into sustainability in New Zealand. No matter your interest in Environmental Systems Science there is a myriad of unique experiences well suited to ESS majors. Of course ESS majors, like other SNS majors, need some careful planning to make study abroad work in their academic plan, but ESS majors have some of the most exciting options abroad and upper-division electives and undergraduate research electives should fit well with program opportunities.

Programs Specifically Selected for Environmental Systems Science

Australia: Marine Biology & Terrestrial Ecology

Participate in innovative research in the diverse marine ecosystems of Queensland. This program will take you from the bio-rich Australian rainforest around Lamington National Park to nesting turtles at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. Study marine biology and human and terrestrial ecology with fellow UC students in courses designed with labs, extensive fieldwork, and hands-on research.

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Costa Rica: Tropical Biology and Conservation

Explore the flora and fauna of Monteverde, one of the richest wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics. Extensive field trips and captivating lectures in the forest illustrate key biological concepts, and dedicated instructors will help you build your skills as a scientist as you conduct your own research project. Other highlights include a week-long backpacking trip, two weeks of camping, and a brief homestay.

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Singapore: Biodiversity

Explore biodiversity, along with local language and culture, and learn about tropical ecosystems and diverse communities of this island-nation, with a field excursion to a Malaysian island for research.

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Chile: Socio-Ecological Sustainability in Southern Chile

On the forested shore of Lake Villarrica in Chile, investigate sustainable development and conservation. In the land of the indigenous Mapuche people, there is awe-inspiring beauty everywhere—and it demands preservation. Unique study opportunities include participation in an environmental planning project with a team of classmates and addressing environmental management and socio-ecological sustainability in Latin America.

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Immersion & Exchange Programs Suggested for Environmental Systems Science

Denmark: Univ. of Copenhagen

Denmark is a global leader in the use of renewable energy, advanced technologies, and creation of a sustainable society. Enjoy small class sizes within this large, research-based university, and access many opportunities to participate in research projects in your major. You may take first year graduate level courses for upper-division credit provided you have the appropriate background.

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Barbados: Univ. of the West Indies

Barbados is an excellent location to focus studies on tropical and marine science. The University of West Indies at Cave Hill offers a wide selection of courses including: Caribbean Island Biogeography, Tropical Ornamental Plants, Climate Variability and Predictability, Coral Reef Ecology, Fisheries Biology, and Environmental Chemistry. The Cave Hill campus is also home to the Barbados Sea Turtle Project which offers opportunities to volunteer for 1 to 2 month periods throughout the year.

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South Africa: Univ. of Cape Town

Small class sizes, field work, and hands-on lab work all complement studies at the University of Cape Town. The Department of Environmental & Geographic Sciences is known for its commitment to sustainable living. Some focus areas include climatology, climate change, soil erosion and land degradation, and environmental management. The Department of Biological Sciences houses the Bolus Herbarium, Marine Biology Research Centre, the Plant Conservation Unit, and the Animal Demography Unit, among other research centers.

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Sweden: Lund Univ.

ESS students will find courses in the Department of Earth & Ecosystem Sciences, Human Ecology, and the Faculty of Engineering. You may take first year graduate-level courses for upper-division credit provided you have the appropriate background.

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United Kingdom: English Universities: Univ. of East Anglia

You have access to innovative fieldwork in development, ecology, and energy engineering. And world-leading research and teaching at UEA's School of Biological Sciences covers the full spectrum of biology, from biomedicine and developmental biology to microbiology, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, ecology, and conservation.

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Singapore: National Univ. of Singapore (NUS)

At this highly ranked research institution, you can enjoy many science courses with lab or field research components. ESS courses have been taken by many UC students and address such issues as climate change, land and water use, alternative energy, and the building of livable high-density cities.

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Internship Opportunities for MAJOR Majors

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Research Opportunities for MAJOR Majors

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Global & International Opportunities

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Summer Physics Abroad

One potential route to study abroad for STEM students is to tackle a full year of introductory physics over the summer. Typically, this is the summer between students’ first and second year at UC Merced. Consider these options:

Australia: Sydney Summer Physics

Earn a full year of calculus-based physics credit in just eight weeks. Fulfill math requirements for the life sciences or get a jump on pre-med coursework and experience life in Sydney, Australia.

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Cyprus: Nicosia Summer Physics

Study intensive physics for the life sciences in beautiful Cyprus. Note that this program is better suited to biological sciences students than other STEM students.

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Ireland: Cork Summer Physics

In just eight weeks at the University College Cork, you can earn a full year of calculus-based physics credit, get a jump on math coursework, or prepare for a pre-med track. Lab experiments and group workshops expand your science knowledge with students from around the world.

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Spain: Madrid Summer Physics

Add some sizzle to your summer—study in Madrid and return with a full year of physics credit. This intense 8-week program is ideal for life sciences majors who want to get a quick boost in academics.

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United Kingdom: Glasgow Science & Engineering

As the home to the James Watt School of Engineering and the School of Life Sciences, the University of Glasgow offers the perfect environment for this intensive physics summer program.

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United Kingdom: Summer in Sussex

Minutes from the sparkling seafront, Sussex is quintessentially English, with spectacular castles, greenery, and attractions fit for royals. Pre-med and life sciences majors can earn up to a year of physics credit in two months!

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Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Opportunities

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Human Bio Opportunities

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Engineering-Specific Opportunities

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Advanced MAJOR Opportunities

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Feature: 5 Reasons STEM Majors Should Study Abroad

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Want to stand out on your next job application or boost your chances into getting into grad school? Or are you looking to expand your worldview, perhaps explore a side interest? Whatever your goal is, there’s a good chance study abroad can help you achieve it.


Completing Other SNS Requirements Abroad

SNS students have four general education course requirements that they can easily tackle through study abroad:

Engineering students have several general education requirements that they can easily tackle through study abroad:

  1. Approaches to Knowledge
    1. At least one course in engineering
    2. At least three courses in social sciences, arts, and humanities
  2. Intellectual Experiences
    1. Global Awareness, which is automatically fulfilled through study abroad with UCEAP
    2. Additional Intellectual Experiences, as appropriate, including, but not limited to:
      1. Societies and Cultures of the Past,
      2. Diversity and Identity, or
      3. Sustainability.

These requirements represent the most flexible general education requirements for SNS students planning to study abroad. Study abroad advisors recommend that SNS students aim for more of their major and SNS degree requirements when selecting a program and using the general education requirements as fallback options in case the targeted SNS course requirements do not pan out. In this way students continue to make progress toward their degrees while maximizing their scholarship potential and the the opportunities to integrate an international experience with their academic interests.

For SNS requirements, students will have courses reviewed through the   SNS course approval form, assuming the courses have not already been previously approved as a degree requirement.

Previously Approved UCEAP Coursework

The School of Natural Sciences has made some previously approved courses for SNS substitutions and/or requirements available to the public. This is not a comprehensive list of courses available but it may be a starting point in your research.

  Course Approvals for UCEAP

Course Approval and Course Approval Forms

With a few exceptions of previously approved courses (ask your academic advisor), courses will need to be approved to meet individual degree requirements. In these cases, students will use the Course Approval Form for the school that would typically offer such a course at UC Merced:

 

The school will often require a syllabus or equivalent in order to do a review. Keep in mind that syllabi may be protected intellectual property of certain professors or universities and may not be publicly posted online. If it is a UC Center program, you may be able to acquire syllabi through your study abroad advisor. If the program is with a local host university and the course is not posted online, you may be able to inquire with the instructor or host university in some cases.

Academic Planning

No matter your academic intentions while studying abroad, you should consult your academic advisor and your MyDegreePath report to plan out your study abroad academic goals. Once you narrow your search to 1-3 study abroad programs consult your program page or ask your study abroad advisor about resources for researching courses in your program.

 

Start planning for study abroad with your academic advisor as soon as you can. One of the keys to maximizing academic success abroad is early planning and scheduling course loads before, during, and after study abroad. This includes strategies such as targeting a study abroad term to exploit areas of flexibility in your academic plan.

Be sure to make use of UCEAP course credit resources below, too.

 

UC Merced Campus Credit through UCEAP

How to Explore Database of Courses Previously Taken

 

Campus Credit Abroad

Planning the courses you’ll take on study abroad is as important as figuring out when and where to go. All courses taken on the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) are guaranteed UC credit, but understanding how each class may fit into your academic plan is a critical part of the planning process.

UCEAP Database of Courses Previously Taken

How to Find Courses for UCEAP

One of the challenges with academic planning and completing the Academic Planning Form is finding courses. While there is never any certainty with course offerings and study abroad always requires a little calculated academic risk, there are some techniques to minimize the risk and exploit unique educational opportunities through study abroad.

Courses & Credit Tab

For nearly every UCEAP program page, there will be a tab labeled “Courses & Credit.” Within this tab you will find information and links in the “Course Opportunities” area. The course resources are listed in order of relevance. Depending on the program, you might find any of the following resources:

  1. Course syllabi
  2. Links to academic majors or programs with courses
  3. A bulleted list of courses

MyEAP Course Catalog

All UCEAP coursework taken in the last five (5) years is listed in the UCEAP Course Catalog. There are a few things you should consider when using the MyEAP Course Catalog:

  1. The list of courses is not comprehensive.
  2. Course units are listed in quarter units (to convert to semester units, divide by 1.5).
  3. Syllabi are not included.
  4. You may need to search less intuitive subject areas to find coursework (e.g. health sciences for public health, "engineering" for bioengineering, business for management and business economics).

Check Previously Approved Courses

There are a few resources available showing coursework previously approved for study abroad online. The resources are limited but they do represent some of the more recent course approvals:

A Note on Course Syllabi

Your academic advisor or school may insist that you need syllabi in order to determine whether a course abroad will substitute a particular degree requirement. While this is generally true, this does not prevent you from planning out your academic schedule abroad and determining what type of degree requirements a course may fulfill.

Sometimes your study abroad advisor or UCEAP can acquire a syllabus on your behalf; however, this is not always the case. Please understand that syllabi are often considered intellectual property and may not be shared until the course begins. Previously approved courses (see above) are often your first go-to resource to select courses.