January 20, (arrival in Capetown) to March 30, 2016
This is a ten-week, 15-credit program that will take place in the Dwesa-Cwebe nature reserve of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The program encompasses disciplines ranging from earth sciences, ecology and land use management to community relations, livelihoods assessment, indigenous knowledge systems and entrepreneurship. It brings together the natural and social sciences in projects that address issues of community and human development, environmental protection and health, water, food and energy security as these relate to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Penn State students will travel to South Africa, take classes, and conduct research and service projects in the parks and in the communities that surround them. During the 10 weeks, Penn State students will be joined at different times by students and staff from several partner universities in South Africa as well as nature reserve staff and local community members. The program is directed by Penn State faculty and courses will be taught by Penn State faculty in collaboration with South African faculty.
The 9 credits of course work (400-level) will cover the physical geology and geography of South Africa, its cultural and political history, ecology and land management. The remaining 6 credits focus on research and service.
Courses offered for the Spring 2016 semester include:
GEOG 498A- People, society and the natural environment (3 credits)This course focuses on the livelihoods associated with various communities within South Africa and their perspectives on nature and the community.
GEOG 498C OR C I 498C - Learning across place, time and cultures (3 credits)This course focuses on theory and implementation strategies for establishing communities of learners based on inquiry and active engagement.
GEOG 498B- Innovative strategies to tackle socio- ecological challenges (3 credits)This course will provide tools for identifying opportunities and developing strategies to tackle socio-ecological challenges.
GEOG 436- Geology, Economy and Society (3 credits) This course focuses on the opportunities of implementing sustainable strategies and the challenges that impede sustainable development.
GEOG 314 (GN)- Biogeography and Global Ecology (3 credits ) OR GEOG 496- Biogeography and Global Ecology P&P (3 credits)
Note: Students may ony select GEOG 496 if they have already taken GEOG 314.
The dynamics of plant and animal distribution on global, regional and local scales, their causes and consequences.
None of these courses require any prerequisites.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken on this program, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas of a Pass/Fail basis.To learn how the courses on this program can work into your individual degree audit, meet with your academic adviser.
Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.
Housing and Meals
Students will live in basic park accommodations within the nature reserves. Meals are available in the park accommodations dining room.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Spring budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
To learn more about the specifics of the program contact the faculty leader for the program, Neil Brown or, schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for the program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. You must complete the following materials in your application:
Education Abroad Questionnaire
One academic recommendation
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
NOTE: Students depart from the U.S on January 19, 2016
** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Indicates that deadline has passed
University Office of Global Programs | The Pennsylvania State University |
410 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802 Phone: 814-865-7681 - Fax: 814-865-3336