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  • Locations: Bangkok, Thailand; Kanchanaburi, Thailand; Phuket, Thailand; Sukhothai, Thailand
  • Program Terms: Summer-Embedded
  • Host Program Website: Visit host website for more information
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
Program Description:

Program Overview     

With the 2nd largest economy in southeast Asia (behind Indonesia), Thailand plays a leading role in driving development and forging regional policy. Its capital, Bangkok, is a global megacity with an estimated 10 million inhabitants in the metropolitan region and a current growth rate of over 2%/year. This generally positive economic outlook may obscure a more fraught future. Thailand has major vulnerabilities related to natural hazards. Although it is generally a tectonically quiescent region, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (with almost 10,000 confirmed dead or missing in Thailand) demonstrated a substantial (and under-appreciated) risk associated with its location surrounded by major plate boundary fault zones. It has also experienced moderate (but damaging) earthquakes within its borders; has evolving problems of groundwater degradation by saline incursion from both natural (sea level rise) and man-made (agricultural) causes; suffers from severe flooding in Bangkok and other major cities, and is seeing detrimental effects from climate change and sea level rise in coastal regions. In this course students will develop a background in the underlying causes and impacts of these natural hazards, with a focus on implications for the Thai society and its future.

During Maymester, the class will travel to Thailand and see first-hand the intersection between natural hazards and societal well-being. Specific topics for this field excursion may include analysis of the tsunami hazard along the Andaman Sea coast, earthquake potential in northwestern Thailand and Bangkok, the causes and consequences of brine degradation of the groundwater resource, the causes and impacts of significant flooding, and effects of climate change on coastal regions. All of these vulnerabilities will be placed in the context of a rapidly growing, mixed industrial/agricultural economy, in a largely Buddhist country and society. Integrated into the Thailand trip will be visits to a range of historic and cultural sites including multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Program Quicklinks     

Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links



Any pre-requisite courses are established by the faculty leader or department hosting the course.  The following have been listed as pre-requisites for consideration to enroll in this course and travel on the embedded education abroad program:
  • This course is open to all majors and/or all colleges at University Park only.
  • Admission in the course and permission to travel with the group are at the discretion of the faculty leader and/or academic department hosting the course.  Academic standing and disciplinary or conduct issues may impact eligibility.

Housing and Meals

During the embedded travel component, housing will consist of overnight accommodations at a hotel/hostel and dormitory/student residences. 

Program Costs

Students pay regular Penn State tuition (either in-state or out-of-state) for the credits associated with the embedded course.  Travel costs, lodging, meals, excursions, and other fees are determined by the program budget which is set by the program leader.  Please consult the program leader for additional information.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Global Programs administers a scholarship that is specifically designated to support students studying abroad on embedded courses.  The scholarship is competitive, and the deadlines to apply are strictly enforced.  Please review the Embedded Programs Scholarship eligibility, deadlines, and application process.

For More Information

For more information about this course, please contact the program leader: Kevin Furlong by emailing

How to Apply

 The process for enrolling in an embedded course varies according to the instructor and/or department.  The program leader has indicated that in order to enroll in the course and travel component, students must submit an application based on essay expressing interest; interviews at discretion of Prof. Furlong.

Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.




Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer-Embedded 2020 08/21/2019
Rolling Admission 05/12/2020 05/29/2020
NOTE: The application deadline date is NOT as it appears above. Please contact the program leader, Kevin Furlong, by emailing if you are interested in applying for this embedded program.

** 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