Study Abroad

Both undergraduate and graduate programs in Environmental Studies are designed to give your real-world experiences.  In line with VCU's REAL Initiative, we believe that developing content that provides hands-on opportunities, mentorship, and learning that integrates policy, technology, and quantitative skills within real-world scenarios produces the most competent and competitive graduates.  

One of the mechanisms we provide to our students are Study Abroad opportunities.  While traditional study abroad requires that students leave the country, we take a more inclusive approach in providing opportunities within the US as well as beyond to provide the broadest possible set of opportunities for our students.  We even have the option for students to create their individual experiences through collaborations with expeditions through VCU's Outdoor Adventure Program.

Here are some examples of previous opportunities faculty in ENVS have offered.

River of No Return

As part of a collaboration between VCU Environmental Studies, the Department of Biology, and the Outdoor Adventure Program, students participated in a constellation of courses including Wilderness Policy in AmericaNatural History of the Salmon River Watershed, and Expedition Planning culminating in an expedition to Idaho's Lower Salmon River.

The course series is tied to VCU’s River Studies and Leadership Certificate program, which offers a foundation of knowledge, skills and experience in river-based science, policy, conservation, education and recreation for undergraduate students who aspire to be a river professional.


Summits to Sea: South Africa

One of the most basic principles of biology is that all life is interconnected. This course provides VCU students to experience this gradient firsthand as they hike, paddle and swim through both the wilds and the urban areas of South Africa as part of a focused course in Human and Natural History of KwaZulu-Natal.  

Participants travel from the peaks of the Drakensburg Mountains down to the ocean at Kosi Bay.  During this expedition, they learn how rivers influence the connections between humans and nature in ecosystems. 


Tropical Avian Ecology

To protect migratory animal populations, conservation biology must have an international approach to education, research, and policy. The Prothonotary Warbler breeds in riparian forests of the southeastern US in spring and summer, then migrates to Latin America to overwinter in mangroves and other forested wetlands. In Tropical Avian Ecology, students travel to Panama to continue a of wintering Prothonotary Warblers and other mangrove-dependent bird populations in collaboration with the Panama Audubon Society.
In this course, students learn safe animal handling techniques, tropical bird and plant identification, field methods for surveys and experiments, and the challenges (and opportunities) of international conservation. Well-studied on the James River by VCU researchers, the Prothonotary Warbler connects participants to the global nature of ecological science.

Footprints on the James

This expedition class is a collaboration with faculty in the Department of Biology to explore the intersection of human and natural history in the James River and its watershed.  This immersive experience allows students to understand how our landscape is shaped by the development of the many cultures that have occupied this part of the what we now call the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The James River is a feature of profound natural and historic interest in the history of our nation. In many ways the history of human settlement in the James River watershed mirrors the history of the United States.


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