Study Abroad

 Why Should Students Study Abroad? by Luke Reese and Ajit Srivastava

Renewable Bioenergy Systems in Germany and Sweden

(Program Flyer)

Offered even years.

Summer: 2 1/2 weeks (mid-May to early-June)

Scenic view of boat, water, and shoreline in Sweden

Biobased renewable energy will play a critical role in meeting the ever-increasing global demand for energy. It is estimated that it took us 125 years to consume one trillion barrels of oil. It will take us less than 30 years to consume the next trillion barrels at the projected rate of consumption. It is vital that we develop and adapt renewable sources of energy that minimize dependence on the imported oil and reduce global warming. Sweden and Germany are among the most advanced of the developed countries in adopting energy policies that encourage the use of renewable energy. For example - over 20% of the total energy consumed in Sweden comes from biobased resources – a goal for the United States by 2020.

This program will be technical in nature and will address various forms of renewable energies and associated technologies, economics, safety, and environmental impacts. Lectures and laboratory experiences will be provided by engineering faculty. In addition, students will visit a sustainable non-fossil fuel community and several sites where renewable energy is being used.

 Course topics include:

  • Global Overview of Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Biomass
  • Anaerobic Digestion
  • Systems Approach to Renewable Energy


Students will be required to enroll for six (4) credits from the following courses:

  • BE 490 Independent Study 3 credits
  • BE 491 Selected Topics 3 credits
  • EGR 400 Special Problems in International Engineering 1-6 credits
  • ME 491* Special Topics 3 credits

*Only available to Mechanical Engineering majors

Sustainable Food, Environment and Social Systems in Australia (Program Flyer)

Offered every year.

Summer: 4 weeks (mid-July to mid-August)


Captivating, breathtaking, dynamic and even harsh extremes – the land “down under” has sparked the imagination of explorers and adventurers for centuries. Now, you can experience the excitement and wonder of Australia through a four-week study abroad program.

The program runs from approximately mid-July through mid-August, featuring an interdisciplinary exploration of sustainable social, food/agriculture, and environment systems. Special emphasis is placed on studying how humans interact with their built and natural environments in sustainable ways. Site visits include farms, agribusinesses, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, museums and selected cultural and historical sites. Site visits are selected to stimulate critical thinking about and analysis of global citizenship in relation to policy, social equality, economics and environmental stewardship, etc. 

Students also have the opportunity to work with international professionals and peers in a hand-on experiential learning environment. Example site visits exploring sustainability include:

  • Sydney Olympic Park (a major recovered brownfield), 
  • the Adelaide Desalinization project (providing 50% of Adelaide’s future potable water), 
  • the Great Barrier Reef, 
  • the wet tropics rainforest, 
  • Magenetic Island National Park, and 
  • a 55,000 acre working outback cattle property. 

Multiple accommodation and transportation options are utilized to expose students to travel and cultural diversity. At the conclusion of the program, many students choose to travel to other parts of Australia, New Zealand, or Hawaii on their journey home (at their own expense).

Undergraduates will be required to enroll in a minimum of seven (7) semester credits from the following courses. Graduate students will be required to enroll in four (4) semester credits.

  • ANR 475 International Studies in Agri. and Nat. Res. 2 – 6 cr.
  • ESA 480 Environmental Studies Abroad 1 – 6 cr.
  • BE 475 International Studies in Biosystems Engr. 1 – 6 cr.
  • TSM 475 International Studies in Tech. Sys. Mgt. 1 – 6 cr.
  • ISS 310 People and Environment 4 cr.
  • ACR 202 Problem Solving in Comm., Agri. & Env. Sys. 3 cr.

Students also will be required to attend six pre-departure orientations during Spring Semester 2012.

Course prerequisites may apply; see Course Descriptions (on the MSU Website) or program leader for details. A 2xx ISS course completion is required for enrollment in ISS 310.

Ecological Engineering in the Tropics Costa Rica

(Program Flyer)

Offered every year.

Winter Break: 2 weeks (approximately 12/29-1/10)