Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Program Terms: Winter Session
  • Budget Sheets: Wintermester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications. It's likely that the application is in the process of being launched. Check back for updates.
Fact Sheet:
Language(s) in which classes are available: English Max credits offered: 06
Minimum VT Class Status required for admission: 1 Freshman/First Year Language Experience required for admission: 0 none
Program Type: VT faculty-led Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.5
Areas of Study: Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Human Ecology, Natural Resource Conservation, Sustainability College Sponsor: *Open to All Majors, CNRE
Program Description:

Group pic CNRE New Zealand

New Zealand map

Field(s) of Study

Geology, Glaciology,
Sustainability, Natural Resources, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Social Science

Program Flyer

CNRE New Zealand Program Brochure


Additional Information

Virginia Tech course, VT faculty led, VT credit (6 cr.)

Gain hands-on field experience, critical thinking, intercultural as well as career skills by exploring New Zealand's natural and human environment.

New Zealand is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, with temperate rainforests, glaciers, sandy beaches, deep fiords, alpine herb fields, and rugged coastlines.

Much of the course is spent in the field, visiting and observing New Zealand first-hand. We believe that students learn he most from experiences both in and outside of the classroom.

You will learn from leading Kiwi academics and professionals.



New Zealand

Winter session 2018-19 (December 26 - January 18)

Sustaining Human Societies and the Environment

This 21 day study abroad program will examine the natural and social history and resource conservation of New Zealand’s South Island using a Geographic, ecological landscape perspective. New Zealand’s isolation, after its separation from the ancient Gondwanaland millions of years ago, has left this island nation with a unique natural heritage. The plants and animals that have evolved here are unknown elsewhere in the world. This program will focus on topics related to sustainable development (sustaining human societies and the natural environment) through educational travel, field trips, active participation, lecture presentations and seminars, debates and coursework exercises. The goal of this course is to use the New Zealand case to integrate different perspectives of diverse natural, biological, and social science disciplines to improve understanding of relationships between human societies and the natural environment. The impact of humans on natural resources and their sustainable use and conservation will be emphasized. New Zealand is the perfect laboratory for seeking sustainability as its natural heritage is truly unique in the world, and New Zealanders show a great desire to maintain it.

The program follows a circular route around the South Island, stopping at a diversity of ecosystems along the way. City time includes days in Christchurch, which is one of Lonely Planet’s Top 40 places to see due to its innovative rebuild after a series of devastating earthquakes, and the adventure Capital of the world, Queenstown. Meanwhile, Aoraki/Mount Cook, the country’s highest mountain, and the wild West Coast provide rugged landscapes to learn about alpine ecology and geology and glaciology. And field studies along the coastal areas of Kaikoura, where you can swim in the open ocean with a pod of wild dusky dolphins, and Abel Tasman National Park, where you will kayak and hike along golden sand beaches, offer lessons about the effects of tourism on the natural environment.

For more information about the program, please visit the canvas recruiting site by requesting access in an email to Bill Carstensen (


No prerequisites; open to all majors. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Contact the faculty program leader for exceptions.


Use the link on this page to begin the application process. The application is fully online and requires the following submissions:

* Statement of purpose (submit online as a "questionnaire")
* Two letters of reference requested online: preferably one from a university faculty member, and the second from someone else who knows you well (but is not a friend or family member), such as a coach, advisor, mentor, employer.
*Transcripts of all post-secondary work completed (unofficial transcript is acceptable for Virginia Tech courses, may be printed out in HokieSPA) -- uploaded online.
* Undergraduate Honors Records Release- electronically signed online.
* Additional forms will be required upon acceptance into the course and will be available online as electronic signature documents.
*A non-refundable deposit of $500 will be charged to your VT student account upon acceptance into the course, and must be paid to the Treasurer of Virginia Tech to reserve your place in the class.


Participants will earn a total of 6 semester hours of Virginia Tech academic credit for the following course:
GEOG 3954 (undergrad) / GEOG 5954 (grad) - offered as two 3 credit classes for ease of substitutions.

This course, open to ALL majors, can be used to fulfill core requirements 2,3, and 7. 

Virginia Tech undergraduate students seeking upper level Biology credits will be required to follow an embellished academic format including additional reading material and a paper to be completed upon return.

Virginia Tech students seeking graduate credit in this program are required to produce a capstone paper (at graduate standards) following the completion of this program. The subject and timing for submission will be determined by the VT faculty in charge. Graduate students will be required to contact the instructor in advance of the course to set up the requirements and timeline of this assignment.

Course Objectives
By the end of the course students will:

* Understand the natural history, biogeography, ecological diversity, and related social and cultural contexts of New Zealand through an exploration of the South Island's network of national parks and protected areas, which encompass rainforests, glaciers, mountains, coastlines, marine reserves, and offshore islands.

* Understand the impacts of human actions on the natural systems, and human responses to those changes, using the case of New Zealand's South Island.

* Develop an understanding of ecological education practices, integrated natural resource management, and conservation actions throughout New Zealand's South Island.

*Be able to address relationships between human societies and their natural environments from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to develop a complex, multi-faceted and holistic view of human - environment connections that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. 


Program Fee

The program fee is approx. $3995 plus flight costs to and from New Zealand. (Cost is reduced with more students – so recruit your friends) + VT tuition and fees. ***Please be advised this was the cost in 2017-18 and is subject to slight change.

University Tuition & Fees

Tuition and university fees are billed separately from the program fee according to University Bursar policy. 6 credit hours of tuition + fees will be billed for the winter session. Students studying abroad and not on campus do get discounted tuition and pay fewer fees for the winter session. See here for credit hour rates for the appropriate term:

Contact Information

Laurence (Bill) W. Carstensen
Department of Geography
105 Major Williams Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-2600

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

Dates / Deadlines:

The above program is not currently accepting applications. It is likely that the application cycle has yet to launch for the upcoming year. Please inquire with the Global Education Office about the program offering.

This program is currently not accepting applications. It's likely that the application is in the process of being launched. Check back for updates.