Studying Sustainability Locally and Abroad

Studying Sustainability Locally and Abroad
Amanda Bancroft

Amanda Bancroft

Many of us are returning to school this month, and even if we’re not enrolled in a school or university, some of us are still studying hard at home or to advance careers related to the environment. Luckily, there are tons of great classes and programs both near and far.

The University of Arkansas offers classes and minors in various fields related to sustainability. Students can study watersheds, ecology, plants, sustainable agriculture, geology and much more. They also offer a graduate certificate. According to their website, the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability “is a 15-credit, interdisciplinary program, drawing from faculty and course work across all colleges of the University of Arkansas. The graduate certificate is accessible to all students admitted to the Graduate School, both degree-seeking and non-degree seeking.” Visit to learn more.

Want to study locally but travel around Northwest Arkansas in a group? Both students and non-students can study for a semester to become a Certified Arkansas Master Naturalist (, with optional credit from Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Becoming a Master Naturalist involves attending at least 40 hours of initial training (at various natural areas) on Arkansas animals, plants, water, stars, natural history and conservation. To become certified, you would need to perform at least 40 hours of volunteer work and acquire 8 hours of advanced training each year in topics such as mammal skulls, watershed management, bat caves, trail maintenance, pollinators and a variety of other options you may select.

To study sustainability internationally, choose from programs in marine biology, tropical ecology, sustainable agriculture or biodiversity and ecosystems. There are several program providers dedicated to these fields. Among them is the School for Field Studies, offering programs in Peru, Cambodia, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Panama, Kenya, Tanzania, Australia, New Zealand, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Another great option is the Organization for Tropical Studies, offering research programs in Costa Rica and South Africa. These programs are not only set in gorgeous natural areas, the living accommodations are pretty neat and the courses offer a hands-on experience that is a fantastic resume booster. Scholarships are available, and if you’ve participated in AmeriCorps, your education award can be applied to study abroad!

To learn about your study abroad options in fields related to biology, ecology, or sustainability, visit the University of Arkansas Office of Study Abroad ( located in a comfortable cottage on campus at 722 W. Maple St.

The UA Rome Center is offering a new summer program in Italy with a specific focus on Sustainability, called “Sustainability Design and Historic Preservation in Rome,” allowing students to “learn green design from tradition, visit green contemporary buildings and go on tours of Italy.” Explore the world and save the world at the same time by studying sustainability. Whether you stay local or go global, you’re sure to learn a lot!

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