Program Details

Location: Reykjavik, Iceland

Dates: Summer 2020: June 24–August 6, 2020

Accommodations: Primarily camping, occasional youth hostel or rural lodge

Credits: 15 quarter credits or 10 semester credits

Language: English instruction

Courses: ESCI 437A, ESCI 437B, ESCI 437C

Prerequisites: One college level course of ecology or similar,
18 years of age

Program Costs

Iceland Summer 2020
$     150    Application Fee
$  5,550    Program Fee
$  3,500    Estimated In-Country Group Fee
$  1,000    Estimated Airfare
$  1,300    Estimated Food Money/Personal Spending

$11,500   Total Estimated Cost
Summer 2020: Program fees due by May 1, 2020 


The Program

The Iceland Program will traverse some of the most unique and fascinating geological and biological landscapes that can be found nowhere else on the planet. Our journey will begin on the Reykjanes Peninsula, where we will visit critical nesting grounds and assist scientists with ongoing oystercatcher research. We will then travel southeast where we will learn about the impacts of climate change as we backpack between glaciers and explore glacial lagoons. In East Iceland we will observe puffins and seals, study plant diversity, discuss criteria for sustainable fisheries, and learn about the challenges that Iceland has faced due to deforestation and the damming of glacial rivers. Next, we will head to the Melrakkasletta Peninsula, the northernmost region of Iceland, where we will spend a week at an Icelandic research station and assist with coastal and marine monitoring efforts across a tundra landscape. Next, we make our way west to learn about geothermal energy as we visit the geologically active Myvatn region, discuss and debate sustenance hunting as we interact with communities founded on whaling, and reside at remote farms to learn about the importance of agriculture in Iceland. In the West Fjords we will study iconic Arctic species as we visit the Arctic Fox Centre, and complete a project focused on marine debris at Rauðasandur beach. Finally, as we head south toward the capital region, we will explore the tidal environment in Snæfellsnes National Park, and study seismology in Þingvellir National Park, where the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates is situated. From active participation in research, interacting with various stakeholders, trekking across diverse landscapes, and reflecting in our scientific journals while immersed in nature, the Iceland Program is guaranteed to provide students with a deep understanding of the Arctic, the environmental challenges that this region is facing at an unprecedented rate, and the measures that can be taken to solve complex, environmental challenges.

Program Photo Gallery


More Details






Jenna Spackeen

lead instructor

PhD in Marine Science, Virginia Institute of marine science, 2017

Jenna is an oceanographer who is interested in nutrient cycles and the impacts of global change. Her research has taken her all over the world.  She has spent a considerable amount of time aboard research vessels in the Arctic and at field stations in Antarctica, investigating how climate change affects phytoplankton communities and the cycling of nutrients in the ocean.  Her research has also taken her to Mexico, where she studied food web interactions in estuary systems. Jenna is passionate about science outreach and experiential education.  She believes that personal awareness, environmental appreciation, and a desire to make the world a better place can be fostered when one is immersed in nature.  Jenna will lead our Iceland Program starting in Summer 2020.