Study Away Opportunities

Luther students studying ecology in Ecuador.

January 2020 Biology Courses Offered

  • Bio 247: Subtropical and Marine Biology
  • Bio 249: Winter Biology

January 2021 Biology Course to be Offered

  • Bio 240 Ecology of the Desert Southwest

January 2022 (Tentative offerings)

  • Bio 247 Marine Biology

Studying away provides an opportunity to dramatically broaden your educational experience while at Luther. Biology students often take a semester or a full year to study abroad in a variety of programs. January term offers an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in another environment for a shorter period of time. Hardy souls who find Decorah winters too mild head north to study winter biology in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. Those seeking warmer climates can seek the blue waters of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas to learn marine biology, trek to Ecuador to study evolution in the Galapagos Islands and ecology of the Amazon, or explore desert ecology in the American Southwest. The biology department has a tradition of offering at least one study away course every January.

Students also use January term study away to explore career interests through internships related to biology and the health sciences. A few recent examples include research at the University of Arizona, shadowing physicians at Gundersen Lutheran Clinic in La Crosse, and assisting a local veterinarian. Students usually arrange their own internships, although the department coordinates several.   Contact Dr. Enos for more information and to sign up for internships.

Luther J-Term Study-Away Courses

BIO 249 Winter Biology - A field study of the natural history of the southern boreal forest ecosystem in the boundary waters in northern Minnesota, including the physiological and behavioral adaptations of organisms to extreme cold. Course activities include skiing and snowshoeing excursions in remote natural areas, assigned readings, observations of natural history, and research projects.

BIO 247 Marine Biology - This course is an introduction to the ecology, taxonomy, and conservation of barrier and fringing coral reefs, lagoons, and mangrove ecosystems. Organisms emphasized include marine invertebrates, fish, and some common terrestrial mammals, birds and plants of the Caribbean. In addition to professor-led field excursions including extensive snorkeling and SCUBA diving on coral reefs, students develop and complete independent research projects. Several days will be spent on the Luther campus for pre-trip orientation and post-trip completion of projects. Includes two weeks at the Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences, Roatan, Honduras. Offered approximately every other year. 

BIO 240 Ecology of the Desert Southwest -This course introduces the history and biology of the Southwest desert and the effects of human activity, especially the use of water. Activities include hikes in mountains, deserts, and riparian areas; readings on archaeology, ecology, and policy; meeting with ranchers, archaeologists, miners, activists, and biologists; and study of ecophysiological adaptations of plants and animals to the desert environment. The last week will include student-designed research projects carried out at the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experiment Station.

Other Study Away Opportunities

Iowa Lakeside Lab - including summer field biology courses

Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories: includes summer field biology courses in Northern Minnesota

University of Washington Friday Harbor Marine Lab:

Shoals Marine Lab: Summer & semester programs

Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center: Wolf ecology

George Mason University:  Smithsonian-Mason Global Conservation Studies Program