Seminars Abroad Antarctica - Courses

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Ecology in Antarctica

On this Seminar Abroad program, you can

  • Earn 8 quarter units in 4 weeks.
  • Enroll in UC Davis courses to fulfill degree, major, minor, or GE requirements as listed in the General Catalog.
  • Experience academic coursework enriched by both the program’s location(s) and activities.


Ecology in Antarctica is an intensive immersion course in Antarctic ecology, history, and politics. Students will learn the complexities of Earth’s most remote continent through directed readings, group discussion, and first-hand exploration. For centuries, Antarctica has fascinated artists, explorers, scientists, and adventurers; students will study and explore the geologic, biologic, and political factors that make Antarctica unique, even from other high-latitude and high-elevation ecosystems.

Fall Introduction Seminar

The fall seminar will provide an overview of key background topics including 1) Antarctic ecology and geology, 2) history of exploration and scientific research, 3) geopolitics and ecotourism, and 4) Antarctica as a bellwether for Earth’s future climate, as well as travel preparation. The class will be held primarily online and structured around readings, online discussion forums, and personal essays, with a few in-person meetings throughout the quarter. This course is linked with similar study abroad courses at three other universities, providing a unique opportunity for cross-university collaboration and networking.

In-Country and On-Boat Seminar

The in-country program will begin in Argentina, where students will spend 2 days exploring Ushuaia, the ‘gateway to Antarctica’. Here, students will tour migratory bird breeding habitats, visit the Marine Mammal Museum, and experience historic Ushuaia as well as meet with expedition officials to prepare for the Antarctic voyage. The remainder of the seminar will be spent ‘on-boat’ aboard the purpose-built research vessel Akademik Ioffe. Aboard the vessel, students will traverse the Bismark Strait, the Weddell Sea, the Gerlache Strait, and the Drake Passage. Zodiak excursions and sea kayaking will be available to numerous barrier islands (including Elephant Island where Shackleton’s crew was famously stranded in 1916) as well as the Antarctic continent proper for wildlife viewing and hiking.



The above syllabus is representative of this program. The instructor provides a term-specific program syllabus to enrolled students. The program syllabus and schedule, including the daily itinerary and planned activities, are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Class Format


Earn GE credit! Some courses on this program offer GE credit. Expand the sections below to view course descriptions and type of credit offered.


  • Evolution and Ecology (EVE) 198. Directed Group Study (5 units)
  • This course includes participation on excursions and tours and attendance to guest lectures. Students are often asked to write reflective pieces. Assignment topics vary by program.

* Program and units are attached to fall quarter.