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Field study programs

On this page: Arctic |CFSIA | PFSS | BFSS | BITS | NEO | Shorter field courses | Minor in Field Studies | Field stations

Arctic Field Studies Program (MAFS)

The goal of McGill’s field studies program is to move the classroom into the field and to teach using real examples in a hands-on learning environment. The key issues for the Arctic are a function of its cold polar environment, its cultural makeup, an economy driven by natural resources, its remote geography and climate change. These issues are not mutually exclusive; rather they are interconnected through a complex network of feedbacks such that a change in one area has significant impacts on the other areas. The primary mission of the McGill Arctic Field Studies is to train a future generation of northern specialists and leaders who are able to understand and address the rapidly changing polar environment in a scientifically and culturally responsible manner.

Canadian Field Studies in Africa (CFSIA)

The Africa Field Study Semester provides one term of integrated field study in East Africa, with emphasis on environmental conservation, culture change and sustainable development. It is a 15-credit program offered in the Winter term (January-March) that can be counted towards certain McGill degree with the permission of program advisers.

Panama Field Study Semester (PFSS)

This program is a joint venture between McGill University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. It is a 15-credit program offered in the Winter term (January to April) that specifically addresses issues relevant to the understanding of the Latin America tropical environment.

Barbados Field Study Semester (BFSS)

The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers a 15-credit program at Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados during the Fall term (September to December). It is directed at students having an interest in global issues related to natural resource use as affected by socio-economic, management, urban and physical constraints.

Barbados Interdisciplinary Tropical Studies (BITS)

The BITS program provides one semester of integrated course and project work at Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados with a major emphasis on nutrition, food production, and energy. It is a 15-credit program offered in the summer semester (May to August). Staff and students from University of the West Indies (UWI) contribute to the internationalization experience. Student projects will be conducted under the supervision of researchers from McGill or UWI and local mentors drawn from governmental or non-governmental agencies, or local industry.

Neotropical Environment Option (NEO)

Three institutions representing Canada, Panama and the United States have united efforts to offer an avant-garde graduate-level program. This master's and doctorate option is primarily research based, and students will work under the supervision of researchers from McGill and/or the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Research areas are multiple but all will be related to environmental problems facing Latin America today.

Shorter field courses

Shorter field courses are offered through various departments including, for example, Biology, Geography, Earth and Planetary Sciences.

To explore these opportunities go to the "Field Studies (Undergraduate)" section of the McGill University Calendar

Minor in Field Studies

All of the field study semesters can be taken as a minor. The Field Study Minor consists of 18 credits:

  • 15 credits from the Field Study Semester
  • 3 credits from a complementary course

NOTE: None of the 18 credits may be used to satisfy any other program or requirement such as a major concentration or another minor.

For more information contact the Interdisciplinary Programs Adviser.

McGill Field Stations

McGill University operates several unique off-campus field stations, from the tropics to the high arctic.