Adventuring Beyond Iowa State


College is a fantastic time to travel to far flung parts of the country or the world, and the Biology Program offers students great opportunities to adventure beyond the Iowa State campus.

Field Trip Courses

Field trip courses or travel courses are offered by a variety of departments on campus, and those offered by the Biology Program provide a unique opportunity to learn about biology through hands-on experience.  These experiences may be within North America (BIOL 393) or international (BIOL 394), and count directly towards Biology degree requirements.  

Enrolling in field trip courses requires completing an application, and there are additional course fees or costs.  Each field trip course has a seminar that introduces the biology, environment, and culture of the location to be visited.  The field trips themselves occur over break periods or during the summer.  The Biology Program currently offers the following field trip courses:


International Field Trips (BIOL 394)

Course Name Credits Location Instructors Availability Application Deadline

Caribbean Marine Biology

2 Roatan Island, Honduras Don Sakaguchi & Jeanne Serb Spring 2018 (even years) October 29th 2017

Summer Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Experiences


3 Belize City, Belize Tracy Heath, John Nason, Jordan Satler Summer 2018 February 1st 2018

ISU on the Mediterranean

6 to 9 Valencia, Spain various Summer (every year) Applications closed (check later!)

Additionally, the following field trip courses offered by other departments may also be of interest to Biology majors:

Other Field Trip Courses

Course Name Department Credits Location Instructors Availability Application
Natural History of Costa Rica NREM 3 Costa Rica Stephen Dinsmore & Jim Adelman Spring 2016 Applications closed (check later!)
Natural History of Madagascar NREM 3 Madagascar Stephen Dinsomre & Peter Wolter Spring 2018 Applications open (deadline October 1st 2017)
Natural History of Antarctica NREM 3 Antarctica Stephen Dinsmore & Julie Blanchong Fall 2016 Applications closed
Primate Behavior and Ecology ANTHR   Costa Rica Stacy Lindshield Summer 2016 Applications closed

Study Abroad

The flexibility of the Biology major makes it easy to study abroad and have those experiences count towards our degree requirements.  Start with the Study Abroad Center and identify programs of interest, then work with your advisor on a plan for fitting the experience in to your degree program.  If you’d like a starting point, we also have this spreadsheet (Study abroad courses Biology Jan 2016.xlsx) listing a few international institutions and some courses that can count for advanced biology credit at Iowa State.  

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Study Abroad Programs
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Programs

Additional Adventures Beyond Iowa State

Many institutions across the country offer summer research laboratories where students can have immersive field or lab experiences.  Students are welcome to investigate all such programs and work with their advisor to make it part of their program of study.  

One such program that Biology has a partnership with is the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi.  These summer courses focus on marine biology, and more information about this program is available here.  

Iowa State also has a partnership with the School for Field Studies (SFS).  They offer full semester and summer programs in Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Tanzania, and the Turks & Caicos Islands.  

Students can also take advantage of the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory.  Founded in 1909, the 147-acre wilderness area near Okoboji Lake provides opportunities to study nature in nature on topics ranging from ecology to mammalogy.  Check out their website for more information.