Penn State Environmental Resource Management students embark on a two-week exploration of Antarctica in Spring 2024.

This all-new co-partnered embedded three-credit course gives 19 Penn State students the extraordinary opportunity to explore Antarctica for a two-week field excursion over winter break in January 2024. Students will explore famous sites such as the Beagle Channel, Antarctic Peninsula, and Cape Horn to see wildlife, icebergs, coves, inlets, islands and bays.

For more than 200 years, scientists and explorers have worked to unlock the mysteries of one of the coldest, windiest, driest, highest, quietest, and most remote and least understood continents on Earth. Now, Penn State students will have the opportunity to do the same! The study abroad trip will be led by Drs. Rob and Tammy Shannon, faculty in the Environmental Resource Management major.

"We are absolutely thrilled for students to investigate the impacts of climate change and learn about the scientific discoveries in Antarctica firsthand. Antarctica is a true, out-in-the-wild environment with the potential to transform those who experience the vast white landscape."

— Rob Shannon, ERM Program Coordinator and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education

The course provides students the opportunity to explore:

  • A broad overview of the continent's human and natural history
  • Antarctica's physical and ecological systems
  • Human activity in the region
  • Sustainable tourism
  • The use of fragile polar resources

Exciting, chance encounters could include whales, penguins, seabirds, black-browed albatrosses, Magellanic penguins, skuas, different varieties of seagulls and Alakush ducks, among others.

Before departing, students will attend weekly Fall lectures, write two short essays, complete a midterm project and final essay exam, and submit an annotated bibliography of their field course readings.