Skip to Content
Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
CNRE: New Zealand: Sustaining Human Societies and the Environment
Christchurch, New Zealand (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Wintermester
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Dates &
Click here to view
Budget Sheets Wintermester
Fact Sheet:
Language(s) in which classes are available:
English Max credits offered: 06
Minimum VT Class Status required for admission:
1 Freshman/First Year
Language Experience required for admission:
0 none
Program Type: VT faculty-led
Minimum Cumulative GPA:
Areas of Study: Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Human Ecology, Natural Resource Conservation, Sustainability College Sponsor: *Open to All Majors, CNRE
Program Description:

cnre new zealand


cnre logo

Field(s) of Study

Geology, Glaciology,
Sustainability, Natural Resources, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Social Science

Program Flyer

Additional Information

Virginia Tech course, VT faculty led, VT credit (6 cr.)

Gain hands-on field experience, critical thinking, intercultural as well as career skills by exploring New Zealand's natural and human environment.

New Zealand is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, with temperate rainforests, glaciers, sandy beaches, deep fiords, alpine herb fields, and rugged coastlines.

Much of the course is spent in the field, visiting and observing New Zealand first-hand. We believe that students learn he most from experiences both in and outside of the classroom.

You will learn from leading Kiwi academics and professionals.



New Zealand

Wintermester 2017-18 (December 26 - January 17)

Sustaining Human Societies and the Environment

This 21 day study abroad program will examine resource conservation and the natural and social history of New Zealand’s South Island. In this course you’ll use New Zealand as a case study to examine different cultural perspectives on the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social equity, and economics. The program travels to many of the stunning national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, and coastlines of New Zealand to learn from knowledgeable local experts and practitioners, including professors at Lincoln University, the University of Canterbury, and Otago University, government officials (e.g., Department of Conservation staff), iwi (Maori tribes), and scientific research bodies (e.g., Landcare Research).

The program follows a circular route around the South Island, stopping at a diversity of ecosystems along the way. City time includes days in Christchurch, which is one of Lonely Planet’s Top 40 places to see in 2014 due to its innovative rebuild after a series of devastating earthquakes, and the quaint university-oriented Dunedin. Meanwhile, Aoraki/Mount Cook, the country’s highest mountain, and the wild West Coast provide rugged landscapes to learn about alpine ecology and geology and glaciology. And field studies along the coastal areas of Kaikoura, where you can swim with a pod of wild dusky dolphins, and Abel Tasman National Park, where you will kayak and hike along golden sand beaches, offer lessons about the effects of tourism on the natural environment.

For more information about the program, please visit the college website.


No prerequisites; open to all majors. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Contact faculty program leader for exceptions.


Use the link on this page to begin the application process. The application is fully online and requires the following submissions:

* Statement of purpose (submit online as a "questionnaire")
* Two letters of reference requested online: one from a university professional printed on university letterhead, and the second from someone else who knows you well (but is not a friend or family member), such as a coach, advisor, mentor, employer.
*Transcripts of all post-secondary work completed (unofficial transcript is acceptable for Virginia Tech courses, may be printed out in HokieSPA or a DARS report) -- upload online.
* Undergraduate Honors Records Release- electronically sign online.
* Additional forms will be required upon acceptance into the course and will be available online as electronic signature documents.
*A non-refundable deposit of $500 will be charged to your VT student account upon acceptance into the course, and must be paid to the Treasurer of Virginia Tech within 5 days.


Participants will earn a total of 6 semester hours of Virginia Tech academic credit for the following course:
GEOG 3954 (undergrad) / GEOG 5954 (grad) - offered as 2-3 credit classes for ease of substitutions.

This course, open to ALL majors, can be used to fulfill core requirements 2,3, and 7. 

Virginia Tech undergraduate students seeking upper level Biology credits will be required to follow an embellished academic format including additional reading material and a paper to be completed upon return.

Virginia Tech students seeking graduate credit in this program are required to produce a capstone paper (at graduate standards) following the completion of this program. The subject and timing for submission will be determined by the VT faculty in charge. Graduate students will be required to contact the instructor in advance of the course to set up the requirements and timeline of this assignment.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course students will:

* Understand the natural history, biogeography, ecological diversity, and related social and cultural contexts of New Zealand through an exploration of the South Island's network of national parks and protected areas, which encompass rainforests, glaciers, mountains, coastlines, marine reserves, and offshore islands.

* Understand the impacts of human actions on the natural systems, and human responses to those changes, using the case of New Zealand's South Island.

* Develop an understanding of ecological education practices, integrated natural resource management, and conservation actions throughout New Zealand's South Island.

*Be able to address relationships between human societies and their natural environments from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to develop a complex, multi-faceted and holistic view of human - environment connections that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.


Program Fee

The program fee is approx. $3950 plus flight costs to and from New Zealand. (cost is based on number going – recruit your friends) + VT tuition & fees. ***Please be advised this is a previous cost estimate subject to change.

University Tuition & Fees

Tuition and university fees are billed separately from the program fee according to University Bursar policy. 6 credit hours of tuition + fees will be billed for the wintermester. See here for credit hour rates for the appropriate term:

Contact Information

Bill Carstensen
Department of Geography
115A Major Williams Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-2600

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Wintermester 2017-2018 10/01/2017 ** Rolling Admission 12/26/2017 01/17/2018

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Travel Alerts

Read up-to-the-minute travel and security information for U.S. citizens abroad. Go to alerts now. And don’t forget to register with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program if you are headed abroad or already overseas. Register now.


US Department of Homeland Security Announces Aviation Security Enhancements
On March 21, 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced “enhanced security measures” affecting 10 specific airports.

State Department issues travel alert for Europe
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe.

Global Travel Policy 1070
In keeping with Virginia Tech’s ongoing efforts to optimize the preparedness and safety of Hokies traveling abroad, President Sands and the University Safety and Security Policy Committee recently approved substantial revisions to the university’s Global Travel Policy 1070.

Greetings From Abroad