UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Winter: New Zealand: Sustainable Ecosystems (PLSC/ENSP)

Auckland, New Zealand
Picton, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Westport, New Zealand
Terms Offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
EA Advisor:
Language of Instruction: 

NZ: Sustainable

The three week course through the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture and the Environmental Science and Policy Program will engage you in the study of environmental sustainability programs that are being implemented in New Zealand. New Zealand, being geographically isolated, has its own sustainability issues from energy production to invasive species. You will travel throughout New Zealand's diverse ecosystems and learn about how the government approaches several aspects of sustainability, including but not limited to energy production (geothermal, hydropower, wind), ecological conservation programs (biodiversity), tourism, and low-impact urban design including stormwater management and architecture. Additionally, you will interact with Maori peoples to understand how their culture and language has been revived in the recent past and what issues they face both economically and socially. You will have the opportunity to visit museums, national parks, farms, botanical gardens, old growth forests and many other places to gain knowledge about the natural history of the Pacific Island country. Programs learned about in New Zealand will be compared and contrasted to sustainability programs in the United States, with the objective of forming a better appreciation of the program effectiveness in both countries.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

UMD and non-UMD freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduates are eligible to apply.

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the program director (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in the following three (3) credit UMD course:

  • PLSC489Z: Special Topics in Plant Science: Environmental Sustainability
  • ENSP489Z: Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy: Environmental Sustainability

The courses offered count toward the Sustainability Studies minor, and as a restricted elective for several majors in AGNR. 

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit.

You will stay in hostels and hotels in shared room assignments.

Costs listed are for winterterm 2024.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad:

Financial Aid
Financial Policies

*This program qualifies for eligible Pell Grant recipients to apply for the Gilman International Scholarship. Online applications will open in mid-August and are due Thursday, October 5, 2023, at 11:59pm PT.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Tuition $3,106
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Activities $50
Housing Fee $1,505
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Education Abroad Fee $700
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $55
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $300
Visa $0
Passport $165
Expedited Passport Processing (recommended) $60
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $3,300
Course Materials $0
Optional incidental expenses $180
Trip cancellation Insurance (optional) $200

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.


PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.

Dr. Joe Sullivan is a Professor of Forest Ecology in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland College Park. Joe studies the impacts of environmental stress, climate change and urbanization on trees and forests.  He was Director of the Environmental Science and Policy program before assuming duties as Associate Dean.  He has conducted research with students in the US, Canada, Finland and Western Europe and has been an instructor for this course since 2015.  

Dr. Andrew Ristvey is an Extension Specialist for Commercial Horticulture with University of Maryland Extension. He received his Master of Science degree from University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 1993 and soon after worked on restoring Chesapeake Bay shorelines in Maryland. He moved onto wetland and forest-stand delineation and then taught environmental and horticultural education at a Maryland arboretum specializing in Mid-Atlantic native plants. He earned his Doctorate in Horticulture in 2004 on plant nutrition and nutrient management. His present extension and research interests are ornamental-plant nutrient and irrigation management, green roof systems, and sustainable specialty crop production.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact Dr. Joe Sullivan at For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Visit new and amazing places including hiking on extinct and active volcanos, undergoing experiential leaning work at an active sheep farm and ecotourism center, walking on a glacier (weather permitting), and experience firsthand the Maori culture by spending time in their social system and forests.  
  • Meeting the people from an extraordinary island nation to learn how New Zealand manages sustainability in several areas including ecology, agriculture, climate change/energy and culture.
  • Compare and contrast sustainability management between United States and New Zealand. 
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Winterterm 2024 10/01/2023 10/11/2023 12/30/2023 01/18/2024