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Courses | Cost | Staff


2023 Course offerings:2018 students

  • Course and Program Overview
  • Students take a full-time course load (12-19 credits) with the following core courses:


  • Students needing other courses besides the regular core courses listed above, can take the independent study courses or hybrid courses, for example:
      • BIO 499 Nitrate Accumulation and the Gulf Dead Zone” A study of the causes and impact of excess fertilizer runoff on the health of aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico
      • POL 499 Political conflict and the Endangered Species Act: A study of two species” An analysis of the efforts to protect the Higgin’s Eye Pearly Mussel, and Pallid Sturgeon.
      • ENV 499 Stormwater Management along the Mississippi River,” A comparative study of urban stormwater management in cities and town along the length of the river.
      • ART 499 On an Island, Watching the Stars: Cycles, Art, and Dialogue” A set of drawing inspired by experiences along the river and reflections on the aesthetics of the interaction between nature and human technology
      • FLM 499 Learning to Listen: A Semester on the River,” a documentary about the river and the people we met along the way; and “Shoulder to Shoulder: Our Common Journey,” a book of photographs documenting the personal experience of the students on the trip, what they experienced on the trip, and how they grew together.
  • ENV 399 Internship (with the River Semester Program).  Up to two positions available. Interns assist River Semester staff with trip logistics, meal planning, food shopping, maintenance of equipment and boats, and other duties as assigned. Contact Program Director for more information. 

Program Costs

For Augsburg University students, the cost is regular full-time tuition for four courses (12-19 credits) plus a $7,950 program fee covering all room and board, supplies, and transportation for the trip (with a $500 discount for applications completed before Dec. 15). Students must supply sleeping bags, pad, and appropriate outdoor clothing including rain gear (tents and all other equipment and supplies provided by the program).  Full financial aid applies.  Learn more about the program in great detail.

For students from other colleges and universities, students pay tuition as arranged with each college or university, plus a program fee.  Students should consult with their Study Abroad/Study Away office for details and assistance.  The tuition as arranged with the home institution, plus the program fee covers the cost for 12-19 credits (3 – 4.5 courses) from Augsburg University and the associated travel, room, and board costs for the full semester program, (excluding travel to Minneapolis at the beginning of the term, or returning home from Minneapolis at the end of the term).  Contact your study abroad office for details on pricing, registration, and financial aid.  Study abroad staff with questions about payment arrangements should contact Margaret Anderson, Program Coordinator, Off-Campus Study Programs ( or 612-330-1685) or Leah Spinoza de Vega, Director of Augsburg Abroad ( or 612-330-1650).

Program Director

Prof. Joe Underhill has been engaged in environmental politics for the last 30 years, from the Hudson River to San Francisco Bay to the Mississippi River.  Prof. Underhill teaches in Political Science, Environmental Studies, and International Relations, and in 2010-12 he served as the Batalden Faculty Scholar in Applied Ethics.  His experiential and interdisciplinary courses regularly take students off campus with the Model UN in New York City, and studying comparative environmental politics in locations including Egypt, New Zealand, Nicaragua, and Tanzania. He has written and presented on the intersection of political psychology, security, and the environment and is author of the book Death and the Statesman (Palgrave, 2001).  His most recent research examines the relationship between urban sustainability and democratic, critical, place-based pedagogy. He has taken students out on the Mississippi for the past fifteen years studying the impact of human activity on the river ecosystem and meeting with river rats and local activists in communities from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to our regular field staff and instructors, the expedition meets with numerous guest lecturers and has frequent site visits with field scientists and naturalists along the length of the river.

Staff and Partner Organizations:

The expedition is staffed by a field instructor specializing in stream ecology or environmental humanities (varies with the year) and several experienced staff.  Current and past program partners include the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), Quapaw Outfitters, Louisiana Marine Consortium, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Friends of the Mississippi River, America’s Waterway, Big Muddy Adventures, the Mississippi: An Anthropocene River, Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), the University of Minnesota’s River Life Program, Wilderness Inquiry, and  Works Progress.

Canoes on the Mississippi River