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Courses | Cost | Staff


Course offerings:2018 students

  • Students take a full-time course load (12-19 credits) with the following core courses:
    • POL 241 Environmental and River Politics  Required
    • ENV 310 Environmental Studies Field Seminar: Outdoor leadership and Sustainable Living Required
    • POL/ENV 499  Directed Research Project (available in different disciplines by arrangement) Required
    • ENV 320 A: Environmental Science with Lab or other courses by arrangement (see below)
    • WEL 120-A Recreational Wellness: Canoeing and Paddling  (Gen Ed: Lifetime activity) Elective

    Students needing other courses besides the regular core courses listed above, can take the following, with special pre-arrangement with the instructor and program leader:

    • Directed Research or Independent study (hybrid course format) available in Intermediate Studio Art, Astronomy, Environmental Communications, Environmental Literature, The City and Environment Keystone, Creative Writing, Environmental Psychology, Ethnography, Public Policy, International Relations, or in other disciplines with faculty approval
    • POL/ENV 399 Internship (with Wilderness Inquiry).  Contact Program Director for more information.

Program Costs

For Augsburg University students, the cost is regular full-time tuition for four courses (16-19 credits) plus a $7,500 program fee covering all room and board, supplies, and transportation for the trip. 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.  More details can be found here.

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 from Wilderness Inquiry. Program partners include 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, and  Works Progress.