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  • Locations: Copenhagen, Denmark; Ilulissat, Greenland
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:

Titlesociology italy
Location Copenhagen, Denmark / West Coast of Greenland
Academic Term Early Fall 2018
August 15- September 10
Estimated Program Fee $4,850
Credits 5 UW credits
Prerequisites N/A
Program Directors Michelle Koutnik|
Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
Priority Application Deadline February 15, 2018
Information Sessions Friday, January 26, 3-4pm, Schmitz Hall 450.
Contact Program Director for more information.
General Learn about changes in ice and climate while traveling along the west coast of Greenland and to Copenhagen, Denmark. Explore stunning environments and engage in the science and the response to climate change. The course fee has been significantly offset by support from the Scan|Design Foundation.

Program Description

The course focus is based on physical science, but the destinations and experiences will be rich in exposure to culture, history, and policy. The academic motivation is for students to understand how the Greenland Ice Sheet is changing due to climate change, how this affects people in Greenland and around the world, and how Denmark is leading scientific efforts to understand these changes and political efforts to mitigate these changes. Since no roads connect towns and cities in Greenland, we will go by plane and ferry to locations that will span smaller towns, stunning natural environments, and the country’s capitol city. We will hike on the Greenland ice sheet, tour the iceberg-choked fjords, and learn from Copenhagen how it is one of the world’s most desirable places to live and one of the most sustainable cities.

The changing climate, and how it is affecting the Greenland Ice Sheet, is globally recognized as a high-priority issue that we must address – now. The world is responding with research, policy, discourse, and media coverage. The University of Washington is responding further with education. This exploration seminar will promote awareness of this critical issue, and provide a foundation for future action. The exploration and educational experience from this trip will instill students with breadth and depth of understanding, as well as connections and memories for a lifetime; on its own, being witness to the enormity of Greenland ice is an extraordinary life event.

Course fees listed here reflect a significant reduction in cost due to generous support from the Scan|Design Foundation. The course fellowship has already been applied to reduce the program fee for each student to the amount listed here. With this support we have planned enriching tours and experiences in Greenland and in Copenhagen and made accessible traveling to an otherwise expensive location – we are thrilled to have this partnership and provide this opportunity.




Copenhagen, Denmark


Copenhagen, Denmark
Ilulissat, Greenland
Aasiat, Greenland
Nuuk, Greenland
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Copenhagen, Denmark


Primary housing are hostels in all locations



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

Competence in the outdoors to know how to pack what is needed for a traveling course, for day hikes in uncertain weather, and how to manage personal needs if it is cold or raining. We will walk a lot to get around, as well as have the option to bike in Copenhagen. Ability to carry luggage (ideally as a backpacking pack) and to join moderate multi-hour day hikes is required; option for additional hiking will be available.


5 UW Credits


ESS 402: Greenland and Denmark: Ice and climate-change science and societal response (5 Credits)

In the past few decades, the Greenland Ice Sheet has experienced significant retreat with the speed-up of many large outlet glaciers flanking the ice sheet; faster moving glaciers move more ice from the land to the sea. The amount of ice leaving the ice sheet is critical, because this ice melts and directly increases the global sea level. The contribution of ice to the sea has increased in the past decades, and a major area of international research is to understand the dynamics that control the stability of this vast reservoir of interior ice that is nearly two miles thick at its center. In addition to recent changes in ice export, there has been increased melting of the ice sheet at high elevations that has scientists captivated and concerned about what will come next. Climate change has also played a role in cultural change in Greenland.

Since rising temperatures alter the atmosphere and the ocean bounding the Greenland Ice Sheet, and this drives ice-sheet change, we must limit carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to warming. Denmark is an international leader instituting policies that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Danish government has in place an energy strategy that includes a target for 50% wind power use by 2020 and that aims to be independent of fossil fuels by 2050. Copenhagen has its own “green” ambitions, including being the world’s first carbon-neutral capitol city by 2025, and they have already made significant cuts to their carbon emissions.

This course would appeal to students from across campus and would be the only course with this content that includes travel to Denmark and Greenland.

Learning goals include:
- Obtaining real-world knowledge about climate change, and how changes in the Arctic will impact Greenland and extend globally.
- Gaining a more sophisticated understanding of how to tackle scientific problems and ask scientific questions.
- Appreciating spatial scales and time scales of changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, and of scientists’ job deciphering the past, monitoring the present, and predicting the future.
- Encouraging critical thinking, discourse, and action regarding global issues.
- Fostering connections with scientists, students, and citizens of Denmark and Greenland, and gaining respect for these two distinct, yet coupled, cultures.
- Understanding energy-saving mechanisms and philosophies in place for the city of Copenhagen and across Denmark.
- Considering shifts in Arctic governance as sea-ice loss and ice-sheet ice melt bring new access to natural resources and shipping routes



Michelle Koutnik, Earth and Space Sciences, Program Director

Michelle is a Research Assistant Professor in Earth and Space Sciences with a focus in glaciology – understanding glaciers and ice sheets and how they change. She has traveled to Greenland since 2004 for research, teaching, and exploration, and lived in Copenhagen for three years. The course will be co-instructed by a graduate student at the University of Washington, as well as a Danish colleague who specializes in climate science.



Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $4,850

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,000)
  • Food (up to about $20/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: October 13, 2018

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.

Additional Info

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