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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Himalaya, India
  • Program Terms: Spring, Summer
  • Restrictions: UC applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2018 12/15/2017
Rolling Admission 07/30/2018 08/16/2018
Summer 2019 03/15/2019 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

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

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Program Type Detailed: UC Faculty-Led Program Program Type General: Faculty-Led
Level of Study: Graduate, Undergraduate Academic Theme: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Credit Offered: UC Credit Registration Term: Spring
Language Courses Offered: No Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Housing Options: Hotel
Program Lead Faculty: Lewis Owen Program Additional Faculty: Craig Dietsch
Program Advisor: Cory Smith
Program Description:

Program Overview

This course will examine the nature and consequences of natural and human-induced environmental change in the western Indian Himalaya. Our goal is to better understand the nature and dynamics of natural processes, past, present and future human impacts, and how one might protect, plan, and design for a sustainable future in the Himalaya. We will consider landscape change (e.g., mountain building, glaciation, erosion), geohazards (landsliding, flooding and earthquakes), ecology, and complex socio-economic and cultural issues, including those surrounding the growing eco-tourism industry. The course is open to all students from any discipline. NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF GEOLOGY IS REQUIRED/NEEDED. The course is in two parts: 1) in-class session in spring semester; and 2) 18-day-long field trip in July-August 2018. Prior to traveling, students will be introduced to the various disciplines needed to understand the complex scientific, socio-economic, and political issues inherent in the study of environmental change in the Himalaya.

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India is a fascinating country, geographically and culturally it is highly diverse. There is always something interesting to see. The Himalaya are particularly grand and dynamic. We will travel across a diverse range of environments, from the monsoon-influenced Indo-Gangetic Plain and Lesser Himalaya through the semi-arid regions of Lahul, Zanskar and Ladakh. This will involve about 400 miles of travelling northwards from Delhi to Leh. The Indo-Gangetic Plain and Lesser Himalaya is dominated by Hindu culture, while Zanskar and Ladakh is a unique region of the Himalaya dominated by Buddhist gompas (monasteries) set in a stark semi-arid landscape. Towards the end of the fieldtrip there will be the opportunity to visit Likir Gompa, which is one of the most famous in India. At altitude (>10,000 feet) there are no poisonous plants, animals, or insects. The climate will be very varied. On the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in the Lesser Himalaya, it will be hot (>35oC) and we may experience heavy rain. However, as we travel north we will be in the rainshadow of the monsoon. Then it will be hot and dry during the day, however, we might encounter snow and rain at higher altitudes, so warm and waterproof clothing is essential. In the lower parts of the valleys, day time temperature may reach 90oC. India is full of fascinating and diverse wildlife including tigers, rhinoceros, elephants, leopards, monkeys, exotic birds and insects. In the Himalayas, we may encounter the Himalayan tahr, musk deer, ibex, markhor and even the elusive snow leopard. Vegetation is also diverse and in the Himalaya ranges from monsoon rainforest to alpine meadows. 

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Who Can Participate?

Students at the following levels are eligible to participate in this program:

  • Freshmen
  • Sophomores
  • Juniors
  • Seniors
  • Graduate Students

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Academic Program and Course Information

This course introduces you to human-induce and natural changes that are occurring in the Himalaya. In terms of learning objectives, you should by the end of the course be able to:

i)   Describe the physical, socio-economic and political settings of the Indian Himalaya 
ii)   Explain the factors that result in the formation of high mountains within a continental-continental collision zone (mountain belt).
iii)   Outline the main environmental hazards in the Himalaya 
iv)   Describe the main human impacts on Himalayan environments 
v)   Discuss threats to human physiology from environmental forces in extreme environments
vi)   List and explain the constrains for designing habitats/structures in extreme environments Plan and implement a successful field research expedition to a high mountain region with a team
vii)   Communicate with other disciplines to solve complex environmental/design problems in situ 
viii)   Integrate disciplinary knowledge to cross-disciplinary learning

All students in this program are required to enroll in GEOL6021 for 3 credits for Spring 2018.
Tuition and fees are assessed based on total enrolled hours for a term. This includes the hours associated with the study abroad class. Students who enroll for more than 18 hours for the term will be assessed additional per credit hour fees over and above the flat fees associated with being enrolled full-time (for most students full-time is 12-18 hours).
Co-op students selected to participate in this program are required to enroll in the course during the designated term, regardless of when the student may be on co-op.  If the course is during a term when the student is on co-op, tuition and fees will be charged per a student’s residency status and college, based on the part-time per credit hour rate.
A student can see his/her full and part time tuition rates and college fees here (use left-side navigation menu to click into the relevant academic year):

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Lewis Owen's research and teaching focuses on understanding the nature and dynamics of environmental and landscape change, environmental geology and natural hazards in high mountains. He has undertaken at least one field research in the high mountains of the Himalaya and Tibet every year for the past 30 years. He has also undertaken research in other regions, including the American Midwest, Egypt, Venezuela, Morocco, Trinidad, Thailand, Yemen, Azerbaijan and the United Kingdom. He is the directors of two geologic dating laboratories and is head of the department of geology.

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Living Arrangements

We will stay in small hotels and will camp during our fieldwork. The hotels are very basic, but they will have showers and electricity. We will have tented toilets at camp, but washing facilities will in local glacier streams. We will hire the help of local people to cook at the camp, and the food will be basic vegetarian including mainly rice dishes, curried vegetables, noodles, soup and local bread. We will have a dinning and cook tent.

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Getting There

We will fly out of CVG and into Delhi on July 30 and August 16. Details of flights will be given once we have a full enrollment. But please see the detailed information booklet in part one of this section to see what we did last time we ran this trip.

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Program Costs 

2018 Program Cost:  $3500

Included in Program Cost:

  • Housing / accommodations
  • International airfare
  • Some meals (All breakfasts included)
  • In-country transportation for program-planned activities
  • Cultural excursions/entrance fees
  • International emergency and evacuation insurance
  • Professional translator and private guides
  • Discussions with Guest Lecturers
 Not Included in Program Cost:
  • Tuition – (at your standard tuition rate)
  • Passport application/renewal fees (~$165)
  • Recommended/required immunization/vaccination fees (~$)
  • Some meals (~$)
  • Personal spending/souvenirs (~$)
  • Visa application/processing fees (~$)
  • ISIC Card ($25)

This program has been awarded a $600 UC International Scholarship (matriculated, UC degree-seeking students only).  UC International scholarship requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Note that both program charges and UC International scholarship will be posted separately on a student’s OneStop bill on the semester in which the course for the study abroad experience is given.  Program charges are posted shortly after students commit to the program through the online application process.  Scholarships are posted after all students 1) register for the course connected to the study abroad experience, and 2) complete all study abroad online paperwork.

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UC Financial Aid and Scholarships

For full details on using your financial aid to help pay for your study abroad experience, you should contact UC Financial Aid.

UC International awarded over $800,000 in student scholarships last year. Please refer to the UC International webpage for more information.

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Passports and Visas

A valid passport is essential to your international travel and study abroad. If you are planning to travel abroad, it's best to apply for a passport now as processing times may vary. Please see for more information.

In order to obtain country-specific visa instructions and resources, refer to your host country’s embassy web page. One way to access this information is via the US Department of State’s webpage at:

UC International is happy to guide UC faculty, staff and students to possible resources about visas for study abroad. Although, applying for the necessary visa for travel is the responsibility of the individual UC traveler. Entry requirements change frequently, and we advise you to pay close attention to consular updates. It is your responsibility to know and address the requirements for your host study abroad destination.

Applying for a visa can be a complicated process. Some UC travelers choose a third party to assist with this process, for example Travisa or A Briggs (mention UC for a possible discount).

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Health and Safety Abroad

UC International is committed to student and faculty safety while abroad. The following are a few resources for travel abroad.

UC faculty, students and staff are responsible for their own health and safety abroad. The US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and International SOS are excellent resources for country specific information.

UC partners with International SOS medical and security advice. UC code is 11BCAS000010

UC students, faculty and staff can utilize International SOS in the following ways:
  • Sign up to receive email alerts for medical and security information, customizable to various locations abroad
  • Read about travel health information with medical advice, food and water safety, and cultural tips
  • Explore travel security with personal safety tips and travel risk ratings for locations abroad

UC faculty, students and staff traveling abroad should register their travel abroad through the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of an emergency abroad.

All UC students participating in a University of Cincinnati sanctioned or funded international travel program are required to purchase and maintain insurance while abroad. UC International partners with CISI to provide insurance for UC students.

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Contacts for More Information

Lewis Owen
Department of Geology
Room 500, Geology/Physics Building
College of Arts and Sciences
tel: 556-64203

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