Join us on our exploration of climate change in Vietnam, as we visit its cities, river delta, and coastal areas. Lively floating markets, quiet riverside villages, and the big city of Ho Chi Minh — the Mekong Delta is the captivating backdrop for this study of climate change.

The W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, the Mansfield Center, and the Environmental Studies Department have created a unique study abroad opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and experience of climate change in natural ecosystems in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. The field-based, experiential classes focus on climate change impacts and adaptation as well as the culture, ecology, economy and history of Vietnam. The program will be led by Environmental Studies professor Dr. Dan Spencer and is suitable for students of all backgrounds and majors.

The program has two courses taught for both undergraduate credit at the 400-level and graduate credit at the 500-level:

ENST 427/514: Social Issues: The Mekong Delta, 3 cr.
An introduction to the history, cultures, economy and environment of Vietnam, with particular emphasis on the Mekong Delta region. This course includes a survey of:

  • The people, history and socio-economy of Vietnam.
  • Historical climate, natural ecosystems and land use in the Mekong Delta.
  • Ecology of large floodplain rivers.
  • Human impacts on the Mekong Delta and how the Delta’s ecosystems have affected the people.
  • Livelihoods of people living in the Delta.
  • Past and present Vietnamese government policies related to the Mekong Delta.
  • Perceptions and attitudes that local people have about their environment.
  • International management of the Mekong River: Laos, Cambodia and China.

ENST 437/516: Climate Change: Mekong Delta, 3 cr.
An analysis of potential threats and opportunities to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change upon the ecosystems and people of the Mekong Delta, including:

  • Potential changes in climate and sea level around the Mekong Delta.
  • Ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change in the Mekong Delta
  • Economically efficient policies and strategies 
    for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change on livelihoods, conservation of the environment, protection of infrastructure and urban development.
  • Contrast with North American climate change issues and policy options
  • Youth leadership and involvement with climate change education and advocacy

View a sample itinerary from the 2016/17 course (pdf)

About the instructor Dr. Dan Spencer

Read more about past programs on their blog: Deep in the Delta: Stories from Vietnam

Learn more about how women, especially in poorer countries, are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: Video: Climate Change Impacts on Women in Vietnam

Registration Information

Register before May 1, 2017, and receive a $500 Early Bird Discount off of the program fee! The program cost with the Early Bird Discount is $3,950. The program cost for participants who apply after May 1, 2017 is $4,450. Program cost includes:

  • tuition for 6 upper-division credits (with out-of-state students paying the same as in-state students), and
  • a program fee (which covers accommodation at hostels and motels, group activities and excursions, emergency and international health insurance, in-country transportation, and some meals).

Credits will appear as part of your Spring 2018 registration and most Spring 2018 financial aid can apply to the program.

There is no group airfare, but Dr. Spencer's itinerary will be provided for those who want to travel with him internationally. 

We accept students on a rolling basis beginning March 1, 2017. The final application deadline is October 25, 2017. 

Apply Now

Dec. 27, 2017 - Jan. 19, 2018

Application deadline:
Oct. 25, 2017

View a sample program itinerary (pdf)

Read more about past programs on their blog: Deep in the Delta: Stories from Vietnam