Iceland: Field Study of Volcanic and Glacial Processes *CLOSED*


Program website not available Type:   |  Minimum GPA:
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  • Summer 2 Semester - July 2- August 5, 2014 (dates subject to change)

Application Deadline

  • Summer 2 Semester - Priority Deadline: November 15, 2013

Priority deadline is November 15th with a final deadline of January 26th. Program accepting applications until filled and is subject to close at any time.


Faculty Leader: Mal Hill (
Study Abroad Coordinator: Daisy Biddle (
Information Session: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:00-7:00PM Room 231 Forsyth Building
Monday, October 28, 2013 6:00-7:00PM Room 231 Forsyth Building
Term: Summer II
  • ENVR 5201 Geologic Field Seminar
  • ENVR 5202 Environmental Science Field Seminar Abroad


Iceland’s location on an active plate boundary (the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) and its location near the Arctic Circle makes it a great destination for environmental field study of young lava flows and volcanoes; older, uplifted and more deeply eroded rocks to the east and west sides of the active rifts; and study of both modern and ancient glacial processes.  Volcanic landforms and eruption styles differ, depending on whether magma erupts on land, beneath the ice, or flows into water, and we study examples that formed in each environment.  Glaciers erode the landscape, transport and deposit sediments, and melt gradually to form rivers (much of Iceland’s electricity derives from hydropower).  Sometimes, when lava erupts beneath a glacier, rapid melting of the base of the glacier forms disruptive, magma-induced floods (known as jökulhlaup).  In addition to focusing separately on volcanic and glacial processes, we will consider the ways that magma and groundwater interact to create geothermal energy; how magma and glaciers interact; and how Icelandic society is influenced by these and other environmental factors.  This is a field-based experience, and most days involve some or much hiking to get to and from the study area for that day.  We spend most nights in tents in campgrounds, and Iceland is known for having occasionally windy and rainy weather.  Interested students can contact Mal Hill ( in the Department of Marine & Environmental Sciences for additional information.


  •  ENVR 5201 Geologic Field Seminar
  • ENVR 5202 Environmental Science Field Seminar Abroad

Host University

Holar University College is in northern Iceland; we stay 5 nights at the college, subject to room availability.  Students attend if they wish to specialize in equine science, aquaculture, or tourism studies.  Classes do not run during the summer months, and student housing rooms are available for travelers during those times.  We can hike from the college as well as using the bus to travel to more distant study locations.

Eligibility Requirements

Minimum 2.5 GPA.

Some Environmental Science/geology coursework preferred, but students without prior course background in geology will be considered.  This trip involves substantial walking and hiking over varied terrain, so the ability to walk for 2-3 miles out and back to the bus is necessary.

Application Procedure

    • Online Dialogue of Civilizations application (available on OISP website and myNEU)
    • $500 non-refundable program deposit paid through NUPay.* Be sure to select the appropriate summer term.**
    • One copy of passport ID page – to be given directly to your faculty leader after acceptance.
    • 2-3 page essay answering the following questions (copy and pasted into online application):
    1. What are your personal and academic reasons for wishing to participate in this Dialogue of Civilizations program?
    2. How will the program further your academic and career goals?
    3. What is your previous travel and language experience, if any?
    4. What courses have you taken which are directly relevant to the program?

    *If you are not accepted into your Dialogue program, the $500 deposit will be credited to your student account.

    **Applications are not considered complete until deposit is received. This deposit will be applied to the full cost of the program.

    **Faculty may require additional information and/or interview (after application deadline)

Schedule Appointment →


Tuition: $10,195

DOC Fee: $2,000

Tuition and DOC Fee cover 8 Northeastern credits, round-trip airfare from Boston, housing for program duration, International SOS assistance, as well as some local transport, excursions and group meals.


Primarily we stay at campgrounds, with one 5-night stay in college housing at one location.  We prepare group meals to ensure that we stay on schedule each day.  Students can expect to find wi-fi access at some locations but not others, but keeping electronic gear charged can be a challenge in some parts of our study.  Laundry facilities are available in Reykjavik, Holar, and Hofn but the only option at other places we stay is to hand-wash and wait for items to dry on lines inside your tent.  All of the campgrounds have running hot water and showers, but at remote campsites in Iceland, there is usually a charge for hot water – 200 kronur for 2 minutes, for example.  There is an advantage in being speedy under those circumstances.


  • Reykjavik – campground at Laugarvegur near the city center, base camp for field study in the active volcanic belt on the Reykjanes Peninsula at the beginning, and again at the end of the study.
  • Kerlingarfjoll Range – campground in the interior desert, rhyolite volcanic activity
  • Holar College – dormitory accommodation in north Iceland, glacially eroded older lavas, coastal geology, environmental geology
  • Myvatn – campground in the active volcanic zone – Krafla caldera, Dettifoss
  • Egilsstadir – campground in east Iceland – East Fjords glacial erosion and coastal geology
  • Hofn – campground or hostel accommodation – glacier study
  • Skaftafell National Park – campground, glacier study
  • Skogar – campground, glacier/volcano study
  • Back to Reykjavik campground