Iceland: Field Study of Volcanic and Glacial Processes CLOSED


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  • Summer 2 Semester - July 3- August 5, 2015 (dates subject to change)

Application Deadline

  • Summer 2 Semester - Priority Deadline: November 15, 2014

Final deadline for Dialogue of Civilization programs is February 1st. Program accepting applications until filled and is subject to close at any time.


Faculty Leader: Mal Hill (
Study Abroad Coordinator: TBD (
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

Not applicable.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Recommended 2.5 GPA.
  • Some Environmental Science/geology coursework is 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: $10,634

DOC Fee: $ 2,000

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


For all but 5 nights, we stay at a variety of campgrounds at different locations around Iceland.  We schedule a stay of 5 nights in a hostel or in student accommodations at a college in northern Iceland, depending on availability of space.  Participants provide their own sleeping bag, tent, and outdoor gear.



  • 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