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New Zealand: Earth Systems in Auckland or Christchurch

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Earth Systems Quick Facts

Language of Instruction

Fields of Study
Biological studies, ecology, environmental science, geography, geology, policy and economics.

Host Institutions
University of Auckland
University of Canterbury (in Christchurch)
Frontiers Abroad

University housing

Program Dates
Spring semester: mid-January to late June.

Faculty Liaison
Rick Hazlett

New Zealand comprises two large islands, North Island and South Island, as well as many smaller islands. The indigenous Maori have named the country Aotearoa which is often translated into English as "The Land of the Long White Cloud." New Zealand offers a very dramatic and diverse landscape, including towering snowcapped peaks and active volcanoes. The islands' flora and fauna are equally extraordinary.

Auckland is New Zealand's largest city, located on the North Island. The majority of the 1.3 million Auckland inhabitants are of British descent, but substantial Maori, Pacific Islander, and Asian communities also exist. Many volcanoes or volcanic remains surround the city. Auckland is sandwiched between two harbors to the north and south and is often referred to as the "City of Sails" due to the yachts and sailboats that pepper the seascape. While in Auckland, one should take advantage of the art galleries, museums, nature parks, and cricket and rugby matches.

Christchurch is the South Island's largest city with about 370,000 inhabitants. A short distance from both the snowcapped Alps and the Pacific coastline, Christchurch is in an ideal location for the outdoor enthusiast. Lovers of art will also appreciate the city's thriving art scene. Christchurch boasts many beautiful parks, including a free botanical garden, that are inviting to walkers and joggers, or one may prefer to sit along the Avon river and watch the water flow on by.

The Frontiers Abroad program offers students a unique opportunity in New Zealand. The program begins with a five-week field component around the Cook Islands and the North Island of New Zealand in which students study marine ecology, volcanoes, geothermal energy, natural and human impacts on the environment, and Maori perspectives on natural resources, among other subjects. Following the field camp, students enroll full-time at either the University of Auckland in the School of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science, or the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, and take their courses with Kiwi students.

Academic Program

Before classes begin at the university, students take part in a five week-long field component that spends one week in the Cook Islands and the remaining time in the North Island’s Central Volcanic Plateau and Bay of Plenty. This field component is divided into several modules that combine field studies with visits to coastal habitats, geothermal power plants, hydro-power schemes, paper mills, and conservation and environmental agencies. Once the university semester begins, students continue with research they initiated during the field camp. The field and research components are worth 1 Pomona credit.

Students then choose three courses from either the University of Auckland's School of Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science, or the University of Canterbury's academic departments. Pomona requires students to take a humanities or social science course with New Zealand content. Each university course is worth 1 Pomona credit.

Living Arrangements

During the field component, students camp or stay in mountain lodges. During the semester, students are placed in university housing close to campus.

Number of Students

Approximately 3 Pomona students; maximum total program enrollment 25 per semester.


9.0 GPA. Students should have a demonstrated academic interest in human and natural environments. Background in physical and biological sciences recommended. Students should have an advising session with an EA faculty member or the faculty liaison. At least one letter of recommendation must be written by an EA faculty member.

Internet Link

Study Abroad