Galway, Ireland

University of Galway Summer: Ecology

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Program Overview


From Aran’s sheer cliffs to Burren karst limestone to the midland’s raised bogs, County Galway has no shortage of unique ecosystems to explore. It’s paradise for students majoring in ecology, environmental science, geography, botany, zoology, natural history, or natural heritage. Your Galway summer includes cultural exploration, too, with time to experience Gaelic traditions, connect with locals, and soak up the region’s rich history.  

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Summer: April 1

Minimum GPA


Credit load



Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option

Instruction language


Language prerequisites


Visa required?

Not in most cases. Learn more.

Apply Now


The University of Galway’s “Living Landscapes in the West of Ireland” summer program offers students an intensive, field-based experience in the natural environments found in and around Galway.  

County Galway, on Ireland’s Atlantic West Coast is a land of contrasts. Influenced by its oceanic climate, glacial history, hydrology, geology, and human habitation, it has developed a variety of beautiful landscapes with unique and fascinating habitats and species. From the fertile rocks of the Burren karst limestone, to the raised bogs of the midlands, the sheer cliffs of the Aran Islands to the salt marshes of Galway Bay, there is a wealth of natural history to explore. 

All students enroll in the same course, for which you will earn 6 U.S. semester credit hours. Through a multi-disciplinary approach to studying ecology, you will engage with all aspects of how these ecosystems are created and maintained through natural processes and anthropogenic activity. You will also consider conservation and sustainability issues and how a sound understanding of these ecological processes is used to combat the challenges facing the environment. 

Australia Outbound Program
Students enrolled at select Australia universities are invited to participate in this program. The program is open to students of all year levels and all fields. Students will earn 45 contact hours credit; the equivalent of one subject.

Please see the Australia Outbound term below in the Dates and Fees section for program fees and expected expenses in Australian dollars. For more information on the Australia Outbound program, please reach out to us at

You must be pursuing a major or minor in one of the following areas of study: ecology, environmental science, geography, botany, zoology, natural history, or natural heritage.



  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university. Students attending select Australia universities are also eligible.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) full-time year of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.
  • You must be pursuing a major or minor in one of the following areas of study: ecology, environmental science, geography, botany, zoology, natural history, or natural heritage. 

Recommendation Letter
Not required.


Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects classes taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.


Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are a selection of activities and excursions from previous terms; options may vary for your program. Due to the seasonal nature of many of program activities, we cannot guarantee a specific activity or excursion will be available in a given term or program.

  • Historic City Lane Walking Tour: A local guide takes us from the Spanish Arch through the old city to Eyre Square. Along the way, learn about the medieval roots, dramatic family feuds, and ties of the City of the Tribes, as well as its global political links. It’s a great way to go beyond a tourist’s perspective to understand the history and rich contemporary culture you’ll see throughout these bustling, bohemian lanes.
  • Gaelic Games Experience: Ireland’s national Gaelic games include hurling, Gaelic football, handball, and camogie—ancient sports not widely known outside Ireland. Try them yourself with guidance from local coaches.
  • Gaelic Match at Pearse Stadium: Join loyal local supporters and take in the atmosphere as we walk to the stadium, just outside the city center. Then catch the excitement as you cheer on a Galway football or hurling team.
  • Stand-up Comedy or City Festival: Galway is known for drawing comedians who want to try new material on a discerning audience, and for monthly festivals that often center on food, film, or theater.
  • Day Trip to Connemara and Kylemore Abbey: Hop on the bus to tour of the wilds of Connemara—a must see! Take in the rugged landscape on the way to the west coast’s best scenery. Stop at Kylemore Abbey and gardens for a tour of this majestic, rural castle and Benedictine monastery, built in the early 1920s by Pollacapal Lough. The landscape alone will take your breath away, inspiring you to explore the towns of Clifden and Lenaun again.

Housing and Meals


Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option




Most students live in University of Galway campus residences. When housing is tight, some live in off-campus student apartments arranged in partnership with private housing providers.   

Some housing options features extra amenities—like single bedrooms, private bathrooms, and on-site gyms—that warrant higher rent. Keep in mind that if you choose or are placed in more expensive housing, you’ll need to pay an additional fee to cover these costs. 

Sample housing 

Explore Corrib Village to see what your Galway home might be like:  

  • Location: On campus by the River Corrib, west of the academic buildings.  
  • Living space: Students live in apartments in groups of three to five. Students have single or double bedrooms, each with a twin bed, desk, pillow, duvet, and storage for each student. Apartments include two bathrooms (one with shower), living space, and a fully equipped kitchen. Students provide sheets and towels.  
  • Meals: No meal plan. Students prepare and eat their own meals, and often say cooking and sharing meals is a fun, social part of their day. 
  • Additional details: 24/7 security and reception. Convenience store. Laundry facilities. On-site maintenance. Free shuttle bus.  
  • Nearby: University sports facilities. Galway city center and Eyre Square. The Spanish Arch. Claddagh neighborhood. Galway Bay and Salthill beaches. Galway Cathedral. 

Dates and Fees

Term begins
Term ends
Program costs
Application deadline
Summer 2024
June 13, 2024
July 9, 2024
Summer 2024 (Australia Outbound)
June 13, 2024
July 9, 2024
$10,125 AUD

Get Started

Kristen Clark

Enrollment Counselor