What is the Middlebury School of the Environment?

  • A six-week environmental studies program for college undergraduates and recent graduates based in Yunnan Province, China, with dual sites in Kunming and Dali.
  • Three college courses (nine semester-hours of credit) offered within a specially designed immersive curriculum that includes core course work, electives, leadership training, and field experiences.
  • A program featuring nationally recognized faculty and environmental leaders from the US and China.

Map of China

Why study in Yunnan, China?

The Middlebury School of the Environment will have twin bases in Dali, a small city in the western reaches of western Yunnan province and the foothills of the Himilayas, and Kunming, the province’s capital and largest city. With locations in both places and the ability to move between these environments, the program will explore social-ecological systems along the wilderness, rural, urban interface. The landscapes of rural and urban Yunnan, along with unique conservation areas nearby, become our classroom as we seek to understand place in this unique environment.  As the world pivots to China, this country and its people illustrate the complexities of environmental problem solving in the 21st century. This program offers a hands-on experience exploring leadership and cultural diversity in sustainability initiatives.

What are the courses like?

Courses embrace complexity, emphasize hands-on practice and embody interdisciplinarity. All classes are in English, and a basic Mandarin workshop is required for students on-site. Our curriculum takes a systems lens to exploring the social-ecological relationships, environmental problems and sustainability initiatives. Within and alongside classes are a series of leadership development trainings that build applied skill in communication, collaboration, conflict management, effective decision making and multicultural competencies, among other topics. Electives offer in-depth training in specific skills and viewpoints that are central to the study of the environment.

Is there financial aid and merit scholarships?

Yes, we offer need-based and merit financial aid.  Apply early!

How can I apply?

The application process has a few simple steps, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the program is full or until visas can no longer be obtained. You will be notified of a decision within six weeks of submitting your application.

What do I need to know now that I am admitted?

Find out more information from the School of the Environment Handbook

What is the School of the Environment's Mission Statement?

The School of the Environment offers a curriculum that deeply engages students by focusing on fundamental characteristics of the study of the environment, including interdisciplinarity; global perspectives; independent, team, and field research; and leadership skills to help students become effective agents for positive environmental and social change.