Undergraduate Programs

Trip Courses

North Park’s Biology Department believes that scientific learning happens as much in the real world as in the lab. Faculty have developed these courses that take students all over the world. Not all are offered each year, but you’ll have the opportunity to participate in several throughout your major. Your major advisor will help you pick the trip course experience that is right for you and your goals.

Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica

Travel with Professor Al Bjorkman to Costa Rica over spring break to study ecosystems ranging from Lowland Pacific Rainforest to Cloud Forest, and volcanoes to Mangrove wetlands. You’ll travel by bus, foot, and boat, learning about its land and culture with a world-class commitment to conservation and eco-tourism.

Marine Biology of Bahamas

Professor Linda Vick leads this exploration of the clear, warm oceanic waters of the Bahamas. You’ll live at a marine biological station for a more than a week of study, snorkeling amidst the intense life of the coral reef to study its rich life; you’ll observe an iguana population on land, and learn about local culture and history.

Prairie and Ranch Resources

Explore the Midwest’s agriculture with Professor Al Bjorkman during this travel course to the mid-grass prairies of South Dakota. Surrounded by thousands of acres of virgin prairie, you’ll learn about sustainable methods of food production by studying animal agriculture, community-supported agriculture, large-scale organic and modern row cropping, prairie grass-based beef ranching, and meat production facilities.

Trail of Tears

Join Professor Linda Vick on a journey from Chicago to the the southern Appalachians, to northern Georgia and along the northern route of the Trail of Tears. You’ll meet with representatives of the Cherokee Nation, learning about culture, history, and social context while making connections to contemporary themes of social justice and your environmental surroundings.

Watershed Biology: Ethiopia Trip

Examine the fundamentals of watershed biology with a particular focus on the water issues of the developing world, culminating in a three-week trip to Ethiopia. Professor Linda Vick will accompany you to visit local villages and see first-hand the connections between environmental, social, and health issues.

Ecology of the Boreal Forest Wilderness Canoe Trip

Join professors Al Bjorkman and John Hjelm for eight days of wilderness canoe travel in Ontario, Canada. You’ll experience a landscape where nature is dominant and human activity is minimal while you navigate pristine waters, hear wolves howl, and feast on fresh fish every day. This course integrates biological exploration with intense physical activity.

Culture and Ecology of Asia: Taiwan

Explore the interaction of ecology and culture through experiential learning in Taiwan. The fast development of this nation has impacted their fragile ecosystem and society. Join professors Linda Vick and Tim Lin to visit important cultural areas as well as natural sites, from coastal plains to mountain highland.