Sustainability and City: Learning from Europe

Experience many of Europe’s sustainable initiatives.

Broaden your understanding of sustainability by learning various approaches used in France, Germany, and Spain, viewed through a geographical and urban studies lens. The cities in this program exhibit cutting-edge practices and innovations in sustainability, liveability, environmental management and reducing social inequality. You will see first-hand examples of sustainable communities, environmental management, land use and transit in this four-week immersive experience in Europe.

The itinerary focusses on regional sustainable development, sustainable urban design, environmental problems and policies, conservation and the significance of the historical development of the selected cities and regions. Get the most of your time in the field with a mix of direct observation, instruction and fieldwork in urban and rural landscapes.


Key information


France: ParisColmarAvignonMontpellier
ToulouseDordogne, and Bordeaux

Germany: Freiburg

Spain: San Sebastian





Spring/Summer 2020

Program type

Group Study

Application information

Application status



Application deadline

Deadline to apply for Spring 2020 February 14, 2020.

Limited spaces available -- apply today.

Additional requirements

This program is open to students from all majors. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

Info sessions

Thursday, February 6, 5:00pm, ES 319

Student Experience

Europe geog
image of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Have questions?

For program information, please contact Dr. Aaron Williams at or Dr. Byron Miller at

For application and registration support, please contact the Group Study Team at

Other useful links:

Program details

Questions about these courses should be directed to the program instructor.

Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

  1. Courses offered

    Students on this program are required to enroll in four courses. Students may choose any four from the courses listed below:

    GEOG 324: Society and Environmental Change (3 credits)

    GEOG 390: International Field Studies (3 credits)

    GEOG 434: Field Studies in Social and Economic Geography (3 credits)

    UBST 394: Overseas Field School in Sustainable Urbanism Part I: Sustainability and the City - Learning from Europe I (3 credits)

    GEOG 596: Directed Independent Study (3 credits)

  2. Prerequisites

     GEOG 324: consent of the department (antireq: GEOG 321)

    GEOG 390: consent of the department

    GEOG 434: consent of the department (antireq: GEOG 597.23)

    UBST 394: consent of the department 

    GEOG 596: consent of the department

  1. Pre-departure

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory pre-departure orientation
    May 1 – May 5, Calgary: On-campus international field studies preparation course


  2. In-field

    June 10, Calgary: Depart for Paris

    June 11 - 16: Paris, France

    June 17: Depart Paris, France for Freiburg, Germany

    June 17: Freiburg, Germany

    June 23 - 24: Colmar, France

    June 25 - 27: Avignon, France

    June 28 - July 1: Montpellier, France

    July 2 - 5: Toulouse, France

    July 6 - 8: Dordogne, France

    July 9 - 10: Bordeaux, France

    July 11 - 16: San Sebastian and Bilbao

    Click here for a detailed itinerary


  3. Post-field

    All assignments are due upon program completion unless alternative arrangements are made with instructors for GEOG 596.

  1. Costs

    The estimated cost of the Sustainability and City: Learning from Europe Group Study Program is $10,911. This includes tuition, airfare, field trips, local transportation, accommodations and meals. 

    For the full cost breakdown and payment deadlines, please see the program Student Cost Summary.

    Important information regarding deposit payments: Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits secure your space in the program and allows payment for logistical arrangements to be made in advance.


    2020/21 Tuition Fees:

    The following proposed rate increases are being shared in advance of their approval to help students plan their finances for the upcoming school year.

    The Government of Alberta recently lifted the tuition freeze that has been in place since 2014-15. As a result, tuition rates for Canadian (domestic) students will be permitted to increase by 7% annually in each the next three years . Tuition rates for international students will no longer be regulated. In response to this change, the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors will be reviewing proposals to increase tuition rates in January 2020. If approved, the following rate increases will apply for the 2020-21 academic year:

    • New domestic students: 7% increase to all tuition fees, except for undergraduate programs in engineering course-based graduate programs in engineering (MEng), public policy (MPP) and business administration (MBA) for which a 10% increase is being proposed.
    • New International students: 10% increase to tuition fees with the exception of course based graduate programs in engineering (MEng), public policy (MPP) and business administration (MBA) for which a 15% increase is being proposed.
    • Graduate thesis students: A new tuition structure that will even out program costs over the length of the program versus having higher costs in years one (Masters) or pre-candidacy (PhD)
    • All continuing students:  5% increase to tuition fees

    If approved, these rate increases will be in effect for the Spring 2020 term.

  2. Funding

    International Study Travel Grant: Students studying abroad may be eligible for the University of Calgary's International Study Travel Grant. For more information on eligibility, application details and deadlines please click here.

    New! Faculty of Arts Group Study Program (GSP) Scholarships (for GSP participants) and Faculty of Arts Student Study Abroad Scholarships (for other international programs) - up to 10 awards of $1000 each! Deadline to apply is March 31st.  Any queries about these scholarships should be directed to Faculty of Arts Associate Dean Gavin Cameron: 

    IDEAS Funding: Students in the Faculty of Science are encouraged to apply for IDEAS funding. For more information, please click here.


    Student loans: If you qualify for student loans, your program should qualify. We are able to provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program for funding purposes. Please email to request a letter.

    Please note that eligibility for student loans is determined by your loans provider. 

All students will stay at student appropriate, safe and clean accommodations.

This program is open to undergraduate students in good academic standing from all faculties.

Applications will be considered after your application and unofficial transcript have been received by Study Abroad.

  1. Statement of Purpose

    Please tell us why you want to study abroad, why you have selected this particular program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic objectives and/or complement your degree, how you plan to finance your program and why you should be selected.

    The Statement of Purpose is submitted within your online application (max 500 words).

    Note: Because the online application will time out after one hour, we recommend that you compose your statement of purpose in advance in Word to check for spelling, grammar and word count, and then paste it into the online application.

  2. Unofficial Transcript

    Download an unofficial transcript from your Student Centre and submit it by email to

    Click here for a step-by-step guide to access your unofficial transcript.

  3. Interview with an Instructor

    After your complete application has been received and reviewed by the instructors, you will be contacted by Dr. Aaron Williams to schedule an interview. Please watch your UCalgary email account and expect to be contacted within several business days of submitting all your documents to the Group Study Team. You can prepare for your interview by reviewing the interview questions provided here.

Please ensure that you have read the Group Study Program General FAQs thoroughly before applying.

Being present on in the cities we studied made theory tangible and pushed me beyond the course readings for a deeper, more insightful context that I never could have learned in a classroom.

Matthew Root

Past Participant

Getting started

Program-Specific Info Sessions

Info sessions are scheduled for every Group Study Program. Attending an info session is not required to apply, but strongly recommended as it will give you an opportunity to meet the instructor and learn more about the travel experience.

Please scroll up to the top of this page to view the info sessions for this program.

We also recommend watching Study Abroad 101 for general information.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this program, you can meet with one of our Group Study Advisors by emailing or booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Select #2, "Study Abroad Advising", to view available times.

Book an appointment

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how a Group Study Program might align with your degree.

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.