A Unique Opportunity for 10 Undergraduates

Doing research in China is a genuinely unique opportunity to explore a country in depth. Each summer, we run a field course in ecological genetics in China. We travel throughout China, to areas where tourists rarely venture; in past years we have visited Tibet, Xinjiang, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. And since we are supported by NSF, this opportunity is available to 10 U.S. undergraduates at very low cost! We will select at least ten students each year from a nationwide competition. The application for spring/summer 2013 is available here.

Of course, students will need to be prepared to take full advantage of this unique experience. Each spring semester, undergraduates enroll at the University of Georgia and take 3 courses (12 credit hours): CHNS 1008: "Intensive Elementary Mandarin Chinese" and CHNS 1009: "Chinese Culture through Language." Fundamentals of spoken and written Chinese will be taught by Dr. Karin Myhre. The course will be designed to provide basic language and cultural skills. Although we do not expect students to acquire deep language skills in one semester, we will be able to provide students sufficient grounding in language and culture that once in China they will be able to negotiate basic situations.

In addition, we will teach a lab course, GENE 4800L: "Ecological Genetics of Invasive Species." Here, students will learn techniques that we will apply to the study of a target invasive species.

All these courses are taught by the PIRE faculty: class size is small and students receive focused attention.

Selected students must be enrolled at UGA for the semester to participate in the courses. For non-UGA students, the University has a special transient student status that easily allows this enrollment. You will receive a transcript for all academic work, although you should check with your academic adviser to make sure that such credit wil transfer to your home university. The University of Georgia has determined that all courses specifically taken as part of this program will charge in-state tuition. If you are an out-of-state student, you will pay in-state rates for all the summer courses, as well as for the 3 spring semester courses taken at UGA. We can also help arrange housing for non-UGA students for the spring semester.

You must successfully complete the mandatory courses to participate in the trip to China.

In May, we head to China for a 6-week experience where you will visit biological communities throughout China. Dr. Myhre will build on the language foundation established in the U.S. A U.S. faculty will always accompany students on these field trips, along with faculty and students from our partner institutions. Students may also join the lab of one of our Chinese senior personnel for a short internship.


Most costs in China are borne by our NSF grant! We pay to get you to China and we provide all travel (we will ask you to pay for minor expenses like subway/bus tokens), lodging and most meals (we will usually provide breakfast and dinner and you are often on your own for lunch; expect to pay anywhere from $1 - $10 per day for lunch and snacks) while in China. Of course, we won't cover personal expenses (health insurance, phone calls, souvenirs, etc.) and you'll need to pay for your passport and Chinese visa fees. Travel insurance provided by UGA is mandatory (it will cost you $1 per day). The most significant expense is tuition at UGA, although that may be a bargain compared to your home institution. During the summer, you must sign up for 12 credits from the University of Georgia: CHNS 2010: "Intensive Intermediate Chinese Language," CHNS 2020: Chinese Culture and Language," and GENE 4810L: "Field Studies in Ecological Genetics." You will have to pay (in-state) tuition for these courses, although the tuition may be covered by your HOPE scholarship if you are a GA resident.