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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Biology, Environmental Policy, Environmental Science Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Marine Mammalogy in New Zealand

New Zealand, Summer 2020


Program Overview

Want to go to the best place on the planet to learn about marine mammals? To a place where you can see sperm whales, humpback whales, right whales, NINE species of dolphins (including THE KILLER WHALE), and four species of seals/sea lions! To a place where you can explore these species today (weekly on the water) and in their past (fossil beds). To a place where you can get on the ground experience in the field ranging from how to monitor behavior to how to look for causes of death when animals strand? Then sign up now for Marine Mammals in New Zealand now!

Program Highlights: 

  • We will study all aspects of all marine mammals, including evolution, classification, anatomy/physiology, behavior and conservation.
  • Attend lectures, immersing you in what is currently known about these species, and then traveling to the field to learn about them in person (every week on the water).
  • One week we will travel around the island, visiting other research labs, a fossil bed and other hot spots for marine mammal species.
  • Opportunities during regular weeks may also include visits from local conservation managers and if stranding’s occur, the chance to view and participate in necropsies.


All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.

Prerequisites: those without science background may be able to take the course given approval from the instructor


6 Credits

Tentative Course Options

Undergraduate credits:
  • EVPP
  • BIOL

Tentative Program Dates: 

July 19 - August 14, 2020 (subject to change)


Tentative Itinerary 

19-Jul-20 Arrive Christchurch
20-Jul-20 Lecture (Evolution, and classification)
21-Jul-20 Travel and visit University Otago and Dundedin (sea lions)
22-Jul-20 Travel to fossil site (Wataki Valley) 
23-Jul-20 Travel to Southern tip of island then Milford Sound
24-Jul-20 On water in Milford Sound
25-Jul-20 Travel to Fox Glacier area (half way point on way home)
26-Jul-20 Travel to Christchurch
27-Jul-20 Lecture (Anatomy/Physiology)
28-Jul-20 Lecture (Sound)
29-Jul-20 Lecture
30-Jul-20 Kaikoura Bay Trip (Sperm whales)
31-Jul-20 FREE
1-Aug-20 FREE
2-Aug-20 FREE
3-Aug-20 Midterm, then lecture (Conservation)
4-Aug-20 Lecture (Conservation)
5-Aug-20 Kaikoura Bay Trip (Dolphins)
6-Aug-20 Lecture (Conservation)
7-Aug-20 FREE
8-Aug-20 FREE
9-Aug-20 FREE
10-Aug-20 on water trip (Maui dolphins) Akaroa
11-Aug-20 Lecture (Behavior)
12-Aug-20 Lecture (Behavior)
13-Aug-20 Final Exam
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2020: $4,550

Included: Tuition for 6 credits, accommodations, entrance fees/tours/guides as described in itinerary, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Participants must arrange their own airfare, once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 22, 2020. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.​

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 19, 2020. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 8, 2020


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.Application requirements:* 

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  Jennifer Lewis
Name Jennifer Lewis

GEO Program Administrator


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 03/08/2020 ** Rolling Admission 07/19/2020 08/14/2020
NOTE: Date are subject to slightly change.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.