Academic Director: Prof. Michael Gormally

Field Director: Elaine O'Riordan

Course Overview 

This new and exciting summer school course offers students practical experience of the natural environment in the west of Ireland. It provides students with survey skills to identify natural resources, and develops their skills to evaluate the sustainable use and conservation of Ireland’s ecological resources.

County Galway, on Ireland’s Atlantic West Coast is a land of contrasts. Influenced by its oceanic climate, glacial history, hydrology, geology and human habitation, it has developed a variety of beautiful landscapes with unique and fascinating habitats and species. From the fertile rocks of the Burren karst limestone, to the raised bogs of the midlands, the sheer cliffs of the Aran Islands to the salt marshes of Galway Bay, there is a wealth of natural history to explore.

This course is largely field-based, and students will visit a variety of landscapes to learn about the environment, habitats and species of the region. The course adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to studying ecology so the learners engage with all aspects of how these ecosystems are created and maintained through natural processes and anthropogenic activity. It will also consider conservation and sustainability issues and how a sound understanding of these ecological processes is used to combat the challenges facing the environment.

The summer school will consist of two modules, each two weeks in duration, which will focus on a selection of habitat types in the east and west of the county. The modules may be taken individually as a two week course or together as a comprehensive four week course.

The Ecology course handbook will be available in March for download at the bottom of this page. 

Course Modules

Module 1: SS1152 Living Landscapes of the Burren and East County Galway (6 ECTS/3 Semester Credits)

Focusing on the habitats and species of the Burren and East County Galway including limestone pavement, turloughs and the raised bogs as well as the special coastal habitats of County Galway.

Module 2: SS1151 Living Landscapes of Connemara and Joyce Country (6 ECTS/3 Semester Credits)

Focusing on Connemara, Lough Corrib and Joyce Country and examining the ecology and conservation of blanket bogs, uplands and freshwater habitats of County Galway.


Module 1: arrival Sunday, 14 June, 2020 (class commences Monday, 15 June) - departure Saturday, 27 June, 2020

Module 2: arrival 28 June 2020 (class commences Monday, 29 June) - departure Saturday, 131July, 2020

Tuition & Accommodation Costs

Tuition: €1,500 (per module)

Accommodation: €500 – Student Residences (without breakfast - single occupancy) (per module)


NUI Galway campus-based summer courses have been cancelled for summer 2020. For details on our alternative online summer course options, click here.

Undergraduate students should have completed at least one full year at university or college level before being admitted to the programme and are undertaking any Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Botany, Zoology, Natural History or Natural Heritage course. Students should also have attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent).

Postgraduate students with an interest in the subject area are also welcome to apply. They will have an extra assignment to complete to obtain the course credits.

Students should have a reasonable level of fitness and be prepared for field trips most days on the course. This may involve short hikes over trails and uneven surfaces.

Required documentation 

  • A copy of your birth certificate or passport
  • A digital image/passport photo for your student identity card (headshot)
  • An official transcript of examination results


Students enrolled at IEE Generation Study Abroad Commitment Partners in the United States, may apply for a Generation Study Abroad Scholarship worth €500. Three scholarships are available for this programme.

In order to be considered for this scholarship, students must be:

  • Registered at a Generation Study Abroad partner College or University in the United States;
  • Studying an Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Botany, Zoology, Natural History or Natural Heritage course at their home institution;
  • Meet the minimum entry requirements of a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent);

How to apply for the Scholarship

Applications for Ecology; Living Landscapes in the West of Ireland should be made using the online application form. 

Students are required to submit the following additional documentation for the scholarship application by emailing them to and referencing the email Generation Study Abroad Application

  • Personal statement (500 words) which outlines the student’s motivation and commitment to the study abroad experience and how the scholarship will benefit their studies or research in the field of Ecology;
  • Academic reference: applicants should submit a reference from an academic familiar with their academic record.

Closing date for applications is 7 May, 2020.

Further Information

Elaine O'Riordan
Tel: +353 91 493572


Programme Administrator
International Summer School Programme
NUI Galway
Tel: +353 91 495442




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