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  • Locations: Tucson, United States
  • Program Terms: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 02/28/2019 ** Rolling Admission 05/22/2019 06/06/2019

** 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.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Short Term Faculty Directed Area of Study: Biology (BIO)
Minimum Required GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Housing Options: Other Language Courses Offered: No
Click here for a definition of this term Internship or Service Learning: None College Designation: CNAS
Click here for a definition of this term Open to Non-MSU Student: Yes MSU Registrar's Term: Spring
Program Description:
NM Header


This class will include an extended field trip to the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin deserts in SW USA.  In addition to the opportunity to observe and compare the fascinating plants, animals, geography/geology, and cultures of these deserts, students will participate in independent research projects that compare the four deserts.

Program Fee: $970

Program Fee Includes:

  • Accommodations
  • International Programs Academic Fee
  • Transportation
  • All Meals
Program Fee Excludes:
  • In-state tuition for the course(s) itself
  • Books and Supplies 
  • Souvenirs & other personal purchases (e.g. coffee, clothing, etc.)
Course(s) Offered:
  • BIO 197 (3)
  • BIO 527 (3)
  • BIO 627 (3) 
Maximum Credit Hours: 3

Tom Tomasi
Professor - Biology Department


Pre-Departure Meeting Dates Pre-Departure Meeting Topic
May 21 INTRODUCTION: Basic trip schedule/plan
Safety / Dangers        
-Climatic: Dehydration, sunburn
-Biological:  Poisonous reptiles, poisonous inverts, plants
Personal equipment: What to bring and not bring
Menu/Diets:  Needs/preferences
Reading Assignment
Possible projects
May 22 DESERTS: 
Video of Sonoran Desert
What makes the four deserts different (abiotic)
Catching/handling animals
-mammals (rodents, bats)
-Herps:  (poisonous, nonpoisonous)
Community structure
Species Lists due
Last minute details
Program Itinerary   
May 22 Pack vehicles in morning.  Leave at 8 PM (15 hr driving), drive towards Chihuahuan Desert site stopping at Carlsbad NM for a few hours.  
May 23 Arrive and make camp.  Explore cultural environment; set collecting equip. 
May 24 Collect data, analyze community structure. [journal check]
May 25 Pick up collecting equip, break camp. Drive to Tucson (7 hr);   make camp & meet w/ Dr. Bob Smith. 
May 26 Visit Arizona/Sonoran Desert Museum (8:00 am); set collecting equipment  near camp: analyze community structure
May 27 Collect data;  drive up Mt Lemmon
May 28 Collect data, Break camp, drive to Joshua Tree National Forest in southern California (8 hr)
May 29 Break camp, drive to Zzyzx California (4 hr),  make camp, set “unofficial” collecting equip. R & R ; [journal check]
May 30 Pick up collecting equip, break camp. Drive to Beaver Dam Wash  via Las Vegas (6 h); Set out collecting equip.
May 31 Collect data, analyze community structure
June 1 Collect data; visit Zion National Park
June 2 Break camp. Drive to Great Basin Desert site in western Utah (6 hr); Set out collecting equip.
June 3 Collect data, analyze community structure, (day trip to Great Basin National Park, NV).
June 4 Pick up collecting equip, break camp. Drive to S Colorado (11 hr),  make camp
June 5 Compile & analyze data from four deserts;  [journal check]  [scientific reporting]
R & R
June 6 Break camp, head for home (16 hr)
Post-Program Meetings Topic
TBD- Optional Data analysis with Minitab software
Graphing with Sigmaplot 
TBD- Mandatory Oral Presentations
Written reports due
Post-trip party / picnic
Class evaluation

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Financial Aid and scholarships are only available to currently enrolled MSU students. If you are a visiting student from another institution, you will need to work with your home institution Financial Aid Office to identify any available aid.

The seven colleges at Missouri State University are pleased to announce their respective Study Away Scholarships. A scholarship fund has been established by MSU’s President, International Programs, and the respective college to assist students with their study abroad. Search available college scholarships here!

Other Financial Aid:
Study Away Programs works closely with the Office of Financial Aid to make funding readily available for our study away students.  Before students can schedule an appointment with Financial Aid, you must submit an approved STFD Budget Worksheet to Study Away Programs.

Study Away students may be able to use their institutional aid, grants, or loans for their study abroad.  Students are encouraged to meet with Financial Aid as soon as possible to plan appropriately for their time abroad.  Please request a Study Away Financial Aid Counselor when making an appointment.


Billing & Procedures

  • Tuition fees are not included in the program fee and will be charged to your University account separately and will be subject to MSU's billing and payment policies.
  • The program fee will be billed within approximately one week of the application deadline.  This fee includes the International Programs Academic Experience Fee. 
  • The program fee is due in full according to the standard program payment deadline (please refer to the "Financial Responsibility, Cancellation, and Withdrawal Policy" signature document). If a student is planning on financial aid to cover some or all program costs, the student must provide documentation to Study Away at least two weeks prior to the program payment deadline.
    • Students who have not paid the MSU portion of the program fee will be withdrawn from the program and dropped from the course.
  • MSU students will be billed through their University accounts.
  • Non-MSU students and program guests must pay through the Study Away storefront.
Cancellation & Refund Policies
  • If a student withdraws from the program, the participant will be liable for 15% of the total program fee, the International Programs Academic Experience Fee, and any non-refundable purchases made on the participant's behalf. 
  • When the program begins, no refunds will be issued under any circumstances.

All withdrawals must be complete the STFD Program Withdrawal Form with the Program Director's signature to Study Away Programs, Plaster Student Union 209.