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Wales Study Group

Cardiff University
Director spring 2020: Ann Jane Tierney, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

The Wales Study Group, established in 1984,  is intended for majors in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who wish to live and study abroad. Although the program is designed primarily juniors, sophomores in spring 2020 may also be considered.

The program is hosted at Cardiff University during the spring semester. The Colgate study group’s orientation is tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, 20 January 2020. The last final exam day is Friday, 14 June 2020 with the official program end date Saturday, 15 June, 2020.


The study group will be based at Cardiff University, which, with its student body of thirty thousand students, is the pre-eminent research university of Wales. Colgate students will register as non-matriculated students of Cardiff Universityand have access to all of the University’s academic and athletic facilities, including libraries, gymnasiums, and student union.

Wales is part of the United Kingdom and only in 1998 formed its own National Assembly. Its people consider Wales to be a separate and distinct nation; they are passionately conscious of their cultural heritage. While the dominant language of southern Wales is English, Wales is a bilingual nation. The Welsh language, a Celtic tongue, is alive and well as a second language and is strongly promoted in the Welsh educational system. Cardiff is an ideal locale for exploring this fascinating culture, serving as a center for the renaissance of Welsh language, literature, and national pride.

The city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has a population of approximately 350,000. The Welsh are justifiably proud of their artistic and cultural accomplishments, as exemplified by city theaters for opera, drama and ballet — the Welsh National Opera and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra are located in Cardiff — and by the Welsh National Museum. In addition, Cardiff University, which is located near the center of Cardiff in Cathays Park, maintains a number of musical and drama theaters. The principal sport of Wales is rugby, and Millennium Park, an internationally known rugby ground, is within walking distance of the University’s campus.


Students pose as prisoners in fake stockades

All students will enroll in four courses:  two elective courses (at least one normally must be in the student’s concentration) and in two required courses, which are designed specifically to reflect the study group’s unique location.

AHUM 360 - Welsh Culture (required Cardiff course taught by the Welsh Dept.)

This course examines Welsh literature, language, and culture, and in so doing, augments the cross-cultural experience that is an integral part of any study abroad program. The specific course content varies with the instructors, all of who are Cardiff University faculty. Before the semester begins, a member of the Welsh Department provides an introduction to the Welsh language. This course has a number of required field trips, including excursions to the Welsh Folk Museum, the Dylan Thomas home site, and the National Assembly of Wales.  This course has been approved for GE credit.

Director’s Course (required course)

Neuroethology (NEUR/BIOL/PSYC 385).  Neuroethology is a cross-disciplinary topic that is rooted in both neuroscience and ethology (the study of behavior in a natural context).  The goal of this field is to understand neural mechanisms at circuit, cellular, and molecular levels and relate neural activity to ecologically-relevant behavior of animals. Many types of behavior and a wide array of animals are studied, and the approach is comparative and evolutionary.  Students will delve into the neuroethological literature, examining the neural basis of animal communication, navigation, movement, sensory processing, feeding, aggression, and learning.  To take advantage of our location in Wales, we will include discussions of species native to the region and some fieldtrips will allow us to observe native wildlife. 

Two Elective Courses at Cardiff University

Of the two elective courses, at least one must be in the student’s concentration. Students must have satisfied the pre-requisites for the elective courses before departure for Wales. Students will consult with their academic departments and the Registrar’s Office to ensure that elective courses taken in Cardiff will be approved as Colgate credit.

University of Cardiff course pre-approval form


All NASC majors are encouraged to apply.

Field Trips

Students along the shores of a lake

Students are required to participate in all of the study group trips. Tentatively planned are several day trips for the Welsh Culture course and additional short trips to Caerphilly Castle and other historical sites.  The group will also take over-night trips to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and to the culturally distinct north of Wales and Anglesey.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see the Student Cost Estimate Sheets.


The study group application will open on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, and will close on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.  Applications are submitted online at Interviews of applicants will take place after that date and will be arranged by email. The faculty director will announce their admissions decisions on late December 2018.

Passports and Visas

Two students play with local children

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2020. All students participating on the Spring 2020 Wales Study

Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study and International Student Services, 101 McGregory (Center for International Programs), to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Wales Study Group program tentative dates:
20 January to 15 June, 2020

Informational Sessions

    Thursday, October 11 at 4:30pm in 101 Olin Hall and

    Friday, October 12 at 1:30pm in 101 Olin Hall

More Information

For more information, contact Professor Tierney, 204 Olin Hall, 315-228-7360, and

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