Interested in pursuing a degree in France? Learn more about IAU's degree-granting branch, The American College of the Mediterranean

Bachelor's and Master's Programs

Study Abroad - Mediterranean Ecology

Not scheduled to run in January 2020. Students are encouraged to apply for any of IAU’s other J-Term seminars.


December 28, 2019 - January 14, 2020

The Mediterranean Basin is the largest example of the Mediterranean biome, which is also found in parts of California, Chili, the Cape Region in South Africa, and southwest Australia.  Although rich in history, the Mediterranean Basin is relatively small, covering only 1.5% of global land area, but it hosts almost 25 thousand plant species, about 15% of all known plant species on earth, of which over 50% are endemic. Little wonder then that this fascinating biodiversity hotspot attracts the attention of scientists and policy-makers alike, and its conservation is a top priority.   

Throughout this course, students will examine the extent, the origins, and the drivers of today’s Mediterranean biodiversity and review some of the most recent studies about its current situation.  Students will thoroughly study how the eco-geographical and environmental conditions of the region contribute to the geopolitical realities of today.  Students will also identify the most prominent threats to the future of Mediterranean biodiversity including human-derived consequences of warfare, urbanization, deforestation, desertification, and intensive agriculture in addition to the projected consequences of the slow onset of global climate change. 

This course involves in-class lectures, field trips, and meetings with political actors from local and international organizations. The course is tailored to general science students, which assumes a minimum knowledge of fundamental concepts in ecology, environmental science, earth science, biology, or any other equivalent natural science. 

Students can choose one of the following courses:

  • Biology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
  • Ecology 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin
  • Environmental Science 365: Biodiversity and Conservation Politics in the Mediterranean Basin

Sites visited include:

  • France: Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nice, Frioul Islands
  • SpainBarcelona

View the 2020 itinerary here! Please note, the schedule is tentative and subject to change. 

About the Professor

Dr. Mohammad Hassouna is a cross-disciplinary environmental scientist, who joined IAU in January 2014. Currently, he teaches Mediterranean Ecology, Principles of Wine Science, and Global Environmental Politics. He previously worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Aix-Marseille (France) and at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and served as a senior consultant for the Geneva-based international NGO Zoï Environment Network.  Dr. Hassouna holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Aix-Marseille, a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Birzeit (Palestine), and a M.Sc. in Populations’ Biology and Ecosystems Management from the University of Le Havre (France). He is fluent in English and French and a native Arabic speaker.

Program Fees

January 2020: $5,845

All program fees include t
uition for 3 credits, lodging, insurance, entrance fees to all museums and guest lecture venues, Intra-European transportation to and from each city, breakfast daily and some dinners.

Students who enroll in a January Term Seminar and the spring semester in Aix-en-Provence consecutively are eligible to receive a $2,000 grant credited to their spring semester invoice. In order to be eligible to receive the grant, students must participate in the Early Start Program during the week between the end of the January Term Seminar and the start of the spring semester. The Early Start Program allows students to move in with their French hosts a week before the semester begins, receive French language instruction, and participate in local cultural activities! Visit IAU's Scholarship website for additional details.