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Pandemic Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Minimum GPA: 2.75

Terms and Dates:

  • Academic Year 2019-20
  • Fall 2019
  • Spring 2020


Jessica Hawkey

Cornell Affiliations:

Agriculture and Life Sciences


Opportunity Description

Since 1954, CALS has offered their students unique opportunities to study abroad via the CALS Exchange program. CALS students are able integrate themselves into a partner university abroad, taking classes and living alongside degree-seeking students. The CALS Exchange programs are rooted in, and in many cases designed by, CALS faculty affiliated to an international academic institution or university department that complements your academic program. Students who have previously gone on exchange have found it to be a rewarding experience as it has added an international dimension to their degree, challenged them academically and facilitated the development of new skills, and enhanced their personal growth and self-confidence. 

This exchange program is recommended for undergraduate students majoring in Biology, Communication, Environment and Sustainability, Food Science, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Viticulture and Enology or Nutritional Sciences. Students in majors outside of those recommended may also be able to participate, depending on your interests and academic needs.

What is unique about this program?

Founded in 1911, University of Iceland is the largest university in the country with more than 75% the country’s higher education students matriculating. In the past century, University of Iceland has grown from a small civil servants’ school to a bustling modern university, offering instruction to 14,000 students in almost 400 programs spanning most fields of scholarship.

The university tries to offer courses and research opportunities which are unusual and in some cases unique to Iceland. Such resources include Icelandic census records dating back to 1703 as well as exceptionally complete genealogical data and climatological, glaciological, seismic and geothermal records. The University of Iceland also holds a leading role in sustainable energy and environmental research.

You can read more about this program on the University of Iceland website

What is unique about Reykjavik and Iceland?

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. 71.7% of all energy used in the Iceland is produced from the country’s own resources. Icelanders value literacy and hold the world record for number of books per capita. Icelandic language has been virtually unchanged for the past 1000 years. 13% of the country is covered by snowfields and glaciers.  

Reykjavik, the country's capital and largest city on the coast of Iceland, means “smoky bay” and is located only two degrees south of the Arctic Circle. Many think Reykjavik is constantly frozen, but average mid-winter temperatures are no lower than in Toronto, Canada or the Northeastern coast of the U.S. A quarter of the city area is devoted to open spaces. Geothermal energy is so inexpensive that in wintertime sidewalks in Reykjavik are heated! In addition, the city has many thermal pools and spas and many outdoor activities.


The University of Iceland cannot provide or guarantee housing. Housing can be very difficult to secure. You may not know if you have been assigned housing until a few weeks before you arrive and it is a good idea to have a back-up plan for temporary housing if needed.

The University of Iceland has provided a resource page to assist students in finding off campus housing. They have partnered with a couple of accommodation placement companies. We advise that you use the recommended companies provided by the university here. You are able to locate your own housing though private companies, however, be aware there has been instances of fraud. Be sure to do your research.

How do I apply?

Step One: Attend a CALS Study Abroad 101 Session
•  These meetings cover policies and factors to consider when selecting a program, the study abroad application and approval process, and other important information. You can find the schedule here.

Step Two: Meet with a CALS Exchange Advisor
•  The CALS exchange advisor meets personally with every student interested in going on an exchange. In this meeting, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have and the advisor will help you select the program that fits your interests best. Appointments can be made here.

Step Three:  Application
•  Apply for the CALS Exchange Program by clicking on the "Apply" button on this webpage. You can apply on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this webpage
•   As part of your application, you need to get the proposed courses you want to take abroad signed off by your major advisor AND a CALS advisor 

Step Four: Nomination
•  Once your application is complete, our office will contact you with next steps.

For additional information on this program please refer to the University of Iceland website.