Minimum GPA: 3.00

Terms and Dates:

  • Fall 2024
    September 3, 2024 to December 13, 2024
  • Spring 2025
    January 28, 2025 to May 9, 2025


Emily Dougherty

Cornell Affiliations:

Global Learning

Off-campus partner:



EcoQuest: SAFSA


This program does not have capacity constraints; no back-up is required.

Opportunity Description

EcoQuest semester programs provide an exciting opportunity to be part of a vibrant learning community for 15 weeks and to be involved in local research.

What is unique about this program?

EcoQuest's Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems program provides an exciting mix of academic rigor, place-based and hands-on learning.  This gives students great opportunities to engage with a variety of agribusinesses in New Zealand. 

The goals of this program include enabling students to gain an in-depth understanding of:

  • Global trends in agricultural sustainability and sustainable land management, challenges, and manifestations of these trends in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Political, economic, and cultural models of agriculture.
  • Situating agriculture in an ecosystems framework. Aligning land use with land use capability and landscape resilience in a manner compatible with existing and future ecological, social, cultural, economic, and political contexts.
  • A systems approach to socially and culturally durable, economically viable, and politically expedient pathways enabling a transition towards agricultural sustainability and ecological resilience at scale.

Students live and travel together with faculty and staff.  The program's home base is in Golden Bay for half the semester, and the group is away for a number of weeks on extended field trips.  Each week has a theme closely related to the particular land-use, agriculture practices and produce of the locality the group is in.  Field visits and the associated learning opportunities focus on topical, real-time case studies in a variety of production systems (including a variety of cropping systems) and agribusiness.

Student accommodation is in cottages, with 3-4 students per cottage. A large common room is the classroom and workspace.

What is unique about New Zealand?

New Zealand is a world leader in primary production, with agriculture its biggest industry. New Zealand dairy, honey, eggs, meat, wool, wine, fruit, vegetables, seafood and timber are exported around the globe. In addition, New Zealand exports its on-farm technology.  There is a strong focus on forward-thinking to meet the challenges of sustainable food production in an ever-more sophisticated market that demands high-quality, high-value, and diverse products as well as environmental accountability.  Biosecurity (pests and pathogens), water quality, maintaining biodiversity, and reducing emissions are key focus areas for innovation, research, and development, with a view to future-proofing existing and new production systems. 

How do I get more information about EcoQuest?

Academic Calendar

  • Fall semester: late-August - early December
  • Spring semester: late-January - early May

For specific dates, refer to EcoQuest's Academic Calendar

Things to Consider Before Applying

  • Review the information on the Education Abroad Office’s Get Started page for important considerations on academics and finances, and a guide to next steps.
  • Still have questions?  Visit the Get Advice page and learn how to connect with an Education Abroad Advisors.
  • Want to keep up to date with Cornellians Abroad? Follow Education Abroad on social media, @cornelliansabroad

How do I apply?

Applying to study abroad is a two-step process. You may complete both steps simultaneously, but the Cornell approval process must be complete before your program advisor in the Office of Global Learning can submit any approval or nomination to the program.

  1. For Cornell Approval, click on the "Apply" button on this webpage. Applications are approved by the Office of Global Learning on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this page.
  2. For Program Admission, complete an external application directly on the program’s webpage, using the link in the “Snapshot” section. (Note: This deadline may be in advance of the general Cornell deadline for approval. Many programs fill by rolling admission.)