Carolina's field sites

At field sites in North Carolina's mountains, coastline, cities and even the tropical rain forests of Thailand, undergraduates have a semester-long opportunity to explore real-world issues through a combination of coursework, field trips, research projects and internships with local organizations.

Challenges facing these host communities shape the curriculum at each site, and the results of research by Carolina faculty and students are shared with community partners.

Tar Heels in the field

Through the UNC Institute for the Environment — in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Environment, Ecology and Energy Program and the Study Abroad Office — Carolina offers five unique field sites where undergraduates live, study and conduct research.

The Highlands Field Site, located at the Highlands Biological Station, has a long tradition of research and education that takes advantage of the diverse and rich southern Blue Ridge Mountains.

At the Sustainable Triangle Field Site, students build and apply their skill sets and follow their research interests to solve real-world sustainability questions facing the University and Chapel Hill.

A student and professor wearing head lamps examine a mouse

The Outer Banks Field Site on Roanoke Island combines a multidisciplinary study of the sustainable management of coastal resources with rich experiences set in the ecology and culture of North Carolina’s coastline and estuaries.

With 6.5 acres of waterfront property on Bogue Sound, the Morehead City Field Site sits in a region rich in estuarine and wetland habitat. The area includes the large embayments and estuaries that are typical of North Carolina’s coast and tied to much of its seafood production.

The international field site in Thailand focuses on environmental and energy-related challenges and potential solutions. In past semesters students have visited Hill Tribe villages, gone mountain rafting and taken elephant treks.

Learn more about the sites from Assistant Director Susan Cohen.

UNC associate professor Johanna Rosman, PhD student Jana Haddad and junior Joey Carter wade out into Albemarle Sound to perform research

The student experience