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SIT Iceland Renewable Energy, Technology & Resource Economics

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Ísafjörður, Iceland




Good academic and disciplinary standing, 2.5 GPA, previous coursework in engineering, economics, environmental science or studies, or related fields

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab

The University of Iowa has affiliated itself with The School for International Training or SIT. SIT was founded on the idea that cultural exchange leads to positive social change. Because of this belief, each of their programs is centered around one of five global issues. This summer program allows students to examine the physical processes, economics, and environmental impacts of energy use in Iceland. Students learn from local experts: academics, activists, business persons, artists, community leaders, and government officials. This access to local perspectives and knowledge gives students a greater understanding of the issues and innovations within their host communities. The program combines classroom study with hands-on work in the field. Every day, students have multiple opportunities to engage with their surroundings and host communities.

Academic Program

The key topics of study for this program include; hydroelectric and geothermal power; wind, solar, tidal and biomass energy; alternative fuels; and resource economics and policy. Sustainable energy design and implementation within the larger sociocultural, economic, and environmental contexts is also studied. The geology behind energy usage and the importance of its sustainable utilization is another key topic. Finally, the basics of the Icelandic language is also studied.
Students take three courses during their seven weeks in Iceland and each course is three semester hours for a total of 9 semester hours. The courses are,

Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics Seminar

The seminar course focuses on helping students develop mastery of the alternative energy technologies and an understanding of the role these technologies ply in Iceland’s social, economic, and political context and how theses lesions apply to the larger world.


Through classroom and field instruction students learn the basics of the Icelandic language and the ways in which it reflects the sociocultural identity of the nation.

Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics Project

For the project, students are introduced to recent research in renewable energy, technology, and resource economics. Students become familiar with the methodologies employed in energy and sustainability studies. With this knowledge, students select and analyze relevant issues in the renewable energy in consultation with program faculty. Each student conducts research with a field study component to produce and original academic paper and presents their results to the class.

Program Dates

Mid-June to early August

Application Deadline

March 4

For more information

The SIT web site has a complete description of the program. Before initiating an application with SIT students are required to meet with the Study Abroad Advisor for this program, Kristine Djerf. Please contact the Study Abroad office by stopping by 1111 University Capitol Centre, or calling 319-335-0353, to schedule an appointment.

The University

Classes will be held at The University Centre of the Westfjords. The University Centre was established in 2005 and operations began in 2006. It serves about 100 distance learning students; it operates a master’s program in Coastal and Marine Management for around 40 students, and also offers a small individualized program of study at the master’s level in Marin Innovation.

The City - Ísafjörður

Ísafjörður, which means, “ice fjord”, is located on the peninsula of Vestfirðir (Westfjords). The town has a population of about 2600 inhabitants and is the largest town of the peninsula. The area is believed to have been first settled in the 9th century and in the 16th century the town grew as it became a trading post for foreign merchants. The Westfjords are known to be the coolest area in Iceland at sea level. The climate is tundra with average high temperatures of 51 and 54 degrees Fahrenheit in June and July respectively. Fishing has been the main industry but for various reasons it has been in decline. However, tourism is very much on the rise. The harbor in Ísafjörður serves ferries to nearby towns and larger cruise ships for tourists visiting the area. Ísafjörður is a major point of access to the nature perserve on the Hornstrandir Peninsula which is an uninhabited wilderness area. Despite its size, small population and historical isolation from the resto fo the country, the town has a relatively urban atmosphere. It has a school of music, museums, an airport and a hospital. It is also becoming known for its music festivals and as a center for alternative music outside of Iceland.

The Country - Iceland

The country of Iceland is known for its curious juxtaposition of ice and fire in the form of glaciers and volcanos that produce geothermal geysers. Iceland lies in the North Atlantic between Norway and Greenland and just south of the Arctic Circle. Given its position in longitude the country is inhabitable because of the warming influence of the Gulf stream. The country was first settled by Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson in the year of 874. Today it is a democratic state with a market economy and a population of more than 325,000 people.

Interesting Facts about Iceland

  1. The phone book is alphabetized by first name rather than last name.
  2. The Althing – Iceland’s national parliament which began in 930 A.D. making it the oldest legislature in the world that still exists.
  3. There are no McDonald's restaurants in Iceland.
  4. Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland.
  5. Iceland has no mountains, but rather is a country of valleys that the glaciers have carved out of the land.
    1. US Department of State Country Information

      The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

      Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

During their time in Iceland, students will stay in guest houses and hostels when they are not participating in their homestay. For two weeks of the program students live with an Icelandic family. This unique experience allows students to gain insight into Icelandic culture, language and everyday life.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to Iceland, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. The cost of travel is not included in the program fee. Information about airport pick up will be given at orientation. Students should book airfare to correspond with the arrival and departure dates given by SIT.

Local Transportation

The town of Ísafjörður has a bus system and given the size of the town it is navigable on foot. For excursions out of the area, transportation will be provided for students. Bike rentals are also available.


Good academic and disciplinary standing, 2.5 GPA, previous coursework in engineering, economics, environmental science or studies, or related fields.

Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. It is the policy of the UI Study Abroad office that all students who study abroad must be in both good academic standing and good disciplinary standing. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance and will not be allowed to study abroad. Any student who must forfeit their acceptance and/or attendance on a study abroad program due to a probationary status is wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred. See the ‘Withdrawal Policy’ below for more information about the related late withdrawal fees.

Program Costs

Students are charged a Program Fee on their Ubill. This charge covers tuition, all educational excursions, and room & board which includes all meals. In addition to the Program Fee, students are assessed a University of Iowa Study Abroad Administrative Fee. Also on the Ubill will be the mandatory Iowa Regents International CISI insurance. 
Other costs include but are not limited to, application fee, round trip airfare to the program site, passport fees, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad web site for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options. Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT has several scholarships available to University of Iowa students. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. Please visit the SIT Scholarship web site to find out more about their scholarships.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary, the credit is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

How to Apply

Schedule and meet with Kristine Djerf, the Study Abroad Advisor for Scandinavia. Appointments can be set up in person in 1111 UCC or by phone at 319-335-0353. After discussing the program and its requirements, students can then complete the University of Iowa Study Abroad application . Final admissions decisions to the program are made by SIT.

Application Deadline

March 4

Withdrawal Policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
Within the first nine days after the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
10-19 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
20-44 days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT
45 or more days past the confirmation deadline Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of program fee: Determined by SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific this program and host countries. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Before Traveling

Students must complete certain documents and activities for the University of Iowa and SIT before leaving for their study abroad experience and these include:
1. Uploading a copy of the information page of their passport to their UI study abroad application.
2. Completing and turning in a copy of their Credit Approval Form.
3. Registering in MyUI for the appropriate study abroad course.
4. Completing SIT Confirmation materials.
5. Finalizing SIT Pre-departure materials.