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Wales Study Group

Cardiff University director spring 2019: Professor Ahmet Ay, Associate Professor of Biology and Mathematics
Students on the study group pose for a group photo

History of the Wales Study Group

In 1984, under the supervision of Professor Peter Sheridan, the first Wales Study group was established in the spring semester.  The program continues to be hosted at the Cardiff University during that college’s spring semester. Colgate students register as non-matriculated students of the University of Cardiff and have all the opportunities as local university students. Students take two elective courses and two requires courses that are designed specifically to reflect the study group’s unique location.


The Wales Study Group is intended for majors in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics who wish to live and study abroad. Although the program is designed primarily for students who will be juniors during the spring term of 2019, students who will be sophomores in spring 2019 may also be considered.

The program is hosted at Cardiff University during that college’s spring semester. The Colgate study group’s orientation is tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, 21 January 2019. The last final exam day is Friday, 14 June 2019 with the official program end date Saturday, 15 June, 2019.


As in the past, the study group will be based at Cardiff University, which, with its student body of thirty thousand students, is the preeminent research university of Wales. Colgate students will register as non-matriculated students of the University of Cardiff and have access to all of the University’s academic and athletic facilities, including libraries, gymnasiums, and student union.

Wales is part of the United Kingdom and only in 1998 formed its own National Assembly. Its people consider Wales to be a separate and distinct nation; they are passionately conscious of their cultural heritage. While the dominant language of southern Wales is English, Wales is a bilingual nation. The Welsh language, a Celtic tongue, is alive and well as a second language and is strongly promoted in the Welsh educational system. Cardiff is an ideal locale for exploring this fascinating culture, serving as a center for the renaissance of Welsh language, literature, and national pride.

The city of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, has a population of approximately 350,000. The Welsh are justifiably proud of their artistic and cultural accomplishments, as exemplified by city theaters for opera, drama and ballet — the Welsh National Opera and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra are located in Cardiff — and by the Welsh National Museum. In addition, Cardiff University, which is located near the center of Cardiff in Cathays Park, maintains a number of musical and drama theaters. The principal sport of Wales is rugby, and Millennium Park, an internationally known rugby ground, is within walking distance of the University’s campus.


Students pose as prisoners in fake stockades

All students will enroll in four courses:  two elective courses (at least one normally must be in the student’s concentration) and in two required courses, which are designed specifically to reflect the study group’s unique location.

AHUM 360 - Welsh Culture (required Cardiff course taught by the Welsh Dept.)

This course examines Welsh literature, language, and culture, and in so doing, augments the cross-cultural experience that is an integral part of any study abroad program. The specific course content varies with the instructors, all of who are Cardiff University faculty. Before the semester begins, a member of the Welsh Department provides an introduction to the Welsh language. This course has a number of required field trips, including excursions to the Welsh Folk Museum, the Dylan Thomas home site, and the National Assembly of Wales.  This course has been approved for GE credit.

Director’s Course (required course)

MATH 169 – Dive into Data: Data mining is the science of discovering patterns, and making predictions in large-scale data sets. This course provides an introduction to this field, and focuses on real life applications. In this course, we will study data mining methods for a wide range of tasks including visualization of data, classification and clustering. The students will be exposed to numerous industrial and scientific applications drawn from a wide range of topics including disease classification through whole-genome expression data sets, and personality prediction from social media interactions. No background in programming is presumed. Computer software that is designed for data mining will be introduced throughout the course. Prerequisite: Three years of secondary school mathematics.

Two Elective Courses

Of the two elective courses, at least one must be in the student’s concentration. Students must have satisfied the pre-requisites for the elective courses before departure for Wales. Students will consult with their academic departments and the Registrar’s Office to ensure that elective courses taken in Cardiff will be approved as Colgate credit.

University of Cardiff course pre-approval form

Field Trips

Students are required to participate in all of the study group trips. Tentatively planned are several day trips for the Welsh Culture course and the Director’s course, a two-day trip to Stonehenge and Stratford Upon Avon, a trip to western Wales and the Pembrokeshire National Park region, and a trip to the culturally distinct north of Wales.


For information regarding study group costs, please review the estimated student budgets
Students along the shores of a lake


The deadline for applications to the Spring 2019 Wales Study Group is Wednesday, November 15, 2017.  Applications are on the Off-Campus Study/International Programs ( study groups’ websites and are submitted online. Interviews of applicants will take place after that date and will be arranged by email. Student notification of selections will take place late December 2017. 

Two students play with local children

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2019. All students participating on the Spring 2019 Wales Study Group will be required to obtain a U.K. student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with U.K. visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 McGregory (Center for International Programs), and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For some students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Wales Study Group program tentative dates: January 21 — June 15, 2019

Informational Sessions

  • Monday, October 23, 2017 at 7 p.m. in 101 McGregory Hall
  • Thursday, October 24, 2017 at 4 p.m. in 301 Olin Hall

More Information

For more information, contact Professor Ay,

Helpful Links

General Information

Course-Related Materials

  • Yahoo! Science Index