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Wales Study Group

Director fall 2012: Frank Frey, Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies
APPLY ONLINEThe Wales Study Group is intended for concentrators 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 fall term of 2012, qualified sophomores may also be considered.

The program is hosted at Cardiff University during that college’s fall semester. The Colgate study group’s orientation will begin on September 24, 2012. The Winter Recess begins on December 15, 2012. Alternate arrangements will be made for the examination period.


As in the past, the study group will be based at Cardiff University, which, with its student body of 28,000 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 the 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 330,000. 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.

The Academic Program

All students will enroll in 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.

Welsh Culture (required Cardiff course)
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, Dylan Thomas home site, and National Assembly.

BIOL 354 Evolutionary Biology (required director’s course)
Evolutionary biology is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field that influences the way we think about topics as diverse as conservation biology, epidemiology, paleontology, population genetics, adaptive radiations, the evolution of developmental mechanisms, inter-specific competition, and human behavior. The material covered in this course is motivated by the types of questions evolutionary biologists ask about these and other subjects. Emphasis is on the formulation of these questions, the generation of hypotheses, and the testing of predictions. Using primary literature, students critique experiments designed to test competing hypotheses; they also provide informed suggestions for future directions of research through a peer-reviewed research proposal. (Normally BIOL 211 or 212 is required. Students who have not completed one of these courses should speak with the study group director.)

Our course will host guest lecturers from the Cardiff School of Biosciences, and take a weekend trip to Westminster Abbey to visit Darwin’s gravesite, Kent to explore Darwin’s home and grounds, and the London Natural History Museum.

Elective Courses

Of the two elective courses, at least one must be in the student’s concentration. The following list shows some Colgate courses for which students have received credit in the past. This list is subject to change, and other courses are possible with Colgate approval.
  • Animal Physiology (BIOL381)
  • Advanced Molecular Analysis (BIOL391)
  • Developmental Biology (BIOL324)
  • Plant Biology (BIOL215)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM264)
  • Physical Chemistry II (CHEM334)
  • Object Oriented Methods (COSC303)
  • Artificial Intelligence (COSC430)
  • Women’s Fiction 1780-1830 (ENGL305)
  • Sediments and Stratigraphy (GEOL302)
  • Shakespeare’s Tragedies (HUMN291)
  • Children’s Literature (HUMN291)
  • Functions of a Complex Variable (MATH313)
  • Linear Algebra (MATH214)
  • Neuropharmocology (NEUR377)
  • Cellular Messengers (NEUR391)
  • Special Senses (NEUR391)
  • Human Anatomy (NASC391)
  • Fundamental Physics II (PHYS112)
  • Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS303)
  • Mechanics (PHYS302)
  • Human Mind, Animal Mind (PSYC257)
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology (PSYC375)
  • Cognitive Psychology (PSYC255)
  • Language and Thought (PSYC252)
Students must have satisfied the pre-requisites for the courses in Wales before departure. Colgate departmental approval is required to transfer any course that will count towards a concentration.

Other Group Activities

Students are required to participate in all of the study group trips. There will be several day trips for the Welsh Culture course, a two-night / two-day trip to the western Welsh coast region, and a two-night / two-day trip to London. These trips will visit distinctly Welsh sites, as well as sites that support the director’s course on evolutionary biology.

Estimated Extra Costs to Students

Costs above Colgate’s tuition include room and board, airfare, and necessary out-of-pocket expenses. On average, students can expect to spend $3,000–$4,000 more than a semester on campus (depending on the currency exchange rate, inflation, individual budgeting, and the departure location for the individual participant). These increased costs are used in calculating aid packages for students who receive financial aid, provided that this is their first study-group experience.

For details of student expenses on this study group, please refer to the link below. The website also gives information about average personal travel costs before or after the semester and during vacation periods. Students who are planning extensive personal travel will need to budget accordingly.

Application and Further Information

The deadline to apply has already passed. For more information about this study group, contact Frank Frey at

For additional information about Cardiff University, please see their website at To learn more about the city of Cardiff and the surrounding area, go to

General Information

Course-related Materials

  • Yahoo! Science Index
  • A Welsh Course