Online Application
Course Offerings
  • COSA in Vietnam (Community Organizing and Social Activism)
Possible Elective Course Offerings
  • Vietnamese Language ("Language Across the Curriculum")
  • Environmental Science and Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Global Health and the Environment
  • Sustainable Business in a Globalized World

* Some courses may not be offered during a given term. Please inquire. 

Travel and Excursions that Broaden Your Perspective
Travel is an essential part of studying abroad.

Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater classroom comprehension and cultural understanding.


Excursions MAY include SOME of the following:

Hanoi City Tour

The IPSL Hanoi program normally includes a city tour of Hanoi included in the arrival orientation. Depending on the time of the year, it may include a visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi - the final resting place of the leader's body is preserved here in a glass case (albeit against his wishes). Ho Chi Minh is the most popular leader of Vietnam and known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

The Bat Trang pottery village is one of the most famous of the craft villages in Vietnam. It is famous for its fired clay pottery (with a temperature of 1,200 degrees, the ceramics are well known for being difficult to break). Since the 15th century this village has been creating earthenware and ceramic creations. Visiting Bat Trang village is a chance to experience Vietnamese tradition and understand the usual life of Vietnamese people in the countryside. 


Duong Lam Village & Ba Vi National Park

This traditional village preserves various cultural and historical vestiges in Duong Lam such as: the worship-house, Mong Phu communal house, the Princess Mia Palace and Temple, the Mia pagoda, and others. Pass by the village and enjoy local products such as rice wine and rice cakes before heading to Ba Vi National Park.


Ba Vi National Park

This is one of Vietnam’s most famous areas of outstanding natural beauty, and is centered around a three-peaked mountain jutting steeply out of the landscape. The national park offers a great escape from the city with cool fresh mountain air in a mystical atmospheric backdrop of clouds, jungle and tropical rainforest. There is also a spa resort nestled at the foot of the mountain offering a host of natural therapies in an absolutely stunning setting.

Bai-Dinh and Tam Coc

A visit to Bai Dinh opens a window into the multi-faceted history of religion in Vietnam. The Bai Dinh pagoda region includes the ancient pagoda area and a new pagoda area. New pagoda has monumental but traditionally designed architecture which is symbolic of the blend of old and new which is Vietnam today. New Bai Dinh pagoda is honored as the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia.


The ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is in a beautiful mountainous region which includes Dinh Mountain. This pagoda is located near the top of a quiet forested area and includes a Buddhist cave, the temple of God Cao Son, and the temple of Nguyen. The pagoda is a significant Vietnamese historical, cultural and religious site.


The Tam Coc (“three caves”) portion is a three-hour excursion by small boat along the river, beginning at the village of Van Lam and proceeding through a scenic landscape dominated by rice fields and karst towers. The route includes floating through three natural caves, the largest of which is 125m long with its ceiling about 2m high above the water.

Additional Academic Excursions may include:

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - named a UNESCO World Heritage Site just in time for Hanoi’s millennial anniversary in 2010. The ancient site was the political center of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries.


Ha Long Bay  - A stunning natural wonder in northern Vietnam near the Chinese border. The Bay is dotted with 1,600 limestone islands and islets and covers an area of over 1,500 sq km. This extraordinary area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.


IPSL students in Vietnam may also work with program staff on-site to arrange for independent travel to other areas of Vietnam. As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, IPSL program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries.


Center for Sustainable Development Studies - IPSL Classroom and Dorms

Academic Immersion Focused on Real Cultural Understanding


IPSL students learn first-hand about Sustainable Development and Global Political Systems while in Vietnam. Extensive excursions are both integrated into the courses as well as offered outside of class time. Our program treats fascinating Vietnam as your living classroom!

On the IPSL Hanoi program you will take courses at CSDS (The Center for Sustainable Development Services) that will include COSA in Vietnam (Community Organizing and Social Activism) as well as a Vietnamese Language Course and your chosen electives  


COSA in Vietnam (Community Organizing and Social Activism)

The focus of this course is to explore community organizing and social activism in Vietnam with the goal of learning how to effectively translate these ideas and techniques into a concrete knowledge of social activism (including a practical tool set and the development of a personal ethic of advocacy) that can be applied across cultures, countries, and efforts. The course starts with an overview of social change institutions, explores the history and ethics of international service and moves to the examination of past and current political and social movements and advocacy efforts in Vietnam. Students will learn the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning in a Vietnamese context. This course complements IPSL community service placements and helps students make sense of their international experience in order to develop their intercultural competence. Topics are examined through the prism of hands-on community service in Vietnamese NGOs and other non-profits and include intercultural communication, the mechanics of Vietnamese non-profits/NGOs, citizenship in Vietnam, local civic engagement/advocacy efforts and the exploration of civil society.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Elective Courses

Graduates may take 2-3 electives for a maximum of 9-12 credits.

Vietnamese Language - (if taken for credit by graduate students, this course will be listed as "Language Across the Curriculum")

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to study the local language, even if it is to audit the course. In order to receive credit for a language course ("Language Across the Curriculum"), graduate students need to combine the language course with a project (to be co-determined by student and faculty).

Environmental Science and Sustainable Development

This course will provide current basic knowledge of the fundamental features and functions of the natural environment; natural resources; geo-hazards; the human impact on the environment and the role in solving problems related to human activities in hazard adaptation and mitigation, in decision-making policies on sustainable development, resource use and environmental protection. The goals of the course are to improve awareness of (and provide techniques for) the sustainable use of natural resources, environmental protection and sustainable development. Content will emphasize interdisciplinary and integrated approaches.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Sustainable Tourism

This course will cover many of these aspects across a range of topical fields  involved in researching or implementing sustainable tourism projects. The major topics to be discussed include general knowledge on tourism and sustainability, operations and marketing for sustainable tourism. Discussions will aim to bring understanding into alternative forms of tourism such as ecotourism and community based tourism approaches.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Global Health and the Environment

Global health has been defined as an area for study, research, and practice that  places priority  on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. This course examines major global health challenges, programs and policies, with practical examples in Vietnam. Students will be introduced to Southeast Asia’s diversity of determinants of health and diseases. Students will explore and analyze current and emerging health priorities, including infectious zoonotic diseases, poverty, environmental  pollution, dioxin/Agent Orange and the "American" (Vietnam) War’s legacy. Health inequity, health systems reforms, health policy advocacy, and major initiatives for disease prevention and health promotion in Vietnam will be examined  with an eye toward comparative study with health in a "developed" nation. 

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Sustainable Business in a Globalized World

Description to come

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3