• Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
• 2.0 cumulative GPA
• Language Pre-requisite: None
• Open to UW-Madison degree-seeking students only
• This program is open to students graduating no earlier than August of the year of program participation. Applicants must have completed one or more of the following courses by the May before participation: Nutritional Sciences 203; Population Health Sciences 370; Medical History and Bioethics 213.
• Good academic and disciplinary standing


Public Health, Environmental Health, Environmental Science

Classroom Language



Responsible for arranging your own housing
Participants obtain their own housing in Madison for the week.

Program Duration

Summer: Mid-May - Late May

Application Deadline(s)

TermApplication Deadline
Summer 2017  11/4/2016
The application for summer 2017 will open on October 3, 2016.

Future durations will be posted at a later date.

Questions about this program?
Contact a Peer Advisor!

United States, Multiple
UW Intro to Wisconsin Environmental Health

Overview | Academics | Cost | Location | Life Away | Student Voices | Apply

The UW Intro to Wisconsin Environmental Health program is offered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) in partnership with IAP.

Lead, algae, and trash, oh my! This program provides an introduction to environmental health by focusing on some of Wisconsin's invisible environmental hazards.

Until 1978 lead was often added to paint to make the paint more shiny and durable. Lead was also added to gasoline to improve engine function and fuel economy, and was accidentally or intentionally incorporated into plumbing fixtures, housewares, foods, and other items. Though many common uses of lead are now forbidden in the United States, other uses continue, and buildings built before 1978 often still contain leaded paint.

If consumed, especially by small children, paint flakes, paint dust, and paint-contaminated soil pose potentially severe health risks including permanent brain damage and reduced kidney and liver function. While public health and medical leaders have made substantial progress on the issue, thousands of Wisconsin children and millions of others worldwide are harmed by lead each year.

Through site visits and meetings with relevant public health officials and community leaders, this course will expose students to the history and extent of lead contamination, lead testing, lead remediation, and related public health interventions such as home visits to first-time parents. Highlights will include testing for lead in soil on behalf of homeowners and/or community gardens, touring a lead-contaminated home with professional risk assessors, and exploring projects run by environmental health-related nonprofits.

While the course is focused on lead, environmental health encompasses many topics other than lead, so students will also hear from speakers and visit sites related to other environmental themes. Past program visits and themes included Madison’s sanitary landfill (solid waste), Madison’s main sewage treatment (liquid waste, phosphorus management), an apple orchard (pesticide use), and contaminated former industrial sites (brownfields, urban redevelopment).