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URI FLP - India (Field Class)
Panaji, India (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Summer
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Program Description:
Program Description:
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The goal of the course is to encourage thinking, learning, and problem-solving regarding principles of water quality and quantity in India. This program will provide students with the opportunity to study water problems and sustainable water treatment solutions in mostly rural parts of India. In collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), students will immerse into a field learning environment and engage in intellectual leadership. Students will develop an appreciation for diversity, fairness, and respect on the background of global inequality and rapid development in India.

The field-based experience will take place in two Southern Indian states, namely Goa and Karnataka. These regions experience daytime temperatures of over 35 °C (95 °F) coupled with high humidity. Goa is known for its tropical beaches whereas Karnataka has many ancient Hindu temple sites and other natural wonders. Separating these two states are the Western Ghats, which is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world.


Students will earn 3 URI credits for GEO 491: Independent Study. Credits for other programs can be negotiated. The focus of fieldwork will be on India's water problems pollution of India’s rivers, and the origin and consequences of these water scarcity and pollution problems. Most time will be spent exploring current drinking water sources, causes of water pollution, and sustainable water treatment and water supply infrastructure solutions. The faculty director will lead students in visiting his current water treatment system project, known as riverbank filtration (RBF) in Goa.  Additional sites for fieldwork include a mangrove forests ecology project in Goa. The lessons learned about water use, quality, and quantity have far-reaching implications for country development beyond India.

Coursework will be supplemented with excursions and cultural activities, in which students will meet local villagers and college students; visit the Old Goa World Heritage Site; tour the former Portuguese colonial city of Panaji; visit the ancient Hindu temples in Humpi and travel through the jungles of the Western Ghats; taste exotic Indian cuisine; and conduct marine pollution studies on the tropical beaches in Goa.

Course Goals and Student Learning Objectives
The goals of the course are to encourage thinking, learning, and problem-solving regarding principles of water quality, quantity and use in India and other developing countries.
The objectives of GEO 491 are to:
  • Provide a thorough introduction to important concepts in hydrology relevant to India.
  • Introduce students to literature on Indian culture, history, and environmental issues.
  • Provide training in methods for measuring the impacts of human use on natural resources.
  • Aid students in understanding the challenges of balancing livelihoods, economic development, and protection of natural resources. 
Course Content Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Discuss in detail issues related to protection of natural resources in a developing economy.
  • Describe the impact of anthropogenic activity on the hydrogeologic cycle.
  • Describe sources of water pollution and how water pollution impacts development.


Students will stay in rooms of double occupancy; accommodations will be provided as a part of the course. Breakfast will be provided as part of the course, but students will need to cover other meals (~$20 per day). There will be a chance for optional activities during free times and also shopping for gifts in Panaji. Please bring some extra spending money if you think you want to participate in activities or do some shopping.


Program Fee: $3,300

Program fee includes:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • 3 URI credits
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast
  • Cultural activities and excursions
  • In-country transportation
  • Health insurance

Note: All fees subject to change.


Tom Boving, Ph.D.
(401) 874-7053  -
Professor Boving is a Hydrogeologist and his work focuses on (1) innovative remediation technologies for soil and groundwater, (2) stormwater runoff quality and treatment, and (3) water quality and supply solutions for communities in developing countries. He holds a joint appointment to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Geosciences.  He received his PhD in Hydrology and Water Resources Management from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He earned his master’s degree (“Diploma”) in Geology from the University of Tübingen, Germany. Boving worked for several years as an Environmental Hydrogeologist for an international consulting company in Stuttgart, Germany. Boving has supervised a number of field projects involving the installation of riverbank filtration (RBF) wells, interpretation aquifer test data, and excavation of contaminated soil and underground storage tanks. Boving served as an expert witness in legal cases concerning surface and groundwater contamination.

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