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The High Sierras in World and Environmental History

Program cancelled for 2021

This program has been cancelled due to global COVID-19 trends and new variants. Global Seminars is proud to offer a series of virtual programs.

Contact or send a VAC message to Study Abroad - Global Seminars if you are interested in changing your application to an alternate programs.



Matthew Herbst

Prof. Matthew HerbstProfessor Herbst is Director of the Making of the Modern World GenEd world history program at UC San Diego and affiliated faculty in History and Classical Studies and also teaches in Environmental Studies. Prof. Herbst was an inaugural faculty of the university’s Global Seminars in 2008 and has led 10 undergraduate programs in Asia, Europe, and Oceania, with this 11th program upcoming in the High Sierras. Since 2012, he has also led 23 environmental humanities seminars in the deserts and mountains of California and the American Southwest.  



  • MMW 14GS: Revolution, Industry, Empire (PDF) - coming soon
  • ENVR 142GS: Wilderness & Human Values Abroad (PDF) - coming soon


This summer 2021 hybrid Global Seminar sets the High Sierras in the context of environmental and world history. The program combines two courses (8 units total), one Environmental Studies course and one Making of the Modern World course: ENVR142 Wilderness and Human Values and MMW14 or MMW122 in Summer Session 1 2021 (June 28 – July 31). The classes are taught remotely, except for the onsite component from July 6 – July 20. The program includes round-trip ground transportation from UCSD with all food, lodging, and equipment included for the outdoor component in the High Sierras, including at Yosemite National Park. This is an outdoor program that focuses on engagement with the natural environment. The program explores the conservation and preservation movements, past and present exploitation of natural resources, issues of water in California and World history, climate change and fire, outdoor engagement and well-being, environmental justice and environmental racism. You do not need outdoor experience, but you do need a willingness to be entirely together in a group for two weeks, to lodge in rustic settings and in tents, to hike each day, and to participate in other outdoor activities in the high elevation setting. Additional details will be posted soon. 

Information Sessions

See the Info Session Calendar


First Day of Class (Virtual): Mon., June 28, 2021
Group Departure from San Diego: Tue, July 6, 2021
Return to San Diego: Tue, July 20, 2021
Last Day of Class: Fri., July 30, 2021


  • Do not make any travel arrangements until the program is confirmed. All approved applicants will be notified by e-mail when the program has been confirmed by reaching minimum enrollment. 
  • Because of the evolving COVID-19 situation, when you do buy tickets, we strongly encourage you to purchase refundable plane tickets or flight cancellation insurance.
  • Arrival instructions will be posted here once the program is confirmed.
  • The Study Abroad Office will be hosting several flight workshops to provide tips and advice on flight purchases. Check the Study Abroad Calendar for more information.