St. Lawrence University partners with the University of Minnesota to offer the MSID-Thailand program. Students study for a semester in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), an educational institution offering experiential study abroad programs for students currently enrolled at universities and colleges in the United States

On this program, students spend fall or spring semester in northern Thailand, studying Thai culture, language, and society. Students can engage in internships or research projects through community development agencies and NGOs, which immerses them in Thai culture and deepens their understanding of Thai society. Along with studying the Thai language, students also live with a Thai family. 

  • Based in Chiang Mai
  • Fall or spring semester
  • Enrollment caps may be limited to less than 15 per semester based on space limitations.
  • Pre-requisites: 3.0 GPA and one Asian Studies course OR another course that specifically prepares for study on this academic program

Apply to study in Thailand

Location     Academics     Co-Curricular     Housing     Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


Chiang Mai

Located in the north of Thailand and founded in 1296 as the second capital of the Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Mai or "New City" is a cultural capital of Thailand and the second most important city in the country after Bangkok. Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains that form the foothills of the Himalayas, Chiang Mai is a cultural and natural wonderland bustling with ethnic diversity, a fabulous food scene and welcoming hospitality. 

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Each course is worth 1.11 SLU units. Students MUST take 4 courses to maintain SLU student status, and students will earn 4.4 units in total after the completion of the program.

THAI 1xxx/3xxx, Beginning/Intermediate Thai   4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units

MSID 400x, International Development (Choose one of the themes) 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units

  • International Development 4001: Human Rights & Marginalized Communities
  • International Development 4002: Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Food Systems
  • International Development 4003: OneHealth: Humans, Animals, & Environment
  • International Development 4004: Sustainable Architecture & Design

MSID 4101, Historical & Political Context of Thailand 4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units

MSID 4xxx Research/Internship in Thailand (Choose one of the themes),  4 CREDIT HRS/ 1.11 units

  • Thai 4201 Research in Thailand
  • Thai 4896 Internship in Thailand

Departmental designation at SLU for some courses: 

THAI 1xxx/3xxx, Beginning/Intermediate Thai, Modern Languages 100 Level

MSID 4001, International Development, Global Studies 100 Level 

MSID 4101, Historical & Political Context of Thailand History 3113

For more details and the course syllabi, please visit the MSID Thailand program website

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Research or Internships

As an MSID student, students have the choice to conduct either a research project or an internship for six weeks as part of the Community Engagement course. In either option, students will be placed with a local NGO related to the track they have chosen for the International Development course (Arts & Cultural Studies, Education & Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies, Public Health, Sustainability & the Environment, or Social Service). 

A research project involves a systematic investigation of a specific topic, question, hypothesis, or theory. Research is conducted under the guidance of a project supervisor at the MSID program and at a local NGO. The project culminates in a final paper or project that demonstrates the knowledge gained through the investigation.

Travel and Excursions

Although excursions change from semester to semester, students can expect to visit a variety of sites that may include local markets, development agencies, and areas of interest around Chiang Mai.

There is a one week break during fall and spring semesters and students are allowed to travel outside Thailand during the breaks. Students are not allowed to travel to countries with level 3 or 4 travel advisories as determined by the US State Department. Many students visit Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia during the week long break and others travel to the south of Thailand.  

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Students will live in a studio apartment that is a 5-minute walk from the MSID Thailand program center. For students who choose an internship or research placement outside of Chiang Mai, they will stay in an apartment or rented room during this internship period. If you stay in Chiang Mai, you will stay at your apartment or relocate to a different apartment in an area of the city closer to your placement. Students will receive a weekly meal stipend.

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Please see the UMN website to view the Program Calendar. The spring semester typically begins in mid-January and ends at the beginning of May. The fall semester typically begins in late August and ends in mid-December. 

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in-depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program-specific session in which students will learn more about the program, local culture, and academic expectations. There is also an orientation session led by the CIIS office on culture shock as well as on safety and security while abroad.

The MSID Thailand program provides an electronic version of the pre-departure orientation handbook; SLU students can attend the MSID Thailand pre-departure orientation remotely.  

On-site: Orientation takes place the first week of the semester at the ISDSI. 

Students can contact MSID Thailand program team and ISDSI program team while they have concerns or questions on site.

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Thailand program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS Office: Dr. Yanqiu Zheng, Associate Director of Asia and Pacific Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty CoordinatorDr. David Henderson - Questions about program academics.

Apply to study in Thailand

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