Sustainability and Environment

South Africa:

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) in South Africa, in cooperation with Duke University, offers in-depth biology, ecology studies and training in field research. The program is based in a protected area that is home to thousands of animal and plant species. 

Why study in South Africa?

  • academically rigorous biological field study program led by distinguished international experts.
  • Independent research project
  • extraordinary graduate school and career connections

Advisor(s):
Professor K. Jacobson, (Biology) Science 1205
Eligibility: Open to all majors 
Related Fields of Study:
Biology
Environmental Studies
Website: Program Website

Tanzania:

ACM - Human Evolution and Ecology

Tanzania: Human Evolution and Ecology focuses on the natural and social sciences, offering  rare opportunities for field work in some of the world's greatest paleo-archeological and environmental areas.

Why study in Tanzania?

  • Focus on the anthropology of human origins and ecology
  • Environmental field studies in Tarangire National Park
  • Paleo-anthropology studies in Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge

Advisor(s):
Professor Bentley-Condit, (Anthropology) Goodnow 301
Eligibility: Open to all majors 
Related Fields of Study:
Anthropology
Archeology
Biology
Environmental Studies
Sociology
Website: Program Website

Australia:

Northern Queensland - SFS: Tropical Rainforest Management

School for Field Studies (SFS), Tropical Rainforest Management in Austrailia

  • The focus of the SFS program in North Queenland is on the restoration and management of degraded forest, pasturelands, and watersheds. Australia, realizing that its rainforests shelter unique species found nowhere else on earth, has moved faster than most countries in confronting the threats to their destruction, and since 1988, most of the remaining forests were declared protected under World Heritage designation.
  • Operating out of the SFS Center, surrounded by protected forests, students live and study on a fully equipped research compound. A week of orientation and preliminary lectures is followed by a series of integrated case studies focusing on local environmental problems and resource conflicts.
  • Students are registered in four courses: Rainforest Ecology; Principles of Forest Management; Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values; and Directed Research. Days are spent in a combination of lectures, field exercises and research in the surrounding natural rainforest, areas under reforestation, and nearby private lands under cultivation. Faculty lectures are supplemented by guest lectures from local experts, government officials, and representatives of area communities. Every student completes and presents a directed research project utilizing on techniques, statistical methods, and scientific writing skills learned at the SFS Center.
  • In addition to interviewing farmers, resource managers, and aboriginal clan members to gain a variety of perspectives on the issues surrounding preservation and restoration of the forests, students are integrated into local life through volunteer activities, including working with environmental groups and giving presentations in local schools.
  • Accommodation is provided in shared cabins.
  • Eligibility: At least one course in environmental studies or biology recommended. Commitment to understanding environmental issues. Willingness to live and work in groups.

Advisor(s):
Professor J. Brown, (Biology) Science 1204
Eligibility: Open to all majors 
Related Fields of Study:
Environmental Studies
Website: Program Website

Costa Rica:

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) – Tropical Biology Progam

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) | Duke University | 919-684-5774 | Fax: 919-684-5661 | Steve Hutcheson: steve.hutcheson[at]duke[dot]edu

  • The Organization for Tropical Studies, in partnership with Duke University, offers an intellectually and physically demanding field studies program utilizing three biological field stations in ecologically distinct regions of Costa Rica. The field stations include La Selva, with state-of-the-art laboratories, one of the world's most important sites for tropical rain forest research; La Cruces, a part of the Amistad Biosphere Reserve, the largest protected area in Central America; and Palo Verde, containing some of the oldest remaining patches of dry rain forest and important wetland areas.
  • The program is characterized by educational experiences at ecologically contrasting sites, contact with national and international scientists, and intensive full-immersion schedules that include field work, data analysis, lectures, and student presentations. The daily schedule begins at 6:00 a.m. and often includes lectures and laboratories at night aft er a full day of field and class work.
  • In addition to the study of tropical biology, classes are offered in the environmental policy of the tropics, Spanish language, and Latin American culture.
  • The first three weeks, devoted to intensive language training, are spent in a homestay with a Costa Rican family in San Jose. At the field stations, students are housed in group living arrangements.
  • Eligibility: GPA above 3.0. Minimum of one year of biology and one year of Spanish. Ability to cope with physically and intellectually demanding program. 

Advisor(s):
Professor K. Jacobson, (Biology) Science 1205
Eligibility: Open to all majors
Related Fields of Study
Biological Field Studies
Environmental Studies
Website: Program Website

ACM - Environmental Field Research

Associated Colleges of the Midwest | 312-263-5000 | Fax: 312-263-5879 | acm[at]acm[dot]edu

  • ACM in Costa Rica is a program for advanced independent work in the natural and social sciences and the humanities.
  • Students design and conduct supervised research projects. During the first four weeks, students take an orientation course combining the intensive study of Spanish and Costa Rican culture while preparing a detailed research proposal based on a wide variety of possible projects.
  • Research opportunities exist in the areas of tropical biology and ecology; the social sciences, such as economics, political science, sociology, and public health; archeology and cultural anthropology; and literature and the arts.
  • Each student works at a carefully selected field site during March and April under the supervision of a project adviser who provides professional advising on research methodology and the practical problems of operating in the field. During a month-long period in San Jose at the end of the semester, students complete research papers and formally present their results.
  • In San Jose, housing is in homestays with Costa Rican families. Although housing arrangements differ widely during fieldwork at research sites in various parts of the country, many students are placed with families who speak only Spanish during this phase of the program.
  • Eligibility: Coursework in the proposed research discipline. Minimum of 3 semesters of Spanish or the equivalent. Preference given to students with strong backgrounds in Spanish. Familiarity with statistics and field work methodology strongly recommended. 

Advisor(s):
Professor Aparicio, (Spanish)  ARH 220C
Professor K. Jacobson, (Biology) Science 1205
Eligibility: Open to all majors who have studied Spanish to the prerequisite level
Related Fields of Study
Humanities
Social Studies
Biology
Environmental Studies
Website: Program Website

Ecuador:

Quito – Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
  • IES in Quito, Ecuador offers students two options: the Area Studies and Language Program and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Direct Enrollment Program. 
  • The first focuses on the ecological and ethnic diversity of Ecuador, featuring an IES core course, a Spanish course at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE), as well as a selection of courses in a wide range of disciplines from IES, PUCE, or the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), an international graduate school devoted to the Social Sciences.
  • Field study is incorporated in all course work. PUCE courses include offerings in Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Health Sciences, while FLACSO provides coursework in Anthropology, Economics, Gender Issues, Public Policy, Political Science, Indigenous Studies, and Environmental Studies. 
  • The second option, the USFQ program, entails full-time direct enrollment at the university in classes alongside Ecuadorians, where students may choose from a wide range of courses in the Humanities, Social Studies, and Natural Sciences, including Music and Fine Arts. USFQ has a well-developed Environmental Studies program and operates two biological field stations in the Galápagos and Amazon basin.
  • Internships are available in areas such as business, education, government and politics, public policy, science, and social organizations. Field Trips are organized as part of courses and to cultural events in and around Quito. IES subsidized trips are offered to such locations as the Galápagos, the Amazon, and the Andes.  
  • Housing is provided in homestays.
  • Eligibility: Spanish 285 for Area Studies and Language Program: 300-level Spanish for USFQ Direct Enrollment Program. Priority given to students who have studied Spanish during the semester preceding the program. Latin American studies courses recommended.

International Education of Students (IES) | 800-995-2300 | Fax: 312-944-1448 | Susan Hansen:shansen[at]iesabroad[dot]org

Advisor(s):
Professor Aparicio, (Spanish)  ARH 220C
Eligibility: Open to all majors who have studied Spanish to the prerequisite level
Related Fields of Study
Latin American Studies 
Social Studies
Biology
Humanities
Website: Program Website

USA:

Massachusetts – Marine Biological Laboratory: Semester in Environmental Science
  • The Semester in Environmental Science Program (SES) is offered by the Ecosystems Center, the ecological research arm of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), an international institution for research and education in biology founded in 1888. In addition to MBL's permanent scientific staff of over 100, the Ecosystems Center is staffed by 13 senior scientific personnel who collaborate on more than 30 federally funded research projects.
  • The goal of the center is to investigate the fundamental processes linking organisms with their environment and apply the resulting knowledge to resource management. SES Program students participate in two core lab and lecture courses, one in Aquatic and one in Terrestrial Ecosystems, one elective, two seminar series, and an independent project.
  • Both of the core courses cover the fundamentals of ecosystem science in the context of five major environmental issues, describing linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and featuring both field and laboratory work. Students select one of three specialized electives offered each semester, providing an opportunity to deepen their understanding of a specific area of ecology, such as aquatic chemistry, microbial methods, or Mathematical modeling. Two seminar series feature of weekly presentations by nationally distinguished scientists and science writers.
  • After the end of formal coursework, student teams devote full time to research projects growing out of the core course laboratory and fieldwork. The semester concludes with oral presentation of projects, which are also presented in writing both as a scientific paper and in journalistic format suitable for a lay readership.
  • Housing is provided in the MBL dormitory. Cultural and recreational activities are available in the Woods Hole-Falmouth area and on Cape Cod.
  • Eligibility: Competitive GPA, course background in biology and environmental studies, faculty recommendations.

Advisor(s):
Professor P. Jacobson, (Biology) Science 1812
Eligibility: Competitive GPA, course background in biology and environmental studies, faculty recommendations
Related Fields of Study
Environmental Science
Website: Program Website