Brazil: Amazon Resource Management and Human Ecology


Previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in environmental studies, ecology, development studies, or other related fields is strongly recommended but not required. Although there is no language prerequisite, a background in Portuguese, Spanish, or another Romance language is recommended.

Access Virtual Library Guide

The seminar on Amazon Resource Management & Human Ecology combines lectures (in English and some in Portuguese with translations) given by knowledgeable speakers, with field exercises undertaken in local communities, forest reserves, farms, ranches, fisheries and various other workplaces. Students obtain first-hand knowledge of the issues address in this program from the people who are in the forefront, discussing, creating, suffering, and making the history of the region.  During the Environmental Field Study Seminar, students learn how to integrate both social science and ecological field techniques through anthropological and field ecology projects. These skills will then be applied during the Independent Study Project (ISP).  Portuguese language study provides students an important window into the culture and communities in which they live and study.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

- syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3005 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This is a dynamic course that surveys the principle ecosystems of the Brazilian Amazon and the human populations that impact the natural resource base in the region. Students conduct field exercises in diverse ecosystems, from coastal mangroves to the Terra Firme dry land forests in the interior of the Amazon. Course resources include Brazilian academics, researchers, scientists, and civic leaders. The course is taught in English and Portuguese (with translation).

- syllabus(PDF)
(ENVI 3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in English and Portuguese, with required readings, examining the current environmental conflicts affecting the Brazilian Amazon. Direct field observations are a central component of the course. Resources utilized in the delivery of course content include the Instituto de Educação Superior da Amazônia (IESAM), a private college in Belém; nongovernmental organizations such as the Health and Happiness Project (PSA) and Fundação Vitória Amazônica (FVA); and the Brazil Landless Workers Movement (MST).

- syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
A course in research methods in both the natural sciences, focusing on how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report ecological data to critically understand and evaluate program-related environmental issues. Introduction to the Independent Study Project; research ethics; and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Field studies are focused on designing and structuring a research project; writing a research proposal; collecting and analyzing data (social and natural/qualitative and quantitative); understanding and accounting for research ethics in an intercultural context; maintaining a field journal.

- syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 1000-1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
- syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 2000-2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
- syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 3000-3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in beginning or intermediate classes. Special arrangements are available for advanced speakers of Portuguese.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Belém, Santarém, Manaus, or in another approved location in the Brazilian Amazon appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: land use within MST communities; environmental consciousness; alternative energy resources; alternative farming practices; sustainable tourism development; informal market economics; commercial fishing; waste management; park-based conservation; sustainable hunting practices.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Belém

Language Study: Portuguese

Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, ecology, development studies, or other related fields is strongly recommended but not required. Although there is no language prerequisite, a background in Portuguese, Spanish, or another Romance language is recom Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

Connect With Us

Connect icons

888.272.7881 (toll-free in US)



Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Contact us by email.