Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, sociology, anthropology, international relations, or related fields, as assessed by SIT.

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The semester is divided into four highly integrated courses: Intensive Language Study in Kiswahili, Environmental Research Methods and Ethics, Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar, and the Independent Study Project.

The Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar consists of two components: 1) Life and Culture and 2) Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology. The Life and Culture component includes lectures on history, politics/economics, and current events. The Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology lectures focus on wildlife ecology, conservation, environmental issues, and national park management. During the Environmental Research Methods and Ethics course, students learn how to integrate both social science and ecological field techniques through anthropological and field ecology projects. These skills are then applied during the Independent Study Project (ISP).

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.

Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
An interdisciplinary course conducted in English, with required readings, examining the relationships between socioeconomic objectives, ecological parameters, and cultural transitions from multi scale/actor perspectives in various Tanzanian landscapes. Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and various nongovernmental organizations.

Environmental Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ENVI 3500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
A course in environmental research methods and ethics concerning both the social and natural sciences. The main focus is on learning how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and ecological data to critically understand and evaluate program-related environmental issues. Topics include an introduction to the Independent Study Project; environmental field study ethics; and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Specific qualitative field study methods include designing research projects; writing a research proposal; interviewing; surveys; participatory rural appraisal techniques; maintaining a field study journal; and data set analysis. Specific ecological field study methods include micro- and macrohabitat analysis; wildlife population sampling and analysis; fauna and flora identification; animal behavior; geographic information systems; and statistical analysis of data sets.

Intensive Language Study: Beginning Kiswahili - syllabus (PDF)
(SWAH 1000–1500 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Kiswahili - syllabus (PDF)
(SWAH 2000–2500 / 4 credits / 60 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 intensive beginning classes, with further language practice during homestays, lectures, and excursions.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Arusha, Moshi, or surrounding areas or, with program approval, in other parts of Tanzania. Sample topic areas: impact of tourism on local cultures or the natural environment; perspectives on management options in designated wildlife areas; environmental education; soil conservation in Mayo Village; body modifications among Maasai at Ngare Sero; behavior of Colobus guereza in Sagara Forest; canopy and habitat use in sympatric primate species; modernized farming methods in Mgwashi; Arusha youths’ views on population and the environment; vegetation analysis of elephant damage at Ndarakwai Ranch.

Note: Because of restrictions on fieldwork in Tanzania, participants should expect to spend all or most of the Independent Study Project outside the boundaries of Tanzania’s national parks.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Arusha

Language Study: Kiswahili

Prerequisites: Coursework in environmental studies, biology, sociology, anthropology, or international relations Read more...


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

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