Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment


Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

The program’s coursework provides an essential foundation in Mongolian language, history, and culture, from which to springboard into in-depth discussions of Mongolia’s most pressing development issues. Key issues of examination include: Mongolia’s nomadic and rural society; the country’s young market economy; systematizing social support and providing for those in need; and the strengthening of governmental structures and oversight. Coursework is based on SIT’s experiential, field-based program model.

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.

Geopolitics and Development Trends - syllabus (PDF)
(ASIA 3010 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This interdisciplinary course focuses on Mongolia’s path to political and economic development and the country’s current strategies for external relations and internal growth. With special attention to Mongolia’s location between China and the Russian Federation, this course’s discussions on government policies for international investment and the shifting political discourses about domestic investment form the background against which Mongolia’s development trajectory is analyzed. Educational excursions are an integral part of this course, and lecturers are drawn from local universities, research institutes, and NGOs.

Pastoralism and Natural Resource Management - syllabus (PDF)
(ASIA 3020 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This interdisciplinary course, with required readings and relevant educational excursions, focuses on Mongolia’s nomadic population and the impact of political, social, and economic transformations and national resource management policies, ranging from wildlife to resource extraction to water quality and conservation, on Mongolia’s social, cultural, and physical environments. Lecturers are drawn from local universities, government agencies, and NGOs.

Intensive Language Study: Beginning Mongolian - syllabus (PDF)
(MONG 1000–1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Mongolian - syllabus (PDF)
(MONG 2000–2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Advanced Mongolian - syllabus (PDF)
(MONG 3000–3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension in Mongolian, plus reading and writing skills, through classroom and field instruction. Classes are conducted by trained Mongolian language instructors. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing. Language training starts immediately after students arrive in Mongolia and continues during field excursions.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Through a carefully designed sequence of field projects, workshops, and related lectures, this course prepares students for independent research. Knowledge will culminate in each student’s successful completion of an individually designed and executed Independent Study Project (ISP) at the end of the semester.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in an approved location in Mongolia appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: nomadic organization in transition; cashmere trade and cultural interaction with China and Siberia; Buddhist debate and monastic education; Buddhist painting, sculpture, and architecture; symbols of collectivism and pastoralism in daily life; education policy since Soviet disintegration; the shagai tradition; cultural perceptions of Mongolian medicinal plants; commodity production and regional politics; analysis of the environmental impacts of mining; maternal healthcare, motherhood, and birth in Ulaanbaatar; the Mongolians of Kazakh descent and their place in modern Islam.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Ulaanbaatar

Language Study: Mongolian

Prerequisites: None

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

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

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