Ecology, Wildlife, & Natural Resource Management

Learn wildlife ecology field methods and conservation practices. Work with parks and organizations in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar to address ecosystem management challenges and dynamics.

At a Glance




Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study


Courses taught in



Sep 14 ‎– Dec 22

Online Component

Sep 14 ‎– Sep 20

On Site Component

Sep 22 ‎– Dec 22

Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon


Why Tanzania?

This program has been modified with a later in-country start date preceded by one to two weeks online. The online portion will include: program orientation; introductory activities to get to know your academic director and local program team; faculty-led sessions; guest lectures to provide the theoretical frameworks for the course and historical background to the sites and partner organizations; readings; preliminary assignments; and discussions about independent study projects and, if applicable, internship opportunities. We will also have online discussions to debrief sessions and prepare you to join faculty, local team, and peers in country. 

Study the remarkable environments and animal life of mainland Tanzania and the Zanzibar Archipelago. You will camp in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem and live with urban and rural homestay families at two locations, including in the World Heritage Site of Stone Town in Zanzibar and Ngaramtoni, in Arusha. During your stay, you will conduct an independent field study on ecosystem management challenges and dynamics or fauna, including large plains animals (like buffalo and giraffes) and forest animals (like monkeys and sunbirds), and marine fauna (like octopus and dolphins). Students will also learn ecology field methods, conservation practices, and work with parks, organizations, and experts to address natural resource management and conservation issues in an era of environmental change.


  • Mainland Tanzania, study wildlife management in Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, and approaches to community participation in Wildlife Management Areas.
  • Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti N. Park studies behaviors of wildlife and human-wildlife interactions, including challenges to multiple land use area.
  • In Zanzibar, swim with dolphins, survey coral reef ecosystems, and evaluate ecotourism strategies.
  • Work with experts at Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park in Zanzibar to document behavior of forest wildlife and conserve biodiversity, especially of primates and birds.


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.


Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem

Study wildlife management issues in Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem and different approaches to community participation in wildlife management areas.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti N. Park

Students visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a multiple land use conservation model. The group observes plains wildlife and studies human-wildlife interactions. Students also visit Serengeti N. Park to studies animal ecology, behavior, biology, distribution and flora.

Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park and Biosphere Reserve in Zanzibar

Students document forest wildlife and animal behavior, especially that of monkeys, birds, bats, and amphibians.

Pemba Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago

Students visit Misali Island, a remote protected area on Pemba Island. The group studies coral reef ecosystems and marine conservation. Students also visit a flying fox preserve on the main island to engage with how Swahili communities manage mobile animals in an era of change.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. Read more about credit transfer.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Wildlife conservation and management strategies for different protected areas, including parks, WMAs and multiple land use area
  • Human-wildlife interactions in an era of environmental change
  • Methods to document terrestrial and marine animals and animal behaviors
  • Tropical ecosystems: mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and coral reefs, including marine wildlife and the impacts of climate change to animals in Zanzibar
  • Sustainable ecotourism related to wildlife in Tanzania

Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar

Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology Seminar – syllabus
(ENVI3000 / 3 credits)

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.

Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management Seminar

Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management Seminar – syllabus
(ENVI3050 / 3 credits)

An interdisciplinary course conducted in English, with required readings, examining coastal ecology and natural resource management in Zanzibar, the Seychelles, Pemba, and coastal Tanzania. Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as the University of Dar es Salaam and its affiliate, the Institute of Marine Sciences in Zanzibar.


Beginning Kiswahili – syllabus
(SWAH1003-1503 / 3 credits)

Intermediate Kiswahili – syllabus
(SWAH2003-2503 / 3 credits)

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 classes, with further language practice during homestays, lectures, and excursions.

Environmental Research Methods and Ethics

Environmental Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ENVI3500 / 3 credits)

A course in environmental research methods and ethics concerning both the social and natural sciences. The 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.

Independent Study Project

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 3 credits)

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 selected forests; 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.

Sample topic areas:

  • Perspectives on human-wildlife conflict near conservation areas including wildlife corridors
  • Mweka College of Wildlife student perspectives on the new presidency
  • An analysis of facial expressions in olive baboons by habitat and group behavior
  • GPS mapping of elephant corridors in the Tarangire-Manyara landscape
  • Impact of tourism on the natural environment or cultures
  • Management options in designated wildlife areas
  • Environmental education
  • Soil conservation and agricultural practices
  • Youths’ views on population and environment
  • Wildlife-livestock disease interaction in the Kwakuchinja corridor
  • Behavior of primates, e.g., Colobus guereza and olive baboons at various forest locations
  • Wood use in various types of protected areas, including village forests
  • Bio-indicator studies, e.g., birds and butterflies at various locations
  • Perspectives on population and the environment
  • Vegetation analysis and elephant damage at Ndarakwai Ranch

Note: Because of restrictions on fieldwork in Tanzania, you should expect to spend all or most of the Independent Study Project outside the boundaries of Tanzania’s national parks. In addition, students are not able to study any topic that relates to any activity that is illegal in Tanzania. This includes poaching.

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.



Stay with a homestay families at Ngaramtoni, in Arusha. Students will also stay at Klub Afriko and/or SIT-approved accommodations in Arusha.


Stay with a homestay family in Stone Town, Zanzibar, a World Heritage Site.  The city is a labyrinth of walkways through cosmopolitan architecture and spice markets. The waterfront overlooks the Indian Ocean as traditional boats – dhows – sail along the stunning coastline.

Other Accommodations

Hostels, private homes, or small hotels.

Career Paths

Students on this program represent many different colleges, universities, and majors. Many have gone on to do work that connects back to their experience abroad with SIT.

  • Princeton in Africa in the Usambara Mountains

  • Environmental NGOs

  • Ethiopian National Parks Service

  • School for Field Studies

  • The Peace Corps

  • Office of the General Counsel, Washington, DC

  • Schools of Marine and Environmental Affairs

  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

  • Fisheries technician

  • Community organizer

Faculty & Staff

Tanzania: Ecology, Wildlife, & Natural Resource Management

Oliver Nyakunga, PhD
Jonathan Richard Walz, PhD

Discover the Possibilities


    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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