Explore the rich biodiversity, forests, culture, and dramatic mountain views of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Spend six weeks studying issues of conservation, forest management, and development, visiting ancient shrines, and surveying big cats and forests in one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Students meet SFS staff in Bangkok two days before the program start to explore the city and to ensure travel to Bhutan on the same flight.
Trek across forested ridges and high mountain passes, visit remote villages and monasteries, and camp under the stars.
Assess Himalayan Forest biodiversity utilizing camera traps, dendrometry assessments, bird counts, and more.
Experience Bhutanese traditions and modern lifestyles during a short home stay with a nearby family.
In addition to the SFS program costs listed to the left, students should plan for additional expenses such as airfare, a passport, visas, medical costs, and personal spending.
Check out the Financial Planner below for an estimated breakdown of these costs along with more information about financially planning for your program abroad with SFS.
All students are welcome to apply for our need-based financial aid. Students who exhibit financial need for their program will be offered SFS financial aid. SFS aid is offered through a combination of scholarships, grants and loans.
Pell Grant Match
SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.
Many SFS students receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.
This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Bhutan. Read more about the SFS program model.
Major academic themes include:
Mountain and forest ecology and conservation
Geology and hydrology of mountain regions
Community forest management
Influence of Buddhist philosophy on conservation
Agriculture and food security
In the Forests in the Land of the Thunder Dragon program, you will take one 6-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.
Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus
SFS 3580 Eastern Himalayan Forests and Biodiversity
The SFS-Bhutan summer program is a 6-week interdisciplinary, field-based course where students study a country and region characterized by dramatic mountain landscapes and rich flora and fauna. Traveling through Bhutan, our SFS group will learn about culture and history, religious traditions, environmental issues, and conservation policies. Students will stay in Bhutanese villages and trek across Himalayan landscapes to experience and understand local environments and rural livelihoods. Academically, students will also develop skills in assessing environmental problems, defining research questions, conducting field research, and communicating results. Students will learn camera trapping, forest measurement and landscape reading skills. Moreover, SFS students will come to appreciate the complexity of identifying and addressing conservation and development issues in a rapidly changing region.
SFS partners with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment Research (UWICER), an international research and training facility in Bumthang, Bhutan and the Bhutan Ecological Society (BES), a Civil Society Organization promoting environmental sustainability in Bhutan. SFS students and faculty will collaborate with UWICER and BES to advance their research agenda in several priority areas, including forest management, community resource assessment, and development policy.
You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS and mapping, species identification and distribution mapping, forest and biodiversity surveys, camera trapping and mist netting, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and protected areas assessment.
You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include mountain ecosystems, subalpine conifer forests, alpine meadows, rural villages and small towns, subtropical broadleaf forests, high-altitude mountain passes, monasteries and sacred sites, and agricultural communities.
The Center is located at one end of the stunning Paro Valley, at the base of a towering ridgeline dotted with Buddhist monasteries. Campus is a small cluster of buildings designed in the traditional Bhutanese architectural style. A pleasant walk brings you to the markets, shops, and cultural events of Paro Town.
Dorm living in 2-4 student rooms
Classroom and dedicated student study spaces
Kitchen and dining hall, and on-site cooking staff
Student lounge and ping-pong tables
Verandas with scenic views of the valley
Hiking trails and local roads for running
Click on the icons below to learn more about our Center in Bhutan.