summer session I


Elephants of Southeast Asia


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 Cambodia. Read more about the SFS program model.

Major academic themes include:

*Asian elephant behavior, ecology, health and welfare in Cambodia and Thailand’s mountain range ecosystems
*The role of elephants in local culture
*Human-elephant interaction and conflicts
*Wildlife management policies
*Conservation strategies


On the Elephants of Southeast Asia 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 the course to view a description and download the syllabus

SFS 3112 Ecology and Conservation of Southeast Asian Elephants 6 credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: behavioral observations of elephant social interactions, foraging, and welfare, distance sampling, line-transect surveys, basic Khmer and Thai language, qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques, mock debating, research report writing, and oral presentation skills.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities, including a forested elephant sanctuary, lush evergreen and mixed deciduous forests, National parks, remote villages, historical and cultural sites such as the ancient temple complex of Angkor, and learn from local and Indigenous community members about the role of elephants in their culture.

Where You'll Be Living

The home base for this program is in two key locations, the first is in the heart of the Mondulkiri highlands in Eastern Cambodia set on the slopes of the Elephant Valley. Here you can watch the sunset over the forest and wake up to the sounds of gibbons and myriad of birdlife – from eagles to hornbills. The second is in Southwestern Thailand in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, where you will be hosted by BTEH and local families who are directly impacted by human-elephant conflict. Spend a portion of the program at the SFS Center in Siem Reap, located near the famed temples of Angkor and finish your 6-week visit immersing yourself in the bright lights of Bangkok.

*Dorm living with 4-person bunkrooms
*Homestays with 2-3 students and staff
*Lounge and study areas
*The forest is at your doorstep
*Open-air dining and kitchen area, Cambodian and Thai flavorful dishes

Click on the icons below to learn more about our Center in Cambodia.