Center for Amazon Studies

The Living Amazon

Peru
Semester
14 Weeks
18 Credits
Fall 2024
Sep 4 - Dec 15
Open
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open
Program Costs
  • Tuition$17,500
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$22,500
Application Deadlines
Fall 2024
May 15, 2024
Spring 2025
November 15, 2024
Semester Program

The Living Amazon

Tarapoto,
Peru

Discover the living Amazon. Explore the extraordinarily biodiverse ecosystems of the northern Peruvian Amazon. Discuss threats to the region – from climate change to resource extraction – and get at the heart of Peru’s conservation challenges. Experience flooded forests on a multi-day riverboat expedition and travel to the Andes where you’ll visit cloud forests and experience the rich cultural traditions of the highlands. 

  • Take a multi-day excursion to the village of Sucusari to learn about the livelihoods of the Maijuna people and explore the rainforest from one of the world’s longest canopy walkways 
  • Take a five-day riverboat expedition in Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area, home to species like pink river dolphins, sloths, piranhas, primates, macaws, and giant river otters 
  • Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings.

Academics

This academically rigorous program follows a five-day/week schedule. Each program combines theory learned during classroom sessions with field-based applications. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Peru.

Major academic themes include:

  • Climate change and conservation practice
  • Landscape ecology and habitat fragmentation
  • Biodiversity assessment
  • Forest health and recovery
  • Indigenous knowledge and histories
  • Ecosystem services and carbon markets
  • Impacts of development in the Amazon
  • Biogeography
  • Political ecology

Courses

On the The Living Amazon program, you will take three 4-credit disciplinary courses, one 2-credit language and culture course, and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English.

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to view a description and download the syllabus.
SFS 2090
Language, Culture, and Society of Peru
2 credits
SFS 2090

Language, Culture, and Society of Peru

2 credits

This course provides two integrated modules: Spanish language instruction, and Peruvian society and culture. The language module offers listening, oral, and written practice of Spanish to increase students’ communication and comprehension skills. The sociocultural module is designed to help students gain experience in the culture and therefore become more adept at working effectively in their community-based Directed Research efforts. Both modules emphasize the understanding of, and direct interaction with, the local communities with which the Center works. This exposure to culture and language is reviewed and processed through lectures, field exercises, community outreach, and classroom discussion.

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SFS 3800
Conservation Science and Practice in Peru
4 credits
SFS 3800

Conservation Science and Practice in Peru

4 credits

This course introduces the concepts, tools, and incentives to effect conservation of the environment and natural resources. The field of conservation is focused on protecting biological diversity—including ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity—by promoting processes, both ecological and social, that support biodiversity. The course focuses on five core themes: what biodiversity is; why biodiversity is important; threats to biodiversity; strategies for conservation; and the concept of sustainability. We explore the practical aspects of conservation using local case studies, considering the array of conservation strategies in the region, and using this lens to evaluate global concerns on a local scale.

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SFS 3831
Tropical Ecology of the Amazon
4 credits
SFS 3831

Tropical Ecology of the Amazon

4 credits

This course examines biodiversity from multiple scales, including region, landscape, ecosystem, community, species, and genes. Students learn to: identify and characterize a variety of the diverse flora and fauna in the Amazon region, understand the patterns and processes that support this diversity, and appreciate the importance of biodiversity to people. Students examine the fundamental principles of tropical ecology through the study of a diverse mosaic of ecosystems, habitats, and species along elevational gradients, successional gradients, and geomorphic patterns.

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SFS 3840
Political Ecology of Peru
4 credits
SFS 3840

Political Ecology of Peru

4 credits

This course focuses on human interactions with and impacts on local natural systems, and vice versa. We consider these interactions through the interdisciplinary lens of political ecology, examining the political, economic, social, and historical factors of environmental issues and changes. The course provides the conceptual and practical skills and tools to critically examine and assess the human-environment nexus by exploring distinct cultures and socioeconomic systems from the upper Andes to the Amazon basin. We also consider the theories and ethics of sustainable and unsustainable development, and the need to view these issues in ways that are inclusive and just.

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SFS 4910
Directed Research – Peru
4 credits
SFS 4910

Directed Research – Peru

4 credits

This course prepares students to distinguish hidden assumptions in scientific approaches and separate fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. Students learn specific tools including: experimental design; field techniques; basic descriptive statistics; and parametric and non-parametric quantitative analysis. Emphasis is placed on succinct scientific writing, graphic and tabular presentation of results, and effective delivery of oral presentations.

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Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: species identification and population monitoring, biodiversity and habitat surveys, research plots and transects, interviewing and mapping techniques, conservation strategy assessment, basic Spanish language skills, research design and implementation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and research presentation. 

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include tropical lowland rainforests, wildlife sanctuaries, protected reserves, Amazonian riverine ecosystems, high-elevation forests and the highlands of the Andes, traditional medicinal gardens, high-elevation montane and cloud forests, rural villages and agricultural communities, and floodplain forests.     


Other Peru Programs

Semester

The Living Amazon

14 Weeks
18 Credits
Fall 2024
Sep 4 - Dec 15
Open
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$17,500
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$22,500

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