Center for Wildlife Studies and Human Dimensions of Conservation


In the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Kenya’s dynamic ecosystems provide habitats for an astounding diversity of flora and fauna including the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos. The region is home to pastoralist tribal communities such as the Maasai.
Kenya’s rich biodiversity is under threat from habitat fragmentation, human development, shifting human demographics, land-use changes, and natural resource availability. Our research here focuses on wildlife and the human dimension of conservation, land use changes, and ecotourism outside of protected areas. As we examine the impacts of various threats, we explore conservation approaches to resource management that will benefit humans and wildlife alike.



Wildlife and Human Dimensions of Conservation

Spend your semester in the world-famous national parks and stunning landscapes of Kenya while studying the country’s diverse wildlife and engaging in hands-on conservation research. Here, in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, climate change and land use adjustments are negatively affecting Kenya’s ecosystems and those living in them. Research the root causes of these changes and how different conservation strategies can benefit both humans and wildlife.
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15 Weeks
18 Credits

Spring 2023

Jan 27 - May 9

In The Field

Fall 2023

Sep 1 - Dec 12


summer session I

Fundamentals of Wildlife Management

In this summer study abroad program, the world-famous national parks and reserves of Kenya are your classrooms. Through safari drives and field excursions, study wildlife found nowhere else on the planet – in person. Discuss different approaches to wildlife management and conservation, and learn about traditional knowledge and culture from Maasai and other community groups.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits

Summer 2023

Jun 2 - Jul 2


summer session II

Elephants of the African Savanna

The African elephant is a keystone species with a profound influence on the landscape and dynamic in which it coexists with other African wildlife. As the largest (and one of the most charismatic) animal walking our planet, its conservation continues to attract concern within and beyond Africa. Join SFS Faculty and leading elephant scientists to learn about these animals in the elephant conservation strongholds in and around Amboseli National Park. Hear the perspectives of local...
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04 Weeks
04 Credits

Summer 2023

Jul 7 - Aug 6

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What Students Are Saying:

“This program offers so much more than your typical study abroad program. You get to live in an area of the world that most people only dream of visiting. Surrounding by acacia woodlands, the Kenya field station sits on the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. From the outdoor showers, you have a perfect view of the top of Kili!”
– Caleb, Boston University

“Getting to go on all-day safaris to world- famous parks almost every week was awesome, but even better were the connections I made with people, which I wasn’t expecting. We got to become a part of the community during our stay there; saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do! I also stay in touch with the group I went with; I had never met any of them before boarding the plane, but our incredible shared experiences brought us so close.”
– Katie, Colorado State University

“There are infinite aspects of Kenya that I will never forget and will miss dearly. The wildlife, nature and overall surroundings were stunning. The spellbinding African stars are indescribably spectacular and are incomparable to anywhere else in the world that I have traveled to. I doubt I will ever be in a classroom with acacia trees with baboons swinging around in them right outside again.”
– Ellie, Franklin University (Switzerland)


Where You'll Be Living

The Center lies in the heart of Kenya’s Rift Valley, between three world-famous national parks. The snow-capped peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro towers over miles of savanna, replete with a diversity of wildlife. Our sprawling, grassy campus includes thatched bandas (cabins) and a central chumba (main building), just down the road from the small town of Kimana.

  • Dorm living with 4-person bandas
  • Chumba contains classroom, computer lab, and study spaces
  • Kitchen and dining hall, on-site cooking staff
  • Campus offers amazing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • One-mile running trail on campus
  • Volleyball, soccer, Frisbee, and fire pit
Click here to read stories from students, staff, and faculty on our blog


Program Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing

View Kenya Program Costs

Financial Aid

We know cost can be one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At SFS, we’re committed to making our programs accessible to students which is why we award more than $650,000 in need-based financial aid each year. Our Admissions Team has worked with thousands of students and are here to answer your questions about the SFS aid process, aid available through your home school, and funding from external sources.
SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.
Learn More about Financial Aid




Research at the SFS Center for Wildlife and Water Studies focuses on the ways in which climate change is impacting the region’s wildlife populations and natural resources. We explore how Kenya’s wildlife, ecosystems, and communities are responding to environmental threats, as we research wildlife management and community-based conservation strategies that can help build a more sustainable future. Students and faculty engage with national park staff, regional conservation experts and wildlife specialists, Maasai and other Indigenous peoples, NGOs, and landowners to gain different perspectives and contribute research data to the community.
Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Wildlife management & conservation
  • Climate change impacts
  • Large mammal & primate behavior
  • Wildlife ecology
  • Community-based conservation approaches
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Natural resource management approaches
  • Protected areas management

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In Kenya, we’re currently investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Land Use Change
Tourism Impacts
Natural Resource & Water Management
Sustainable Livelihoods
Learn More About the Issues


Kimana, Kenya

SFS is an active part of the Kimana community, where we have been based for over two decades.

We have built long-term, collaborative relationships in the communities around the Center, and developed our research plans based on the environmental issues they and the surrounding ecosystems face. Throughout the program, students visit local markets and neighboring boma (Maasai homestead), spend the day with a local family, participate in traditional Maasai celebrations, take part in outreach and community service in local schools and villages, and join in local sports.

At the end of each semester program, we host a Community Research Night where select students will present their research findings to the community. SFS research data is shared with the community, national parks and conservation areas, local NGOs, and the Kenyan government.

Read stories about our community in Kenya

Meet the Kenya Team