Biodiversity and Development in the Amazon


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 Peru. Read more about the SFS program model.

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


On the Biodiversity and Development in the 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.

Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus

SFS 2090 Language, Culture, and Society of Peru 2 credits
SFS 3800 Conservation Science and Practice 4 credits
SFS 3831 Tropical Ecology of the Amazon 4 credits
SFS 3840 Political Ecology of Developing Landscapes 4 credits
SFS 4910 Directed Research 4 credits

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, white-sand forests, traditional medicinal gardens, high-elevation montane and cloud forests near Wayqecha Biological Station, rural villages and agricultural communities, and palm swamps and floodplain forests.

Directed Research

In the Directed Research course, each student completes a field research project under the mentorship of a faculty member – beginning with data collection and analysis and concluding with a research paper and presentation. Project subject areas span ecology, natural resource management, conservation science, environmental ethics, and socioeconomics.

Find Out More
All program components are subject to change.

Where You'll Be Living

Between the remote city of Iquitos and the port city of Nauta, nestled in the Amazon, sits the Center. The sounds of the forest permeate our campus, from student cabins to the pool and open-air student lounge. The rainforest is accessible via an on-campus trail system which traverses our 183-acre property. Small communities and local shops are within walking distance.

  • Dorm living with 6-person bunkrooms
  • Open-air student lounge and study space
  • Large dining area, and on-site cooking staff
  • Trail network extends from campus into the rainforest
  • Traditional thatched-roof classroom
  • Swimming pool, soccer field, volleyball court, and hammock huts