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.

Major academic themes include:

  • Landscape ecology and habitat fragmentation
  • Ecosystem services and carbon markets
  • Climate change and conservation practice
  • Sustainability of rural livelihoods
  • Biogeography
  • Indigenous knowledge and histories
  • Biodiversity assessment


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

Field Skills

You will practice valuable skills in the field which may include: species identification and population monitoring, habitat and biodiversity surveys, research design and implementation, research plots and transects, bird call playback, primate behavior observation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, research presentation, and Spanish language skills.


You will visit different ecosystems and communities while in the field, which may include tropical lowland rainforests, high-elevation forests and the highlands of the Andes, salt mines, protected reserves, Amazonian riverine ecosystems, white-sand forests, wildlife sanctuaries and 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.

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All program components are subject to change.