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Environmental Studies in Bhutan

  • City: Paro Town
  • Term: Fall, Winter, Summer
  • Instruction in: English
  • Requirements: Semester: One college-level Ecology, Biology, or Environmental Studies/Science course; Summer: No academic prerequisites
  • Students interested in: Earth and Environmental Sciences; EEB, Environment, Sustainability 

Semester: Students will explore and trek through remote villages and high Himalayan mountain passes to experience Bhutan’s vibrant culture, Buddhist philosophy, and environmental issues firsthand. This unique 15 week program offers the opportunity to learn about the challenges of maintaining biodiversity and traditional rural lifestyles in a time of transition. Students can take up to 18 credits where they can develop skills in field research and data collection, and apply them to a research project on conservation and development issues in Bhutan. Courses include Religion and Culture of Bhutan; Political and Socioeconomic Dimensions of Environment; Land Use, Natural Resources, and Conservation; Mountain Ecology, and Directed Research.

Summer: Choose between 2 sessions on this 4-week, 4-credit program selecting either Himalayan Forests and Gross National Happiness (Session 1) OR Tracking and Conservation of Big Cats in the Himalayas (Session 2). Students may opt to do both summer sessions. During session 1, students will explore the rich culture, biodiversity, and dramatic mountain views of the Bhutanese Himalayas. Four weeks are spent surveying forests, visiting ancient shrines, and studying issues of conservation and development in one of the most fascinating countries in the world. In session 2, Students learn about Bhutan’s revered big cats, and use camera traps and radio telemetry to study the conservation of these elusive creatures. Students explore how adaptation and management strategies can ensure that these animals survive in a changing world.

The program is physically demanding because of the altitude, weather and terrain. Communication and internet access in Bhutan can be limited at times.