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Exploring the conservation world beyond classrooms and books
Learn about conservation biology within the social, economic, and political context with emphasis on problem solving, critical thinking and hands-on experiential learning through programs offered by the Smithsonian-Mason Semester for Conservation Studies.
How did you hear about us? Click here.
Conservation, Biodiversity and Society and Wildlife Ecology and Conservation are two complementary 16-credit semester programs. You can take one individually or take both in consecutive semesters. Both programs are appropriate for upper-level students from any accredited college or university and from any major who have demonstrated a commitment to conservation.
Each program offers a set of five integrated courses that include a practicum experience as well as classes focusing on conservation theory and applications. Like a “study abroad” program, students live at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, close to Shenandoah National Park and learn from prominent conservationists, researchers, and educators. Through academically intense, hands-on curricula, students will emerge from their Semester experience prepared for conservation-related internships, graduate study or professions.
- Each program is limited to 20 students. Placement into a specific program is made according to the date your deposit is received at George Mason University. There can be a short delay, so deposit does NOT guarantee there is an opening in your preferred program. You will be notified upon receipt of deposit.
- Because SCBI is a closed federal research facility, final acceptance into the program is continent on passing a federal background check.
For information about the Semester in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, click HERE.
For information about the Semester in Conservation, Biodiversity and Society, click HERE.
We are now offering a 6-credit overseas field courses for Summer 2016. For more information click HERE.
“We were challenged this semester to think of conservation in ways that we would never think of it before.” — Carol Cogliano
“Basically, I loved this whole semester because of the hands-on experience that we had. In college, we learn about everything (and we do that here), but in college you don’t get to actually go out and do – go out and wrestle deer or feed the animals that you’re caring for.” — Daniel Schuldenfrei
“At the start of the Semester I was afraid of graduating. I was not sure of where to go after school ended, or of how to find a rewarding job that would facilitate the changes that I hope to see in the world of conservation. Now I am eager to finish with school and apply what I have learned to the world of ecology and conservation biology.” — Amanda Schochet