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What You'll Study
  • Evaluate the risk of extinction and prioritize management options for species in the wild and captivity.
  • Practice cutting-edge techniques in gamete biology and endocrinology and non-invasive hormone monitoring to promote success in captive breeding.
  • Create a management plan for an endangered species that incorporates recommended recovery strategies.
  • Learn how animal care, veterinary medicine, and behavioral observations can lead to improvements in animal welfare in a captive setting.
  • Address the application of concepts of global health, population genetics and genomics to the management of endangered species.
Week-by-Week Topics
Program Details
Semesters offered

Spring | Mason’s academic calendar


16 | Courses and transfer credits


Tuition | Mason’s tuition and fees

Semester Fee | $2048 per semester

Mandatory Room and Board | Pricing Structure

Scholarships & financial aid

Who is eligible?

3rd- and 4th-year undergraduates with at least 60 credit hours from any accredited college or university and post-baccalaureate students. Previous coursework should include at least one upper-level course in biological sciences or related discipline, a completed semester  at SMSC, or permission from the instructor.

Meet the Faculty

Joshua Davis
Associate Professor of Conservation Biology
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Josh is an ecosystem ecologist whose research explores the effects of disturbance and human influences on ecological processes. His professional background focuses on citizen science research, curriculum development, and assessment design.
Anneke DeLuycker
Anneke DeLuycker
Associate Professor of Conservation Studies
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Anneke is a biological anthropologist specializing in the ecology, behavior, and conservation of primates, particularly in the Neotropics. Her research concerns how ecological and evolutionary processes influence behavioral patterns.
Stephanie Lessard-Pilon
Stephanie Lessard-Pilon
Associate Professor of Conservation Studies
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
Stephanie Lessard-Pilon has worked in a wide range of ecological systems, from East Coast forests and streams to deep sea environments. She is particularly interested in the role of species interactions, including biologically-mediated disturbance and facilitation, on the structure and function of ecosystems. Stephanie is passionate about improving conservation education, engaging with diverse audiences about conservation-related issues, and empowering the public to take conservation action.
Jim McNeil
Associate Professor of Conservation Studies
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
As an entomologist, Jim is interested in expanding awareness of issues related to monitoring and conservation of insect species. He is particularly interested in invasive insect species biology, especially invasive forest pests and how they can be controlled.

Living and Learning at SMSC

Each cohort (20 or fewer students) lives and studies together on site at the SMSC campus. Students follow an intensive, structured schedule to get the most out of this conservation-focused experience.

  • Classroom, lab, or field work typically from 10:00 am – 3 pm, 5 days per week
  • A 5-week independent research project working with a conservation mentor to design a study and present your findings to the professional conservation community
  • Field experiences at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute or nearby sites including the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
  • Additional seminars and instruction from guests or visiting conservation practitioners
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity