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UConn South African Ecology (Faculty-led) (summer)

Early Application Deadline!

PLEASE NOTE: This program is only available to students already registered in NRE 3305 for the Spring semester (gen ed content area 4). Students will be charged separately for the course (Spring term) and the field component (Summer Term).

The Program

This course provides students an overview of the ecological systems in southern Africa, their management and related conservation issues, with emphasis on the ecosystems and landscapes of the region. It includes coursework at UConn during the spring semester and a field component in South Africa. UConn students receive background lectures and exposure to South African culture, society and human rights issues during the spring semester at UConn. They are then exposed to a variety of activities in ecology and natural resources management while in the field in South Africa. The field study component of the course will be taught at Entabeni Safari Conservancy, Limpopo Province, under the support and instructors from Honeyguide Tented Camp. Students are eligible to apply if they are starting their freshman year.

The African Field Ecology course is offering an opportunity for students to learn about research. Offered in the first July section, the course will be dedicated exclusively for those students that sign up on their study abroad applications for research. These students will have a separate class during the spring semester in which they will learn about how to do research and what it involves – from identifying and developing a research topic while at Entabeni Game Reserve, to doing a preliminary search for information about the topic, to preparing the field data collection, determining appropriate ways to collect data and the ethics about it, collecting data, doing data analysis, and putting together a presentation and writing a paper. This is an experimental session. If the course is successful it could become a completely separate course. The costs and accommodations are the same as for the African Field Ecology.

The Academics

Students will receive 4 credits for NRE 3305: African Field Ecology & Renewable Resource Management and 1 credit for NRE 3693 Foreign Study (4 credits for the spring semester and 1 credit for the summer). This study abroad experience is part of a regularly scheduled honors course that meets Wednesday from 7 to 9pm during the spring semester. The field study component takes place in the summer. This course also fulfills the general education requirement in Group 4 – Diversity and Multiculturism, international.

For more information please contact the instructor, Dr. Morty Ortega, Natural Resources and the Environment at

The Experience

Check out the video made by Cris Ortega and the UConn Today team.  Cris participated in the program during summer 2012.

Students will be immersed in the natural landscape by camping in tents during their entire field stay.  During the field course several modules are taught, although it varies from year to year.  They include:

  • First Aid in the wilderness (accredited by the America Heart Association)
  • Reptile introduction, snakebite treatment and snake handling
  • Track and sign, with a respective assessment accredited by FGASA (Field Guide Association of Southern Africa)
  • Ecology of Entabeni, which includes mostly birds and mammals
  • Ecology and biology of scorpions and spiders
  • Grassland management
  • Astronomy
  • Animal behavior
  • Caving
  • Elementary school visit

This course provides both an academic component at UConn and a field component in South Africa. The study abroad program is a crucial part of the overall course to deepen the student’s introduction to South African ecosystems, conservation, landscapes and natural resource management by providing experiential on-site training. This type of course is truly global in perspective and is instrumental in shaping the student as a global citizen. Through work locally and abroad students will gain awareness, responsibility and be involved in active participation which are all crucial in the creation of global citizens.


Students will be charged separately for the course (which takes place during the spring term) and the field component (taking place during the summer term). Click the link below for this program’s budget sheet, which outlines the costs of the summer field component. Please note that financial aid, other than certain scholarships, cannot be applied to the cost of the 1-credit summer portion of this program. Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits during the summer to be eligible for summer financial aid.

Budget Sheets: Summer
The Details

  • Location: Limpopo Province, South Africa
  • Terms: Summer
  • Homepage:

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 11/15/2017 11/22/2017 TBD TBD

Fact Sheet:

Class status: 1st Year, 2nd Year, 3rd Year, 4th+ Year Academic area: Environmental Studies, Sciences
Language of instruction: English Prior language study required:
Open to non-UConn students: Yes Required GPA: 2.5