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Sustainable Development Studies

Program Overview and Courses

Open to any major, Sustainable Development Studies: Thailand is an opportunity for hands-on learning directly from the people involved in creating a more sustainable world.

Our unique Expedition Field Courses travel and study throughout Thailand, from remote hill tribe villages in the North to the islands in the South. Expedition Field Courses are hands-on learning — assignments include everything from a coral reef survey to ethnographic research. Students live with local families, and backpack, sea kayak and travel through the landscapes they are studying.

The Sustainable Development Studies: Thailand is a semester long program available in the Fall and Spring. For a detailed schedule, please view our calendar. To learn more about the components of this program visit the pages on each course.

The semester schedule

The Sustainable Development Studies Semester is taught on the “Block Plan” with one course per block.

Block 1: Thai Language and Society is 5 weeks long.  Language classes start on the first day, and continue throughout the semester when students are in Chiang Mai. The first week focuses on orientation and preparing for the semester, with weeks 2-4 focused on seminars.  Experiential field studies happen throughout the block, with time off-campus studying Thai society, development and culture.

Expedition Field Courses (Blocks 2-4)

Blocks 2-4 are “Expedition Field Courses” where the majority of time is spent in the field studying the topic experientially.  Week 1 is at the Institute with seminars on the theory and context of the course.  Weeks 2, 3 and 4 are in the field.  Half way through the field section of the course there is a mid-course seminar, and the final seminar (and final exam) is at the end of Week 4.

Block 2: Sustainable Food Systems is 4 weeks long.  Language classes are in the morning with seminars in the afternoon of the first week. Weeks 2-4 are in small holder farming villages learning directly from experts in organic farming, organic polycultures and small scale agroecology.

Block 3: Political Ecology of Forests is 4 weeks long. Language classes are in the morning with seminars in the afternoon of the first week. Weeks 2-4 are spent backpacking and hiking through the remote villages of Mae Hong Son, learning directly from the Karen upland communities about forest management and ecology.

Block 4: Culture and Ecology of the Andaman is 4 weeks long. Language classes are in the morning with seminars in the afternoon of the first week. Weeks 2-4 are spent studying reef ecology and resource conservation in the Adang Archipelago, as well as studies of mangroves and sea grass ecosystems. A highlight of the course is skin diving and snorkeling the coral reefs, sea grass beds and mangroves, as well as sea kayaking, camping and home stays.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who are considering applying to the program are encouraged to contact us at [email protected] so we can keep you up to date on the admissions process and scholarship opportunities.

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Semester format

Block 1: Thai Language and Society

Block 2: Sustainable Food Systems

Block 3: Political Ecology of Forests

Block 4: Culture and Ecology of the Andaman

Courses

Thai Language and Society

Sustainable Food Systems

Political Ecology of Forests

Culture and Ecology of the Andaman

Credits

18 Semester hours

Application Deadlines

Fall deadline: March 15

Spring deadline: October 12

Courses

"My semester challenged me to define my beliefs and future goals, but most importantly, taught me to embrace living completely present in the moments and experiences of each day."

Kathleen J. | Fall, 2013

Learn More

Deadlines

Fall Semester: March 15  |  Spring Semester: October 12

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