Home > All Programs > Academic Year/Semester > Madagascar

Date: September 10 - November 27

Program Description

Stony Brook University, a leader in primatology, ecology and evolution and sustainability studies offers an undergraduate Study Abroad program in Madagascar led by Dr. Patricia Wright McArthurfellow. Student participants may enroll in up to four courses and earn up to fifteen credits. Courses will be offered by resident and visiting scholars of Ornithology, Entomology, Ichthyology, Limnology, Botany, Anthropology, Zoology and Primatology.

Students study and conduct research alongside Malagasy and other international students at the research station with guidance from field course instructors. Independent research will contribute to the understanding of the bio-dynamics of the Ranomafana National Park and the linkage between the park and the indigenous population.

Find out more about our distinguished faculty, Dr. Patricia Wright.

Or for more information about the program, click here.

Why Madagascar?

Ranomafana National Park (RNP), a large area of primary rain forest in southeastern Madagascar, was established in 1991. Dr. Patricia Wright, ICTE and Study Abroad Program Director, paved the way for the Park's creation by the discovery of a previously unknown primate, the golden bamboo lemur (Hapalemur aureus), in 1986.

Considered a "Megadiversity" country, Madagascar is among the world's most biologically diverse places with incredibly high levels of endemic plants and animals. Nearly 80% of its plants and over 90% of its animals are found nowhere else on earth. This diversity makes this island continent a natural laboratory of evolution filled with extraordinary opportunities for ecological research.

RNP is home to 13 lemur species; several of which are extremely rare. The park contains over one third of Madagascar's birds, rare carnivores, amphibians, and reptiles including the world's smallest chameleon. The lush vegetation contains most of Madagascar's endemic plant families. Rapid population growth combined with extreme poverty threatens these unique natural assets. There is an urgent need to study Madagascar's biodiversity, not the least of which is to learn how to best conserve it for future generations. Participants will be part of the research and conservation measures needed to assure the future of Madagascar's unique cultural heritage. 

Undergraduate Courses Offered

Students will take all four of the following for a total of 15 credits:

  • ANP 307 Comparing Ecosystems in MadagascarThis course explores the biology, ecology, social behavior, and conservation of Madagascar’s lemurs. We will discuss case studies based on current field and captive research, in this way highlighting important principles in behavior and ecology. Critical thinking on current topics in general primate behavior will be emphasized through various discussion formats. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to conservation threats that menace the well-being of lemurs today.
  • ANP 326 Lemurs of Madagascar A cross-country trip will provide students with the opportunity to examine and compare ecosystems as diverse as rainforest, dry deciduous forest, spiny desert, mangrove swamps and coral reefs. At each stop, students will learn about the evolutionary adaptations that make the region unique and current conservation threats to local biodiversity.
  • ANP 391 Topics in Physical Anthropology: An Introduction to Field MethodsStudents will learn the methods used by field biologists to study biodiversity within a tropical forest. Instruction will include exposure to techniques such as: behavioral sampling of non-human primates, mist netting understory birds, stream ecology assessment, botanical sampling methods, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, small mammal trapping, herpetological assessments, and field applications for geographical information technology.
  • ANP or ANT 487 Independent Study: Research in Biology, Natural History, or Anthropology (both Cultural and Physical)Students will design and execute an independent research project on the topic of their choice. This usually involves collecting and analyzing data, which is then presented to peers, professors, and visitors at Centre ValBio. Students in the past have conducted projects focusing on topics such as primates, reptiles, amphibians, conservation, culture, sustainability, and more.

Mandatory Orientation

The program begins with a one day orientation on the Stony Brook University campus before students travel as a group to Madagascar. (Campus housing can be arranged for non-resident students during this orientation period.)

Living Arrangements

Students will stay at the newly-built residence halls in RNP. Meals are provided in the central dining facility. Courses are conducted in buildings associated with the research station and in the forest proper. 

Health Insurance

International health insurance through SBU’s provider, HTH Worldwide, is mandatory for all participants.


  • Language proficiency is NOT required.
  • All undergraduate students in good academic standing may apply.
Program Costs

Administrative Fee: $200
Tuition: $2,935 per semester for NY residents, $8,905 per semester for non-residents
Program Fee per semester: $6,500 (includes housing, three meals per day, and group excursions)
International Health Insurance Fee: TBA
Airfare: Airfare varies, but students can expect to pay $2,100-$2,600. All participants will fly as a group with the program director. Flights will be organized by ICTE, and upon acceptance, students will be given the necessary flight information and will purchase tickets individually. Students are encouraged to pay as soon as the flight information becomes available.
Spending Money:It is suggested that students bring at least $300 personal spending money. A list of all necessary personal camping supplies and text books will be provided but not included in the program fee.

Application Deadline

  • Application deadline is May 15.
  • Applicants are notified of an admissions decision on a rolling basis, so the sooner one applies, the sooner one can receive a decision!
  • Late applications considered at the Program Director’s discretion.
Apply Now


Erin Achilles
Study Abroad Coordinator
Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments
SBS Building, 5th Floor, Room N-541
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364
(631) 632-7813 

Jennifer Green

Study Abroad Advisor
International Academic Programs
E1340 Melville Library
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3397
(631) 632-7030