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Study Abroad

TBI - Origins Field School

  • About the Program

    About the Program

    This field school, offered during both Fall and Spring semesters, is designed for students with an interest in Africa, science, and the essence of what makes us human. The Turkana Basin region, made famous over the past five decades through the work of Richard, Meave and Louise Leakey, has produced much of the world's most important fossil and archaeological evidence for human evolution. Our program addresses the place that humans occupy in the natural world and how they came to occupy that place. It offers fifteen upper-division or graduate credits in geology, ecology, vertebrate paleontology and paleoecology, human evolution, and archaeology.

    Location Turkwel, Kenya
    Program Type Faculty-Led Program
    Program Term Fall, Spring
    Program Dates Fall 2019: ~September 3 - November 17

    Spring 2020: TBD

    Additional Information Faculty-Led study abroad programs may require group travel. Please reach out to your IAP Coordinator prior to making any travel arrangements.

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  • Program Details

    Course of Study

    • Ecology: Linking People and Nature (ANP 304/ANT 504) - Study the habitats of our early ancestors by examining analogous modern ecosystems.
    • Sedimentary Geology and Geochronology (GEO 303/504) - A survey of the sedimentation, stratigraphy, volcanism, and tectonics of the area, which will include training in field methods.
    • Earth & Life Through Time (ANP 305/ANT 505) - Glean information from vertebrate fossils about the appearance, evolution, and causes of extinction of major organisms.
    • Human Evolution (ANP 306/ANT 506) - Lectures by senior paleoanthropologists, laboratory exercises using casts of important finds, and field trips to discovery locations.
    • Prehistoric Archaeology of Africa (ANT 307/507) - Examine evidence for three million+ years of hominin technological adaptations around Lake Turkana, home to the world’s oldest stone tools.
    • Optional: Independent Study (ANP/ANT 487 or ANT 610)

    All participants following the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) can request GLO and EXP+ in addition to requirement(s) fulfilled by their coursework.

    Graduate courses are now available, please email for more information.

    Program Details

    Language of Instruction English
    Language Proficiency N/A
    Program Term Fall, Spring
    Living Arrangements

    The Origins Semester Field School program is based at TBI’s Ileret and Turkwel campuses, built respectively on the east and west sides of beautiful Lake Turkana. Students live in comfortable, safe, dormitory-style quarters. Clean water, showers, flushing toilets and electricity are provided, as are mosquito nets, towels and bedding. Internet and cell phone service is available.

    Meals served are fresh and varied, and very healthy. Vegetarian options are made available.

    The Ileret campus is situated on the northeastern shore of Lake Turkana, and provides access to the fossil collection areas where Richard and Meave Leakey launched their groundbreaking hominin research in the 1960s and 70s. In this region live the pastoral Dassanatch people, often seen herding their goats around the lake, who are employed locally as lab technicians and essential camp staff.

    The Turkwel campus is located southwest of the lake, overlooking the picturesque Turkwel River, and is a relatively short drive away from important fossil and archaeological sites such as Lothagam, South Turkwel, and Nariokotome, where the famous Turkana Boy skeleton was discovered. This is the land of the Turkana people, after whom the lake was named. Like the Dassanatch, they are seen regularly herding their camels nearby, and are indispensable around camp as skilled specialists and support staff .

    Program Housing Statement: Stony Brook University is required to comply with the housing policies of the host country, partner institution and/or hotel/hostel. These policies may include requirements such as sex-based housing placement.

    Additional Information

    Credits earned on this program will calculate toward a student's GPA at Stony Brook University. Non-SBU students are advised to check their home university policy on grade and credit transfer.

    Student Feedback

    “Take advantage of every opportunity you can through this program, the professors are amazing, the landscape and surrounding deposits are some of the best in the world” -   Participant, Spring 2011 Semester

    “Enjoy the delicious food, the lectures, movie nights, fossil hunting sessions and camping nights. The field school ends so soon.” -  Participant, Fall 2016 Semester'

    “Even if it's going to be really hot and intense, it will be one of the best and enlightening experiences in your life.” -  Participant, Spring 2017 Semester

  • Requirements


    GPA 2.0 GPA or higher
    Other Requirements
    Rutgers University, University College London and American University students are required to apply using this link. 

    The Turkana Basin Institute has developed partnerships with these institutions to provide their students unique experiences in Kenya. Please contact the Program Director for more details.

    Application Deadline

    Fall 2019: May 1 (extended to JUNE 1)

    Spring 2020: October 15

    Students are encouraged to apply early as applicants are accepted on a rolling basis.

    Candidates may be interviewed to determine their qualifications for participating and representing Stony Brook University abroad.
  • Program Cost

    Program Cost

    Application Fee $60
    Tuition Rate $ 3,435 per semester for NY residents

    $12,270 per semester for non-residents
    Program Fee

    $6,500 per semester 

    Administrative Fee $200 (non-refundable)
    International Health Insurance $55 per month approximately
    Other Fees Vaccinations as per travel doctor, visa fee of $50
    Travel Costs Estimated Airfare: $1,500. All student participants will travel together to the study abroad site. Students who are unable to abide by this must get the program's permission prior to booking flight. Students should wait for flight details prior to making travel arrangements.   
    Costs are estimates for planning purposes of the student and are subject to change at any point

    Cost Comparison: The average cost for a full time Stony Brook Student including tuition, insurance, housing, and meal plan is approximately $10,445 in-state and $15,735 out-of-state

  • Apply

Academic Year Programs

Academic Year Programs