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  • Locations: Madre de Dios, Peru
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Field Station, Hotel Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:
Peru Primate

Primate Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation in Peru

This program runs every other year. Next application cycle will be Summer 2018.

Live in the Peruvian rainforest studying Primate Behavior, Ecology and Conservation! This immersive, three-week program is held at an active research station and gives hands-on research experience! This summer study abroad program will give students a hands-on opportunity to learn essential techniques in the field methodology to conduct research on primates in the wild, in a tropical rainforest setting. During the four week course, students will carry out current field methods in behavioral and ecological research on primates and conduct an independent research project on a primate species in the wild.  Primates are some of the most charismatic yet highly endangered vertebrate groups on the planet; nearly half of all primate species are threatened with extinction in the wild from effects of habitat destruction, wildlife trade, and bushmeat hunting. In the course, students will learn current conservation issues and solutions to mitigate decreasing primate populations in the wild. In addition, students will be able to network among in-country and external researchers and engage in local community efforts and collaboration in order to apply global conservation knowledge and skills more effectively. 

Program Details

Seeking Credits for the Following:

  • Anthropology (ANTH) 396: Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences
  • New Century Learning College (NCLC) 399: Study Abroad
  • Conservation (CONS) 497: Special Topics in Conservation
  • Environmental Science and Policy (EVPP) 490: Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy
  • Biology (BIOL) 440: Field Biology
  • Biology (BIOL) 435: Selected Topics in Biology
  • Environmental Science and Policy (EVPP) 505: Selected Topics in Environmental Science


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University. Non-students are welcome to apply, with space provided in priority to registered students.  Note: participants are expected to be in adequate physical condition and able to hike and walk within a tropical rainforest on a daily basis.
  • As this course is held in the Amazon rainforest, there are disease risks. There are no required vaccinations for travel to this site in Peru, but there are some recommendations from the CDC.
  • This is a remote field station, only accessible by boat. Students must be prepared to adjust to life in the humid, wet tropics with basic accommodations.
  • Due to the nature of the program space is limited, complete your application early in order to be enrolled.


Room and board at CICRA field station, two-nights lodging in Lima, and two-nights lodging in Puerto Maldonado.

Program Cost (Summer 2016): $3850. Summer 2017 program cost coming soon.

  • Tuition (6 credits)
  • Round-trip transportation from Puerto Maldonado to field station
  • Daily room and board at CICRA field station, including lodging in dorm-style room, meals 3x/day, and snacks
  • Accommodation in Puerto Maldonado and Lima
  • Instruction and training by an experienced faculty member
  • Guest lectures by researchers conducting long-term research at the field station
  • Cultural experience (tour and ruins) and two-nights lodging in Lima at beginning of course
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip international airfare
  • In-country flight to/from Puerto Maldonado
  • Required field equipment including binoculars, field notebooks, digital watch, rubber boots, headlamp (full equipment list will be provided upon request).
  • Other transportation
  • Personal spending

Program Itinerary*

Day 1 Group arrives in Lima, Peru. Overnight stay in Lima.
Day 2 All day excursions in Lima including a city tour with guide (3 hrs), visits to Pucllana Temple, markets, and museums.
Day 3 Flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. Day of exploration in Puerto Maldonado
Day 4 Depart Puerto Maldonado in private van for Laberinto port. CICRA boat departs from Laberinto port to arrive at CICRA station in time for lunch. Orientation to procedures, safety, and behavior at CICRA, course goals and course requirements followed by orientation to trail system and binocular use.
Day 5 Morning field experience: navigation in a tropical environment using GPS and compass.  Afternoon lab: overview of methods and applications for recording animal behavior.  Lecture: Introduction to Primatology.
Day 6 Morning field experience: techniques for identification of animal behavior. Afternoon lab: developing an ethogram (behavioral repertoire). Lecture: What is a primate?
Day 7 Morning field experience: methods of behavioral data collection.  Afternoon lab: analysis of behavioral data . Lecture: Finding and Processing Food.
Day 8 Morning field experience: food availability assessment. Afternoon lab: plant identification and creating voucher specimens . Lecture: primate life history theory.
Day 9 Free day. Optional hike to Oxbow lakes or tower climb
Day 10 Morning field experience: habitat assessment. Afternoon lab: monitoring and assessment techniques. Lecture: Community ecology.
Day 11 Morning field experience: behavioral data collection trials. Afternoon lab: course work proposal discussions. 
Day 12 Data collection in the field followed by a lecture on population survey techniques. 
Day 13 Data collection in the field followed by a lecture on major threats to primate populations.
Day 14 Morning field for data collection. Exam in the afternoon followed by lecture on conservation of Andean Titi Monkeys.
Day 15 Data collection in the field followed by a lecture on long-term research on Tamarins (Mini/Gideon).
Day 16 Data collection in the field followed by a lecture on conservation mitigations.
Day 17 Data collection in the field followed by a lecture on community-based conservation.
Day 18 Morning visit and hike to abandoned gold mining site. Data collection in the field in the afternoon followed by a lecture on complex problems in conservation.
Day 19 Group 1: Morning field trip to Los Amigos Conservation Concession (by boat)
Group 2: Analyze data and write-up final field project
Day 20 Group 1: Analyze data and write-up final field project
Group 2: Morning field trip to Los Amigos Conservation Concession (by boat)
Day 21 Oral presentation symposium
Day 22 Last day at CIRCA field station. Option hikes, pack gear, say goodbye to the monkeys and the rainforest.
Day 23 Depart CIRCA to arrive by boat in Laberinto. Transport to Puerto Maldonado for the night.
Day 24 Travel back to the US

*Instructor reserves the right to modify the course schedule if needed

Contact Information

Program Officer

Denise Elles-Mdahuar

Academic Director

Anneke DeLuycker

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.