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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Number of Credits Offered: 6 Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate
Type of Program: Faculty-led Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Management, Philosophy, Physics, Geography and Geoinformation Science, Honors, Conservation, Economics, Environmental Policy, Geographic Information Systems, Geography, Global Affairs
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Energy and Social Entrepreneurship

Brazil, Summer 2020


Program Overview

Countries around the globe, especially developing nations, struggle to meet their energy needs using both non-renewable and renewable energy sources while facing the increasing realities of climate change and environmental pressure. Brazil is the world’s seventh wealthiest economy and the largest country in both land area and population in Latin America.

Economically, Brazil experiences extreme regional differences with 23 Million people (> 10% of the population) still without access to electricity, a key driver of economic growth. Energy availability and cost in areas like Rio’s favelas, which have been historically plagued by extreme poverty, create barriers for economic development.

Brazil is well-endowed with fossil fuel reserves and hydroelectric yet systems are fragmented and at capacity. The favelas are looking at solar alternatives as a means of driving development and economic opportunity aided by social entrepreneurs like Insolar. In other parts of the country, hydroelectric power plays a major role in meeting Brazil's growing energy needs.

Program Highlights: 

  • The course begins with a 2-week introduction to Brazil's energy challenges, human-centered consulting, and the upcoming project.  These two weeks will be a combination of online sessions and two half-day workshops in Fairfax, VA (can be done remotely).
  • During the two weeks in Brazil, students will put their creativity and consulting skills to work collaborating with an energy social entrepreneur in one of Rio's favelas.
  • After a week in Rio collaborating with various energy companies and experiencing the sites and sounds of the city, students will travel to Iguazu where they will experience the power and beauty of Iguazu Falls while learning about hydroelectricity and its positive sustainability impacts.


All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.


6 Credits

Tentative Course Options

Undergraduate credits: BUS 491 (Foundations Special Topics)

Could be cross-listed with some or all of the following:
  • MGMT 454 (Social Impact and Entrepreneurship)
  • GLOA 480 (Study Abroad)
  • CONS 320 (Conservation in Practice)
  • MGMT 451 (Intro to Entrepreneurship)
  • EVPP 338 (Economics of Environmental Policy)
  • GGS 307 (Sustainable Development)
  • PHIL 243 (Global Environmental Ethics)
  • CLIM 101 (Global Warming)
  • EVPP 436 (Human Dimensions of Climate Change)
  • PHYS 331 (Fundamentals of Renewable Energy)
  • Econ 435 (Economics of Energy)
Graduate Credit: 
  • ITRN 702 
  • INTS 595 
  • MBA 797 
  • BMGT 695 

Academic Details

Hybrid course – the course will meet for 2 1/2 weeks online (synchronous sessions and asynchronous work), two weeks in country and ½ week online (synchronous session and asynchronous) wrap up. There will be two mandatory face-to-face ½ day workshops prior to departure. 

Tentative Program Dates: 

June 2 - June 13, 2020


Tentative Itinerary 

Day  City Country Activity
Day 1 Rio Brazil AM Walking tour of Copa and Ipanema, PM meeting with Insolar, Lecture: Energy&poverty'
Day 2 Rio Brazil AM Favela Tour, Afternoon meeting with LIGHT, Lecture: Design thinking
Day 3 Rio Brazil AM tour to Christ the Redeemer, Lecture: understanding Brazil's politics (guest speaker)
Day 4 Rio Brazil AM final touches on Presentations, PM presentations to Insolar, Lecture: giving great client presentations
Day 5 Rio Brazil All day workshop with Litro de Luz, Lecture: solving social problems through entrepreneurship
Day 6 Rio Brazil AM fieldtrip to Sugar Loaf, afternoon Capoiera class, Lecture: understanding Brazil's culture
Day 7 Rio/Iguazu Brazil Travel to Iguazu, Lecture: Brazil's renewable energy sector
Day 8 Iguazu Brazil AM trip to Iguazu Falls, afternoon trip to Itaipu, Lecture: bi-national agreements
Day 9 Rio/Iguazu Brazil AM visit to Eugen incubator, PM return to Rio. Lecture: the role of incubators in social entrepreneurship
Day 10 Rio Brazil AM visit to Petrobas, PM wrap-up and work session,  Lecture: Corruption and its impacts
Day 11 Rio Brazil Free day
Day 12   Brazil Travel back to US
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2020: $4,100 (undergrad) $4,312 (grad)

Included: Tuition for 6 credits, accommodations, entrance fees/tours/guides as described in itinerary, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Participants must arrange their own airfare, once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 22, 2020. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.​

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 19, 2020. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 8, 2020


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.Application requirements:* 

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

Name  Laura D’Antonio, PhD

GEO Program Administrator

Name Andrew Miller
Phone 703 993 5013

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 03/08/2020 ** Rolling Admission 06/02/2020 06/13/2020

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.