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  • Locations: Antananarivo, Madagascar; Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Biology, Environmental Science Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Marine Mammalogy in South Africa

South Africa, Summer 2021

South Africa, Madagascar

Program Overview

Want to go to the best place on the planet to learn about marine mammals? To a place where you can see Right whales, Humpback whales, FIVE species of dolphins (including THE KILLER WHALE), and fur seals! To a place where you can explore these species today (weekly on the water) and in their past (fossil beds). To a place where you can get on the ground experience in the field ranging from how to monitor behavior to how to look for causes of death when animals strand. Then sign up now for Marine Mammals in South Africa/Madagascar!

Program Highlights: 

  • Study all aspects of marine mammals, including evolution, classification, anatomy/physiology, behavior and conservation
  • Travel to the field each week near Cape Town, South Africa (home base) to learn about these species in person (to observe Right Whales, dolphins and fur seals).
  • Our last week we will travel to Isle St. Marie (MADAGASCAR) to see Humpback whales that migrate there to calve and breed in July and August.
  • Opportunities will also include visits from local conservation managers/researchers, visiting marine mammal fossil beds, and if stranding’s occur, the chance to view and participate in necropsies.


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

Prerequisites: General Biology

However, those without a science background may be able to take the course given approval from the instructor.


6 Credits

Tentative Course Options

Undergraduate credits:
  • Integrative Studies - INTS 399: Study Abroad (3 credits)
AND one of the following 
  • Environmental Science and Policy - EVPP 490: Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy (3 credits)
  • Biology - BIOL 440: Field Biology (3 credits)

Tentative Program Dates: 

July 11 - August 15, 2021 (subject to change)

Tentative Itinerary 

July 11 Arrival in Antananarivo, Madagascar          
July 12 Lecture in Antananarivo, Madagascar
July 13 Lecture in Antananarivo, Madagascar
July 14 Field trip to Andasibe National Park, Madagascar
July 15 Field trip to Perinet National Park, Madagascar
July 16 Excursion to Isle St. Marie, Madagascar
July 17 Tentative free day
July 18 Tentative free day
July 19 Whale Watching in Isle St. Marie, Madagascar
July 20 Return to Tamatave, Madagascar
July 21 Return to Antananarivo, Madagascar
July 22 Tentative free day
July 23 Travel to Johannesburg 
July 24 Travel to Capetown 
July 25 Travel to Hermanus
July 26 Excursion to see Southern Right Whales in Hermanus
July 27 Midterm and Lecture in Hermanus
July 28 Lecture in Hermanus
July 29 Lecture in Hermanus
July 30 Tentative free day
July 31 Tentative free day
August 1 Return to Capetown
August 2 Lecture in Capetown
August 3 Excursion to see Pinnipeds in Capetown
August 4 Lecture in Capetown
August 5 Lecture in Capetown
August 6 Travel to Port Elizabeth
August 7 Whale watching in Port Elizabeth
August 8  Tentative free day
August 9 Lecture in Port Elizabeth
August 10 Lecture in Port Elizabeth
August 11 Lecture in Port Elizabeth
August 12 Return to Capetown
August 13 Final Exam
August 14 Tentative free day
August 15 Depart 
 * 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 2021: $5200

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.

  • 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, COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure, COVID-19 testing while abroad, meals, required textbooks and/or course materials.

*Note:  This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email. The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights and/or costs associated with arriving prior to the start of the program.
When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance. 


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. All payments and charges are reflected in the student’s Mason Student Account.

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 20, 2021. 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 10, 2021. 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 Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" and "Intent to Use VA Benefits" forms are available in the MasonAbroad application system once the office of financial aid can review aid for this program. 

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:

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 10, 2021


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.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline. The Office of Financial Aid is unable to assess if a student will have aid available for summer until mid to late February.

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

  Jennifer Lewis
Name Jennifer Lewis

GEO Program Administrator

Name Brittany Samko
Phone 703-993-2155

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.