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  • Locations: Jakar, Bhutan
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Field Studies 
  • Restrictions: UMass Amherst applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Advisor: Candice Snowden Fields of Study: Anthropology, Biology, Earth Systems, Environmental Sciences, Geography, International Relations, Natural Resources Conservation, Philosophy, Resource Economics, Sociology
Program Options: Independent Study, Undergraduate Research Key Word Search: Asian Studies, Culture Studies, Ecotourism, Experiential Learning, Interdisciplinary
Language(s) of Instruction: English Minimum GPA: 2.8
Program Provider: SFS Program Type: Study Abroad
In Classes With: All US Students Minimum Class Standing: 2nd Sem Sophomore, Freshman, Grad Student, Junior, Senior
Housing: Residence Hall
Program Description:




  • Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
  • Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
  • Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


Nestled in the remote and rugged eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is characterized by extensive mountain ranges and valleys and is modernizing rapidly. Learn about how Bhutan strives to secure its rich culture and biodiversity in the face of change. Examine Bhutanese culture and environments, and rapid development in the midst of rural-urban transition. Trek through villages to experience culture, Buddhist philosophy, and environmental issues, while getting first-hand knowledge of local ecosystems and rural livelihoods. Develop skills in assessing environmental issues, defining research questions, conducting field research, and communicating results.


  • Forest ecology and conservation
  • Community forest management
  • Land tenure and land-use changes
  • Valuation of natural resources
  • Geology and hydrology of mountain regions
  • Influence of Buddhist philosophy in conservation practices
  • Small nation environmental governance
  • Drivers of rural to urban migration


  • Explore Phobjikha Valley, an important wetland for the globally threatened black-necked crane
  • Study traditional agricultural systems, and assess how development affects the agroecosystem and rural household economies
  • Explore unique flora and fauna within lower-elevation subtropical Himalayan broadleaf forests
  • Pursue socioeconomic research to assess how development in the Kingdom has influenced diverse livelihoods
  • Visit monasteries to learn about the role of Buddhism in Bhutanese society and culture, especially as it relates to the environment and national happiness  


Through Directed Research (DR)—as opposed to basic, applied, or independent research—students conduct research on a specific topic that is part of the SFS Center’s long-term strategic research plan, which has been developed in partnership with local community stakeholders and clients.

The course, taught by resident SFS faculty, provides students with the opportunity to apply the scientific process in a mentored field research project that addresses a local environmental issue. Through the DR project, students contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.




Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year UMass/IPO Application Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 12/01/2018 ** Varies TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admissions.

If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.