The program curriculum and research agenda address issues related to modernization in Bhutan: the support of rural livelihoods and the conservation of biodiversity in the face of a changing society and landscape. By getting to know the local and national institutions that contribute to the management and governance of environmental resources, students gain an appreciation of the complexity of identifying and addressing conservation issues in a developing region.
The semester curriculum comprises three thematic components, all centered on the environment:
People’s relationship with nature
Democratization, governance, and rural development
Ecology, conservation, and resource management
Explore Thimphu—the only capital city in the world without traffic lights—and experience the friendly people of Bhutan while engaging the senses visiting shops, temples, and market stands
Visit some of the most influential and inspiring places of Buddhist worship in the Kingdom including Taktsang Dzong (Tiger’s Nest Monastery), as well as Trongsa Dzong and Punakha Dzong
Participate in a multi-day trek through villages, old-growth forests, and riverine ecosystems up to 14,000 feet above sea level
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.