Smithsonian-Mason Semester in Conservation Studies

  • VA


1500 Remount Road
Front Royal
United States

About Us

Exploring the conservation world beyond classrooms and books

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation is proud to offer two 16-credit programs for undergraduates committed to the study of conservation. Each semester-long program, Applied Conservation Strategies and Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices, offers five integrated courses that include a work experience with researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) as well as classes focusing on conservation theory and applications. The Semester in Applied Conservation Strategies focuses on the scientific, sociopolitical and economic root causes of conservation issues and ways in which science informs management and policy. Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices emphasizes the application of ecological theory to the study of conservation and methods for successfully communicating about threats to species. Both semesters extensively host guest lectures and field exercises with professional conservation researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Our new academic and dorm facilities provide a state-of-the-art learning environment. During the Semester, students live in a close-knit academic community that emphasizes active learning, teamwork, hands-on field experience, public communication and case studies, preparing them for conservation-related professions and graduate study.

These unique programs are open to upper-level and post-baccalaureate students from any college or university. Students should have completed a minimum of 45 credits of college course work, and be committed to the practice of conservation. In addition, for the Semester in Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices, students should have completed at least one upper-level ecology course. Semester programs may be taken individually or in consecutive semesters. A federal background check is required.