Through the SIT: Madagascar Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management program, Whitman students can study ecology in Madagascar, an island nation that has had a unique evolutionary path.  Using natural and social scientific research methods, students analyze environmental issues in an array of ecosystems, including rainforests, dry spiny forests, savanna, gallery and littoral forests, mangroves, and coral reefs.  Students study French and Malagasy and look at long-term conservation and development needs of local populations.

"This program opened my eyes to a whole host of conservation issues in the global south, incredible personal experiences, and lots of fun. Great new friendships were made, and everyone left the program changed for the better.” - Rosemary F. '17

Student Blog:

Amanda Champion | Spring 2018

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Kate Jackson, Department of Biology

Fields of study:

Biology and environmental studies


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement); ability to live in a culture very different from one’s own and to adjust to the living conditions of the developing world.  Previous coursework in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields.

Language Prerequisite:

Three recent semesters of college-level French or equivalent, and the ability to follow coursework in French. 


16 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management Seminar (3 credits)
French for Natural Sciences (3 credits)
Malagasy Language (3 credits)
Environmental Research Methods and Ethics (3 credits)
Independent Study Project (ISP) (4 credits) or Internship and Seminar (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 SIT credit = 1 Whitman credit


Students choose between an ISP and an Internship. Internships may deal with local, national, or international issues, on topics as diverse as natural resource management, conservation, scientific research, environmental advocacy, education, community development, industrial food production, or sustainable agriculture.


Homestay in Antalaha throughout time at the program center. One week homestay in a rural village. Other accommodations during the program include campsites and small hotels.


All meals for the entire program period are covered either by SIT directly, or through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


late August – December, January – May


Rolling Admission – students are encouraged to apply early.


SIT Study Abroad Scholarships

Program Link:

SIT: Madagascar Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management