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.

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. 

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


September – December, January – May


17 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management Seminar (3 credits)
French for Natural Sciences (3 credits)
Intensive Malagasy Language (2 credits)
Environmental Field Study Seminar (3 credits)
Independent Study Project (ISP) (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 SIT credit = 1 Whitman credit


One month homestay in Fort Dauphin and one week homestay in a rural village.  Other accommodations during the program include hostels, campsites, or 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.




Rolling Admission – students are encouraged to apply early.


SIT Study Abroad Scholarships

Program Link:

SIT: Madagascar Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management