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Program Overview | Academics | Program Calendar | Program Fee | More Information

Drexel Summer Break in Cameroon: Biodiversity & Conservation

Cameroon landscape

Program Overview

This course will take place at the Ganga Chimpanzee Research Station at Mbam & Djerem National Park in Cameroon. Mbam & Djerem is a rich quilt of savanna, woodland and forest habitats that is home to some of the planet’s most iconic wildlife: elephants, buffalo, warthog, red river hog, kob, bongos, hippopotamus, and 13 species of primates. The Park is home to about 1,000 chimpanzees. Among the National Parks of Cameroon, Mbam & Djerem is one of the most intact and best managed, having benefitted enormously from responsible shared management, relatively frequent anti-poaching patrols and biological monitoring carried out by a small but dedicated team MINFOF and WCS personnel. The impacts of these efforts on the local wildlife are obvious. Over the last decade, Mbam & Djerem has transformed from a place where hunting signs were once commonly observed and into a place where chimpanzees and other rare wildlife are commonly heard and seen – and at Ganga – chimpanzees show little fear of humans – a testament to the impact of effective conservation measures over the years.

Because of the nature of this course, students will not only be given tropical field research training, but also be given the opportunity to participate in a partially-funded research project in Cameroon.

  1. Design an independent research project in tropical ecology focused on chimpanzees or other large mammals.
  2. Collect data and analyze results
  3. Write a report in the format of a scientific publication summarizing the aims, methods, results and conclusions of the research project
  4. Present project findings to participants and instructors at the end of the course

By participating in this program, students will:

  • Understand the basic principles of conservation biology and evaluate how these principles are applied to problems in conservation.
  • Read the assigned literature and be able to critically assess the key concepts in a discussion and written format.
  • Demonstrate how to research data, work through spread-sheet exercises and manipulate software applicable to solving conservation problems.
  • Co-design an original research project and work effectively as a team member in a group environment.
  • Demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate research findings and key concepts through both oral and written presentation.


Credit/Registration: Drexel students will be registered for BIO 499 Special Topics, 2 credits during the Spring 2019 term.

Suggested Pre-requisite: All students are suggested to have taken at least one college level French course, but preferably more. Course instruction will be in English.

Preparatory seminar
All U.S., Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea undergraduate participants will be required to participate in a mandatory 1-3 week online seminar prior to the commencement of the program.  For 2019, the seminar is scheduled to begin at the end of May-- students will be able to attend either virtually or in person. Topics covered include tropical field ecology and conservation research, health and safety guidelines, French language training, vaccinations and visa/passport issues. U.S., Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea students will also be placed into research teams and encouraged to get to know one another via Skype.

Instructors: This course will be taught by faculty from the US and Cameroon.

Program CalendarCameroon group 2

Depart US: July 5, 2019
Arrive Cameroon: July 6, 2019
Depart Cameroon: July 27, 2019

Students will be provided with more details, including flight information, closer to the departure date.

Experience Overview

Location: This course includes activities at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), International Bilingual Academy of Yaoundé (IBAY-SUP) and Regional Centre for Special Education in Agriculture and Forestry (CRESA) in Yaoundé, Cameroon, the Njuma research station of the Ebo Forest Research Project (EFRP) in the Ebo Forest, and the training center of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at Mbam and Djerem National Park.
Program logistics: All students will spend the first three days of the program attending classroom-based lectures, literature discussions and guided seminars focused around the development of their team research project in Yaoundé. The entire class and instructors will then travel to the WCS training center at Mbam &Djerem National Park for ten days. During this time, students will be expected to collect field data in teams and organize their data for analysis. All students will be expected to keep a field log while they are at Mbam et Djerem. Students will then return to Yaoundé to analyze their data, present their research findings and write up their project report.

Accommodation: While in Yaoundé, students will be housed at Drexel’s facility in Cameroon which is within easy reach of the IITA & IBAY-SUP campuses. At the Ganga Chimpanzee Research station, students will stay in tents.  
Travel: Students arriving from the U.S. will arrive at Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport.  A flight itinerary will be provided to students upon acceptance into the program. US students should arrive in Yaoundé no later than the evening of July 6th and plan on leaving Yaoundé no earlier than the evening of July 27th.
Visa: US students are also expected to be in possession of a valid passport, required Cameroon visa and take all required vaccinations prior to travel.  While in Cameroon students will need to take appropriate malaria medication.

$500 Commitment Fee

A $500 Advance Payment is due with application. This payment will be refunded if not accepted into the program. Accepted students will be refunded the payment upon completion of the program.

This course is partly-funded by a United States Fish and Wildlife Service Great Ape Conservation Grant.  Participating students will have in-country costs funded by the grant. Without this subsidy, the actual program cost would be over $4500 per student.

Covered by Great Ape Conservation Grant (Estimated $1,800):

  • On-site lodging
  • Meals
  • In country transport
  • Program activities

Out of Pocket Expenses (Estimated $2,750):

  • US/Cameroon round-trip flight subsidy up to $1,800
  • Cost for a visa for travel to Cameroon of up to $150
  • Passport $140
  • Vaccinations $160
  • Spending money $200
  • Other expenses $100

More Information

  • Students will be provided a flight itinerary and will be responsible for booking their own flight.
  • Students should review all vaccination requirements for travel to Cameroon with their healthcare provider. Currently, according to the CDC, required vaccines for Cameroon include Hepatitis A and Typhoid as well as standard childhood vaccines of polio and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) . Students do NOT need a Yellow Fever vaccine unless they are traveling from a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission, however students are strongly encouraged to get a Yellow Fever vaccination if available from their healthcare provider. Malaria prophylactics are required, but we advise against Larium unless specifically recommended by your healthcare provider. Please ask your healthcare provider to indicate evidence of all vaccinations on your Yellow Card. Students should plan ahead for immunizations and should reach out to Education Abroad with any questions or concerns about this.
  • Participants should be in good physical health and prepared for extensive physical activity at times during this experience. Given the remote nature of the field camp, there may also be some limitations in food choice. Students with particular dietary needs should discuss this with Education Abroad prior to applying.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2021 02/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** See NOTE Above*