Field Course: Uganda 2024

Course Dates: 
10 July – 9 August 2024

Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda

Application Deadline:
Midnight Sunday 17 March 2024

The Tropical Biology Association field courses provide practical training and a valuable foundation on which to build a career in conservation. Taking place in the habitats that need conserving, the courses teach new skills and valuable experience in designing and carrying out research in an international setting. We run our courses in collaboration with conservation and research institutions in Africa, ensuring they cover priority topics that are relevant. More information about our field courses is here.

The 2024 Tropical Biology Association field course will take place in Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda. Students from Africa and elsewhere in the world will be based for four weeks at Makerere University Biological Field Station. Additionally, and as well as the time at Kibale, the course will include an online element using the Tropical Biology Association’s virtual learning environment.

More Information

Theme: Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation

Cohort Size: 24 participants

Teaching Level: MSc

Duration: 27 days on site

Price: £1400

Students from member institutions pay a reduced fee

Scholarships are available. 

Minimum academic requirement: Completed 3 years of a biological degree as well as proficient in spoken and written English.

The Learning Environment at Kibale

The course will be based at the Makerere University Biological Field Station in the north of Kibale Forest. The field station hosts field trips as well as researchers working in the forest throughout the year. It lies 20 km from the provincial capital Fort Portal, our nearest town with market, post office, bank, etc. You will sleep in a four-bed dormitory and share common washing facilities. The station has a communal eating area and veranda, a library, and a laboratory.

Kibale Forest National Park covers nearly 800 km2 and lies in western Uganda. The habitat has been classified as a moist evergreen forest which has strong affinities with both montane forest and mixed tropical deciduous forest. Kibale Forest has the highest density of primates anywhere in the world (11 species, including chimpanzees, Uganda red colobus, black and white colobus, blue monkeys, red-tail monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkey, grey-cheeked mangabeys and three species of prosimian), and over 300 birds have been recorded. The insect life has not been described adequately — yet. An estimated 229 tree species are found in the Park, and reach over 55 m in height forming a semi-closed canopy.

The first week of the course introduces Kibale’s flora and fauna during identification workshops and field exercises. Evening lectures and seminars cover selected topics in tropical ecology, focusing on the expertise of the teaching staff present. There will also be short excursions to nearby projects and different habitat types. The remainder of the course is devoted to independent research projects carried out in pairs. Projects are written up in full and presented to the class as short research papers. Evening lectures and research talks continue throughout.

The course includes an excursion to a different habitat.

What We Cover

Course Topics

We teach transferrable skills – but we will also focus on

  • Forest ecology and conservation
  • Plant-animal interactions
  • Animal behaviour and interactions
  • Stakeholder engagement for successful conservation
  • Field research techniques
  • Research project design
  • Scientific writing

All of these will be taught by our world-class course teachers, including both local and international experts. 

Additional Online Access

This year we are also opening up our virtual learning environment to you before the course. Come and learn about tropical forests and get prepared for an amazing field course.

  • Browse and interact with some great content that will set the scene for your arrival at Kibale
  • Meet the group and learn about their interests
  • Access the course resources

Course costs

Participants from TBA member organisations pay a reduced rate of £1000. This covers internal transport to and from the field site, accommodation, subsistence and course fees. It does not include airfares, insurance and visa costs.

The course fee for participants from non-members is £1400. If your institution is not currently a member, why not ask them to join? Applicants from member organisations also receive priority for course places.

All successful European and UK applicants can apply for a British Ecology Society scholarship (approximately £400).

African applicants may apply for a limited number of full or partial scholarships. These contribute to course costs which include course fees or tuition, national travel, accommodation and subsistence costs as well as the costs of international travel to and from the rendezvous location.

Priority for places will be given to outstanding applicants but we will also take into consideration those who can raise full or part of their participation costs (i.e. course fees and travel costs). We would strongly encourage you to look for funding from grants, foundations or your organisation, and we will be willing to provide letter of support towards your applications.

How and when to apply

Who should apply

Courses are designed for early career scientists, with teaching pitched at post-graduate level. Applicants must hold a biological degree by the course start date – or have completed at least 3 years of a biological degree course.

All applications must be made via our online application form and be supported by two TBA Field Courses_Reference Form (which must be completed and returned via this TBA Field Courses_Reference Form).

The application deadline is midnight on Sunday 17 March 2024.

You can only attend one course, but you may apply in successive years if not selected.

Here is a link to a PDF version of the SurveyMonkey TBA Field Course application form – please use this as a guide to help you consider your responses to the questions. You could then pre-write these and copy and paste the answers across when you login to apply.

More Information

If you have questions, contact the Course Coordinators:

Each application will be assessed on its own merits. Successful applicants will be contacted in order to help them to prepare for the course.

What Our Students Say

“The TBA course has given me an amazing introduction to tropical biology and conservation, and that has inspired me to continue working in tropical areas in the future.”

Anna Ahlberg, Sweden

“The opportunity to work in a real-world setting allowed me to refine my field skills and gain the confidence needed to conduct ecological research independently.”

Purity Njambi, Kenya