Field Course: Uganda 2023
28 July – 24 August 2023
Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda
Midnight 16 April 2023
The 2023 Tropical Biology Association field course will be based at Makerere University Biological Field Station, in Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda. Students from Africa and elsewhere in the world will stay there for almost four weeks, with world-class tutors.
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 .
Theme: Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation
Cohort Size: 24 participants
Teaching Level: MSc
Duration: 26 days on site
Price: £1400 but students from member institutions pay a reduced fee, and scholarships are available – read the Application Information on our Field Courses Information page.
Minimum academic requirement: Completed 3 years of a biological degree as well as proficient in spoken and written English.
The Tropical Biology Association Factor
We are a skills training NGO that puts young people at the heart of conservation, giving them the skills and support they need to be effective and make a real impact. No other field course is as multi-cultural, we bring together equal numbers of participants from Africa the rest of the world – this creates a diverse and inclusive forum for sharing experiences and future collaboration. Our course graduates use what they have learned to make a tangible difference on the ground for both nature and people.
Experience World Class Teaching
We are privileged to work with many inspiring teachers from around the world and within Uganda, and the course is uniquely tailored to the expertise of these international and local teachers. You will learn about the local flora and flora, tropical conservation issues, practice survey methodologies and ways to analyse and interpret your data. Throughout the course there will be lectures and discussions that cover a host of topics based on tropical forest ecosystems. You will design your own project, seeing it all the way through from implementation, analysis, to writing this up as a scientific paper. Throughout this process you will be personally supervised to ensure you get the most from this experience. With years of experience we ensure that all our teaching is not only engaging but fun and interactive.
Join a Global Network of Conservation Leaders
Course graduates will join an active network of over 2500 alumni in 86 countries. We are on the frontline creating a new generation of conservation researchers, project managers and leaders with the skills they need to have an immediate impact. A remarkable 95% of our alumni are working in conservation from research institutions, to government departments and NGO’s.
Gain Practical Skills for Conservation and Research Careers
Taught by experts from around the world, you will gain hands-on experience of field research, project design, and conservation case studies. Our field courses are taught outside the classroom, and enable young, early career scientists with ambitions of working to conserve wildlife and the natural environment to make a difference and have a tangible impact.
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 55m 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 the savannah at Queen Elizabeth National Park.
What We Cover
We teach transferrable skills – but we will also focus on
- Tropical forest ecology and conservation
- Plant-animal interactions
- Freshwater ecology and its flora and fauna
- Animal behaviour and interactions
- Stakeholder engagement for successful conservation
- Field research techniques
- Research project design
All of these will be taught by our world-class course teachers.
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
- Self-paced over a few weeks so you can jump-in and out at your own convenience
- No pressure for any tasks or assessments
- A safe, friendly place to learn and share
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
“I learned a whole range of new research skills and was able to practice these in a fully supportive and encouraging environment.”
“It has been inspiring to learn alongside students from so many different nationalities.”