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Courses & Credits

The program curriculum includes the following four required courses.

Recommended credit is 16 semester credits, which includes four semester credits for each course. Except for Swahili Language, all courses are taught in English. There are no prerequisites for any of the courses.

  More information about credit distribution and grades

“The ACM Tanzania program was perfect for me because I was able to gain credit for my biology major while pursuing other passions as well. I studied new subjects, such as anthropology and human evolution, and Swahili (which I never before knew could be such a fun experience).” 

Julia Varnergardner, Colorado College, biology major

Swahili Language

Required, 4 semester credits

Early acquisition of language skills is critically important for students becoming acclimated to a culture so different from their own. Students therefore begin Intensive Swahili during the first days of the program. Taught by experienced Swahili language and cross-cultural trainers, the course aims to help students with conversational Swahili and integrates cultural aspects so that students are able to contextualize their experience in Tanzania.

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Physical and Cultural Evolution: East Africa, Human Origins, and Ethnography of the Maasai

Required, 4 semester credits

This required course is offered in two parts, each offering classroom lecture and discussion plus a 10-day field excursion in Northern Tanzania. Physical anthropology covers theories of human evolution, evolutionary trends of hominids, and the contribution of the East African region to understanding human origin, with site visits in Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli. Cultural evolution focuses on Maasai ethnography and gender relations among the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania with field study in Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro.

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Ecology of Tanzanian Ecosystems

Required, 4 semester credits

This course, taught by a local professor, examines the fundamental elements of ecology, drawing its examples from Tanzanian ecosystems, especially those of the Serengeti Plain and Ngorongoro Crater. this course begins with introduction to ecology in the classroom, followed by site visits in Northern Tanzania.

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Research Methods & Field Practicum

Instructor: Dr. Molly McNicoll, Visiting Faculty Director
Required, 4 semester credits

The Research Methods course covers research methods and project preparation, including development and creation of a project proposal. Students will also receive general information about contemporary Tanzanian society and culture. In the field, students engage in independent and collaborative field work activities in areas such as human ecology, biology, paleo-anthropology, zoology, and socio-cultural anthropology. Topics depend on student interest, the composition and needs of the group, the resources available, and faculty/site expertise. Students are encouraged to work on collaborative projects (which still allow individual inquiry) for maximum exposure and understanding of the varieties of research questions, data-gathering and analytic techniques. Possible areas for collaborative inquiry that are high priority at the site include questions about water, public health, tourism, education, wildlife, and indigenous populations. Students analyze their data, write final reports, give public presentations, and create posters for local distribution.

More about the field practicum »

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Credit Distribution & Grades

The course credit you receive for the program is determined according to policies at your college. Check with your advisor and college registrar in advance to find out how much credit you will receive and how it will be distributed, especially if you plan to use your courses in Tanzania to fulfill college or departmental requirements.

Grade reports

All students who complete an ACM off-campus study program receive a grade report which lists their courses, credits, and grades. Most colleges accept this grade report as an official academic document. If a college requires an official academic transcript, ACM can arrange to have an official transcript issued through Beloit College for a $350 processing fee. To request an official transcript, students must make a formal request through ACM at the time of acceptance.