Mission & Introduction


McGill's African Field Study Semester (AFSS) Program intends to introduce students to East Africa, specifically to widen their understanding of the goals, circumstances, challenges, and opportunities of the people living in the areas visited. Through an increased understanding of Canada's link with the area, participants of the program should be better equipped to become active and effective contributors to sustainable development in Africa; whether by following academic or professional paths, or by simply becoming better-informed citizens.

A community for integrated, experiential learning


The AFSS Program draws faculty members with research and teaching experience in East Africa, and/or long experience in running field trips. This group is committed to the belief that studying in the field in East Africa will be one of the best educational experiences of your life. The program will give you the opportunity to:

  • see a range of environmental and social conditions in beautiful, interesting and diverse countries: Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania
  • meet people working in community development, wildlife management, environmental conservation
  • be part of active research institutions in East Africa
  • work in small groups with dedicated Canadian and local teachers
  • conduct your own research projects in natural science, social science or interdisciplinary areas
  • visit some of the most remarkable archeological sites in the world
  • experience game viewing in some of the world's premier conservation areas
  • travel from the shores of Lake Victoria to the reefs of the Indian Ocean, and from the flanks of snow-peaked Mt Kenya to the torrid base of the Rift Valley
  • meet locals in their homes, villages, markets, cities and offices; and do it all while travelling in security, with a Canadian physician overseeing your medical care

The Program consists of a series of expeditions between established research bases. Because the research stations have strong working relationships with the surrounding communities, we can ensure that our students have safe, informed and sustained access to the East African landscape. This means that students can engage in real, field-based, research projects.


Research-based: McGill's AFSS Program is research-based. Students will be expected to learn from reading, structured lectures, daily experience, and special field activities. They will also be expected to raise questions, develop workable plans to answer those questions, and work in the field to get results. The emphasis on research is to engage students in dynamic, challenging, interactive learning.

Mobile and comprehensive: Our objective is to lay a foundation for a lifetime of learning; we therefore strive to expose students not only to geographic, ecological, cultural, social, and economic experiences through travel around the regions, but also introduce them to academic and intellectual perspectives by bringing valuable contributors into the classroom setting. Our goal is to provide students with a perspective that encourages informed choices on the "next steps" when they complete the program.

Safe and secure: All travel involves risks; needless to say, the safety of our participants is a top priority. The AFSS Program works with the best security information networks in the area, and uses modern, well-maintained equipment. We partner with reputable institutions that have a long history in providing safe and secure academic settings, and follow thorough risk-management practices. AFSS provides a terrific opportunity for first-time travellers to safely explore East Africa, and also assist students in developing a critical skill set that will help them manage risks when they travel later on their own.


A full educational experience in East Africa requires being away from urban areas where wildlife can be seen, and where cultural dimensions of development can be discussed. At two of the research field sites, students will have the opportunity to experience living in the wild and conduct research projects at the same time.


Partners in Africa

Bunduz Limited
Carole Muriuki
International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
International Council for Research Agroforestry (ICRAF)
University of Nairobi
High Commission of Canada
Mpala Research Center
National Museum of Nairobi
International Headquarters of United Nations Environment Program
Kenya Wildlife Services
Nairobi National Park
East African Herbarium
Hell's Gate National Park
Mount Longonot
Kinangop Conservation Group
Maasai Mara National Park
Maasai Homesteads
Community Markets
Traditional Healers Association
David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Kalro Station
Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp
Maji Moto Eco Camp
Camp Carnelley's
Arusha Museum
Amani Nature reserve
Irente Farm
Manch Lodge
World Vegetable Center Field Station (AVRDC)
Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI)
Kilimanjaro Eco Lodge
Makerere University
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
Nabugabo Holiday Center
Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS)
National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI)
Sokoine University of Agriculture
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
Dr. Patrick Omeja
Dr. Dennis Twinomugisha
Stephen Moiko
Stanley Kimaren ole Riamit
Dr. Geofrey Soka


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