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SMSC Academic Programs


Another Option to Study Science in the Field

A heron on a pier near the Potomac Science Center

Mason's Potomac Science Center, along Belmont Bay near the mouth of the Occoquan River, ​focuses on environmental science research along the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Talk 鶹Ƶ A Classroom With a View ...

Lectures are an important part of learning, but you want more. Experiential learning, research, and field work partner with classroom studies to give you real-world experience while earningacademic or continuing educationcredit at the (SMSC).

Classes are limited to a maximum of 20 students, so you'll be part of a tight-knit team, working withconservationists, researchers, and educators conducting lab and fieldresearch. You'll feel as if you'rea working scientist— ​because you will be.

Andyou'll live in the mountains alongside. They don't call it the great outdoors for nothing.

Smithsonian Mason students walk through the mountains on the grounds of the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Institute
Even if you aren't a Mason Patriot, you can still study at SMSC. Once you're admitted to the program, apply to Mason as a non-degree student (the application fee will be waived). Soon, you, too, could be walking through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute grounds.

Undergraduates

First-year students can apply to the , which offers:

  • ​A merit scholarship to attend the program.
  • A tour of SMSC and SCBI.
  • Priority registration to aone-week summer field course.
  • Access to seminars by internationally known researchers and scientists.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniorshave a choice of three semester-long programs:

  • (16 credits)exploreshowscience, management and policyaffectconservation.
  • (16 credits)usescutting-edge field techniques to survey species in the wild,and to spot and recordlocal, national, and globalecological patterns.
  • (16 credits)findsand measure howshrinkingpopulationsare vulnerable, anddevelopsstrategies to halt their path toextinction.

SMSCoffers to students who meet certain qualifications.


Post-Graduate and Professional Studies

study with researchers and practitioners working in the field around the world. SMSC’s advanced and highly specialized courses are offered as intensive one or two-week sessions. They’re crafted and scheduled based on:

  • New and existing threats to biodiversity.
  • New and existing conservation opportunities.
  • Workforce and employer needs and requirements.
  • Requests from students.

Students' coursework can be applied to Mason’s in the Conservation Science and Policy MS or to programs at a student’s home university. Professionals will earncontinuing education units (CEUs).

In-depth study of a specialized area of biodiversity could include such topics as:

  • Animal surveys.
  • Genetics.
  • Climate modeling.
  • Species monitoring.