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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; Kruger National Park, South Africa; West Coast National Park, South Africa; Yzerfontein, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Spring Semester
  • Cost Sheets: Spring Semester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description





Mountains and Water

From the 3-million-year-old fossil skull of the Taung child to the evidence of ancient Homo sapiens who survived along the coast about 165,000 years ago, South Africa is crucial to understanding human origins. What habitats did these species live in? Was their diet “paleo”? Was climate change responsible for new adaptations that led to different hominin species? In this program, students will do research for the Hominins and Habitats Project, visit ancient fossil localities, and see the actual fossils.
South Africa’s more recent history holds important lessons as well. The program explores how migrations and colonization created strife, marginalization and apartheid, and examines freedom fighters’ struggle against the apartheid government through an understanding of the life of Nelson Mandela.  South Africa has much to offer about how humans from the present and the past are linked through their relationship to the environment.

Quick Facts

  • In South Africa from April 3 - April 27 (B Session course dates: March 15–April 30, 2021)

  • Earn 6 credits in Spring B session

  • Do research in ecology and paleoecology

  • Visit fossil hominin sites and see the real fossils 

Example Topics
  • Human evolution and climate change

  • Australopithecus to modern people: Migrations, habitats and food

  • Plant and animal identification in three game reserves

  • Apartheid

Exploration and Adventure Activities
  • Cape Point excursion to see dassies, penguins, whales and dolphins

  • Khoi San community tea tasting and language session with ecology tour

  • West Coast National Park hiking, animal identification, Atlantic Ocean whale watching

  • Kayaking in Langabaan Lagoon

  • Examining fossils of human ancestors and other animals

  • Exploring African arts and crafts

  • Visiting fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind

  • Exploring the animals of Kruger National Park and collecting data

Are you curious about what ancient life was like for our ancestors? Do you want to see the Atlantic Ocean from its eastern shores? Have you dreamed of visiting the African bush? Do you enjoy exploring exciting, modern cities? Then this program is for you!

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information. Note: Non-ASU students should consult these instructions before applying.


Cape Town


Location Details

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world — boasting Table Mountain and pristine beaches — and includes many historical locations, from Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, to the remnants of District Six, a location dismantled by apartheid. Further afield we will visit Table Mountain National Park, West Coast National Park and West Coast Fossil Park to learn about ecosystems of today and how they can be used as analogs for the past and future. 

Often nicknamed Jo’burg or Jozi, Johannesburg was called the City of Gold for its surrounding gold mines. We will again focus on the people and the history of South Africa through visits to the Apartheid Museum and Soweto, a great foodie destination. We will also visit the fossil vaults at Ditsong and the University of the Witwatersrand as well as hominin fossil sites at the Cradle of Humankind to further explore ecology and evolution.

As already noted, we will be visiting game reserves and national parks around Cape Town, near Jozi, and in the far northeast of the country at Kruger National Park, one of the world’s top destinations for biodiversity. In these places, students will undertake research for the Hominins and Habitats Project.

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to students of any major with a 2.0 GPA or higher 
  • No prior anthropology or ecology experience required.
  • Suitable for non-majors and students from a wide range of backgrounds
  • Prerequisites will be waived


South Africa has an ancient past, a turbulent history, and now, one of the most progressive constitutions on the planet. One of the earliest fossil human ancestors was recovered here in 1924. Since that time, researchers have found many other fossil ancestors, including the new, enigmatic Homo naledi species from Rising Star Cave. After this earliest time period, migrations and colonization into southern Africa created strife, marginalization and eventually apartheid in 1948. Today, the country has more than 40 game reserves and national parks protecting a myriad of African wildlife from extinction, but is there a cost to the people who need the environment to survive? These courses will explore the pre-history and history of South Africa through the lens of ecology, evolution and social justice.

Students will register during the spring registration period for the following two courses:

ASM 338: Anthropology Field Session: Hominins and Habitats (3)
ASB 375: Humans and the Environment: What’s the Connection? (3)
*Please note that these courses count towards your Spring semester load. If registering for these courses will put you in a course-overload situation, you will need to speak with your academic advisor for an override.  

Course Format

The course will be taught with in-person meetings in Spring B session, Spring 2021. The study abroad portion of the program will be embedded in the B session course from April 3 – April 27, 2020.  Meeting dates and times during the Spring B session  are as follows on Tempe Campus (we will accommodate online students in these classes).  

  • Monday, March 15, 3:15 - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, March 17, 3:15 - 5:00 p.m.  
  • Monday, March 22, 3:15 - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Wednesday, March 24, 3:15 - 5:00 p.m. 
  • Monday, March 29, 3:15 - 5:00 p.m. 





Faculty Directors

Kaye Reed, PhD
Director and President's Professor
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Office: SHESC 206
Phone: 480-965-9813
David Feary, PhD

Clinical Professor
School of Sustainability, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Office: SS-218

Game Preserve



Program Housing

Students will share double to quadruple rooms at a hostel or bed and breakfast in each city with showers and cooking facilities. In national parks, students will share small chalets and rondovals (round cabins), some with two bedrooms, with cooking facilities and showers, towels, blankets, etc.  There are opportunities to swim in the ocean or in swimming pools — although remember that it will be fall in South Africa, and nights can be a little cold.  Students are encouraged to look online for the national parks to see pictures of accommodations. We will be busing longer distances, and walking a lot in cities and game reserves.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in South Africa, the law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities, but these laws are rarely enforced. However, many tourist attractions, and restaurants near tourist attractions, are equipped with ramps and other options to facilitate access. In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in South Africa, discrimination towards LGBTQIA individuals does occur in rural areas and high density areas, as South Africans are generally conservative on regarding LGBTQIA issues.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. For example, in South Africa, gender inequality still persists where some local men may not address women directly but rather speak or direct questions to men travelers only. It can also be difficult to make friends with local women as it is common for them to take a domestic role in the community and have less knowledge of English than the men.

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services. 

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Spring 2021 is $TBD.

Program Fee includes: Housing, a number of meals, academic visits, cultural excursions and entry fees, in-country transportation, ASU faculty support, and international health insurance. Not included: Tuition for 6 credits, airfare, passport & visa fees, most meals, personal expenses, and miscellaneous items.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program Cost Sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sight-see or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program

  • The School of Human Evolution and Social Change has scholarships from $250 to $1000 available for students who apply. Scholarships are determined after students confirm in the program.  
  • ASU Tuition Waiver may be applied on this program to cover the tuition associated with this program.  The ASU Tuition Waiver cannot be used to subsidize the posted program fee.


Links to Additional Resources

*The ASU Study Abroad Office does not officially endorse, administer or monitor the content of these links.

Dates & Deadlines

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.