WFS 499: Ecosystem Science in South Africa is an embedded course based in Kruger National Park and the Makhanda Aquatic Diversity Research Center

Course Name

WFS 499: Ecosystem Science in South Africa

About the Course

WFS 499 is an embedded course, meaning that a travel component has been "embedded into the course curriculum." This course meets on campus during the second half of the spring 2023 semester for 1.25 credits, and travels at the beginning of the summer 2023 semester for 0.25 credits. During the spring semester you will learn about aquatic research in South Africa and prepare for your in-country experience. You will have readings and project based assignments as assessment for your grade.

Travel Dates and Itinerary

You will travel as a class to South Africa from May 20 - June 1, 2023. Your first few days will be in Johannesburg, then 4 days in Kruger National Park, followed by 4 days in Makhanda. EF Tours is coordinating the itinerary, with the following planned but subject to change:

  • Tour of Johannesburg
  • Apartheid Museum
  • UNESCO World Heritage Cradle of Humankind
  • Sterkfontein Caves
  • Kruger National Park
    • Blyde River Canyon
    • God's Window cliffs
    • Bourke's Luck Potholes
    • Pilgrams Rest
    • Walking tour and local school visit in traditional Shangaan village
    • Safari experience
    • Fisheries experience
    • Morning bush walk
  • Makhanda
    • Research and exploration with SAIAB - South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

How do I sign up?

Interested students should email Dr. Jay Stauffer, Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at: to learn about application deadline and course details.

Approximate Expenses

Estimated actual total cost is $5950 per student. This includes:

  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • On-ground transportation

Scholarships and other funding opportunities are available at the college and university levels.


  • Student from all colleges and majors at Penn State University are eligible to apply. GPA and student conduct records will be checked and course leaders reserve the right to limit enrollment at their discretion.
  • Students must be 18 years of age or older at the time of travel.
  • Student participants must present a valid passport.
  • Student participants must have the ability to travel internationally including getting the required vaccinations to travel.
  • Travel payments must be made on time.

More Information

Ag Sciences Global


106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

Ag Sciences Global


106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802