Adventure into the world of Desert Ecology in the American Southwest.

Study Away: Desert Ecology in the American Southwest  

3 Credit Hours; BSCI 40XXX

KSU Students in New Mexico
This course will study desert ecology during the Spring/Summer intersession. Students will do individual projects in the Chihuahuan desert, using the successful format of the Organization for Tropical Studies projects. Students will conduct the entire research process: they will develop their research question, read appropriate scientific references, design field-based experiments, collect the data, interpret their findings and communicate the results by means of a seminar and a poster presentation. Our group will also conduct surveys with the local people to assess their valuation of species diversity in the local area. Additionally, we will visit ancient church sites of Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument near Mountainair, NM. One of the great novels of the 20th century, “Death Comes for the Archbishop” (Willa Cather, 1927) was set in this area of New Mexico. We will consider the conversion of the native peoples by the Spaniards in the 1600s in the light of their perceptions of nature conservation. One of the instructors, Dr. Oscar Rocha, is a native Spanish speaker, and he will assist in translation for the English-speaking students. The students will develop semi-structured surveys to ascertain the benefits and impacts of nature conservation to local people in New Mexico.

Program Dates: May 20 - June 7, 2020
Professors: Dr. Oscar Rocha & Dr. David Ward

Cost Breakdown

Cost Description


Pay To

Online Application Fee






Program Fee1



Estimated Total Cost



1Program Fee Includes: Airfare, Accommodation, In-Country Transportation, Field Entrance Fees, Supplies and Meals
3 This total does not include tuition. Additional tuition charges may apply,.
*Estimated Personal Cost (Not Included): Snacks, Souvenir Shopping, etc.
**Final program fee subject to change; Updated July 21, 2019.


Application will open August 1, 2019. 

Application Deadline: February 1, 2020

Non-Refundable Deposit: $500.00 | February 1, 2020
First payment due (half)**: February 15, 2020 
Second payment due: April 1, 2020 




Contact Information

Dr. Oscar Rocha |
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. David Ward |
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences 

Alyssa Mazey, M.Ed. l
Assistant Director of International Programs and Education Abroad