Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation: Transforming Conservation Biology Learning in the 21st Century

The complexity of today’s world and the ever-evolving threats to biodiversity demand proactive and innovative approaches to conservation biology learning. In response, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University (Mason) have established the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC).

The school and its offerings will capitalize on the significant strengths of both institutions. George Mason University is known for its leadership in educational innovation, and brings to the effort, along with its respected faculty, a portfolio of academic excellence in focal areas crucial to a world-class conservation training program: teaching innovation (School of Integrative Studies), environmental science and policy and climate change (College of Science), public and international affairs (College of Humanities and Social Sciences), and conflict resolution (School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution).

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and its Conservation Biology Institute have long been recognized for their pioneering efforts in training wildlife and conservation professionals worldwide. SCBI staff and research associates have taught professional training courses in the United States and at more than 20 international locations on a variety of topics for over three decades. Over 5,000 individuals from more than 85 countries have taken part in such efforts and many have gone on to key leadership positions in zoos, wildlife organizations and universities in the U.S. and throughout the world. At the core of SCBI are its distinguished scientists, many the top in their fields, a highly respected research agenda, and extensive experience with applied conservation science around the world. As part of the broader Smithsonian network the SMSC will also capitalize on the unique resources and experience housed at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the National Museum of Natural History. The SMSC approach to learning establishes a benchmark for innovative education for current and future generations of global conservation professionals, leaders, and practitioners in the 21st century.

Lifelong learning to foster conservation leadership
The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation offers a range of compelling residential, hands-on, interdisciplinary programs in conservation biology for undergraduate and graduate students and professionals at our new facility on the grounds of SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia, USA.

Highly qualified world experts, including Smithsonian scientists, George Mason University faculty, and colleagues from other U.S. and international conservation organizations, provide students with direct connections to the most current teaching, research techniques, and work in the field. Students thrive in a collaborative atmosphere of creative, analytical thinking.

For alumni of its programs, the School of Conservation offers the opportunity to become part of a lifelong, global community of learning that supports visionary thinking and informed practice of conservation biology along different career paths.