Sample ACM Independent Study Projects

The capstone of the Tanzania program is an independent research project completed by students on a topic of their choice ranging from public health issues to wildlife studies. The first few weeks of the program will introduce students to the methods of site-based inquiry and allow students to develop their project proposal, including a visit to Tarangire National Park to familiarize students with the site and many options for their final project. Students will then spend the next several weeks collecting data in small groups with other students in and around Tarangire. At the end of the program, students will analyze their data, compile a final report, and present their findings to their classmates and the local community.

Examples of past independent study projects include:

Cultural Anthropology

  • Friends or Foes: An Exploration of the Relationship Between the Maasai, the Tanzanian Government, and Tarangire National Park
  • "Why Do You Think There Is Only One God?": A Study of Traditional Maasai Believers and Christian Maasai Living Near Tarangire National Park
  • Pregnancy Practices of the Maasai
  • Crafts Commoditization and Cooperatives:  How Women near Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Have Empowered Themselves Selling Crafts
  • An Examination of the Events Following a Road Traffic Accident: Care Provided by Drivers and Community Members in Olasiti and Minjingu
  • Cell Phone Use in Olasiti Village: Gender and Generational Disparities
  • Common Thematic Elements and Patterns in Maasai Oral Stories and the Judeo-Christian Bible
  • Listen to Us: Maasai Perspective on Hip-hop as a Means of Sharing Language


  • Resolving Human-Elephant Conflicts Around the Border of Tarangire National Park
  • Vervet Monkey (Chlororcebus Pygerythrus) Food Stealing Behaviors, Strategies, and Decision Making in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
  • Intraspecific Interactions and Unicoloniality in Acacia ant Crematogaster nigriceps
  • Herbs and Health Facilities:  A Study of Prevalence and Cures of Worm Infections in Areas Surrounding Tarangire National Park
  • The Effect of Proximity to Water on Vigilance of the Plains Zebra in Tarangire National Park
  • On the Periphery of Conservation:  Local Opinions on the Relationship between Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, and the Local Community
  • Water Quality and Its Effects on Biodiversity in the Tarangire River, Tanzania
  • Silent Plea for Help: Human-Wildlife Conflict along the Northwest Border of Tarangire National Park
  • The Effects of Interspecific Competition between Termites (Macrotermes bellicosus) and Other Insect Communities
  • Factors Influencing the Location of Wildebeest in Tarangire National Park
  • A Comparison of Foraging Behavior between Male and Female Giraffes


  • Cultural Reasoning Concerning Education: A Western Interpretation of Modernity within Tanzania’s Maasai Community
  • Maasai Women's Changing Role in Education and the Market: Areas of Empowerment


  • Conservation and Education: The Future of Tanzanian Museums
  • Maasai Women's Education in Tanzania
  • The Church of English: English in the Maasai Classroom
  • Effects of Increased Education and Kiswahili Literacy among the Ngorongoro Division Maasai on Maasai/NCAA relations: Increasing Maasai Political Power
  • Factors Affecting Female Student Retention in Primary School
  • A Comparison of Agriculturist, Pastoralist, and Governmental Viewpoints Concerning the Purpose of Education, Babati District, Tanzania
  • Cultural Reasoning Concerning Education: A Western Interpretation of Modernity within Tanzania’s Maasai Community

Environmental Studies

  • Twenty-six Words for Grass: An Examination of Maasai Ecological Classification Systems and Their Influences on Rangeland Decision Making
  • The Effect of Tourist Vehicle Traffic on the Water Quality of Tarangire River During the Dry Season
  • Future Implications of Water Scarcity:  Is a “Water War” looming on the Border of Tarangire National Park?
  • Limited Water on the Border of Tarangire National Park: An Examination of Place among Five Maasai Villages
  • The Environmental Impacts of Varying Tourist Accommodations in Tarangire National Park
  • Are the Roads in Serengeti Affecting Vegetation in Grasslands?
  • Fire Management in Tarangire National Park


  • Understanding the History and Evolution of the Stratigraphy and Geomorphology of Burko Volcano, Northern Tanzania
  • Lake Manyara Basin: Prehistory, Tool Use, and Cultural Heritage
  • Geological Reconnaissance North of the Tarangire Rive, Northern Tanzania
  • Preliminary Results from a Geologic Survey of Lemagrut Volcano
  • A Comparative Study of Modern Taphonomy in Various Micro-environments at Laetoli, Tanzania
  • Pliocene Paleoenvironmental Analysis of the Footprint Tuff at Laetoli, Tanzania
  • Modern Mammalian Death Assemblage, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Public Health

  • Rain Brings Relief: How Fluoride Ingestion Varies Seasonally in the Arusha Maasai
  • Needles and Natural Healers: An Analysis of Ethnomedicine and Modern Medicine Among Villagers
    in Predominantly Maasai Communities Around Tarangire National Park
  • The Cultural and Economic Importance of Milk to Maasai Women
  • Bridging the Gap: Explanatory Models of Malaria and Treatment Decisions of the Maasai Tribe and Hospital Staff in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
  • “A New Disease”: Perceptions of HIV among the Maasai
  • Vitamin A Deficiencies in Children in Ngorongoro Division
  • Investigating DOT (Directly Observed Therapy) as a Tuberculosis Treatment Method in the Tarangire Area
  • Bovine Tuberculosis among Pastoralists in the NCA: A Look at Prevalence, Knowledge, and Practices
  • Prevalence of Refractive Error and Awareness within the NGA