Ghana: Development in Situ

Explore the legacy and consequences of colonialism in Ghana.

If you are super interested in learning the ropes of research, this is your field school. Explore Ghana through the eyes of local expert, native Ghanaian, and UCalgary professor, Rita Yembilah. While on this program, you will gain critical experiences of development from an array of people from local to national level, develop skills in ethical field research, deepen your cultural competency and collaborative lenses, and organize and participate in your (probably) first international conference!


This program is designed to be richly diverse in culture, region, and research experience, engaging with topics  in health and education, gender and social inequality,  technology, empowerment; and politics, conflict, and governance. This immersive experience will provide students with a good balance of educational and fun activities as they to discover Ghana amidst its contradictions, progress and difficulties.  A variety of activities including visits to parliament, gender-focused NGOs, less known holding area, Tamale Teaching Hospital, “Galamsey” surface mining sites will be intensely illuminating.  Join Rita for an experience that will open your mind and fill your heart.

To hear more about this amazing program, please check out the link to the UCalgary News article on this program.

Key information






Spring 2020

Program type

Group Study

Application information

Application status



Application deadline

First come, first considered.
Programs fill quickly - apply today!

Additional requirements

This program is open to students from all majors. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

Info sessions

November 7, 1 pm, location TBC

Student Experience

Ghana Gimpa Class
image of students at waterfall

Have questions?

For program information, please contact Dr. Rita Yembilah at 

For application and registration support, please contact the Group Study Team at

Other useful links:

Program details

Questions about these courses should be directed to the program instructor.

Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

  1. Courses offered

    Students on this program are required to enroll in three courses:

    DEST 401: Selected Topics in Development Studies (3 credits)

    DEST 501: Research in Selected Topics (3 credits)

    ANTH 541: Field Study in Social and Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)

  2. Prerequisites

    DEST 401: Consent of the Department

    DEST 501: Consent of the Department

    ANTH 541: Consent of the Department


  1. Pre-departure

    May 4-8, Calgary: Mandatory on campus pre-travel academic sessions

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory travel clinic

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory first aid

    TBD, Calgary: Mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by Group Study Programs

  2. In-field

    May 12-14, Calgary to Accra: National Perspectives Sessions from local experts

    May 15-19, Tamale: Rest days, lectures, Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Northern Development Authority

    May 20-21, Mole, Savannah Region: Visit Mole national park and participate in a Safari

    May 22, Damongo: Mognori Eco-Village, Center for Conflict, Peace and Development

    May 23-26, Tamale: Rest days, lectures, Northern Girl Initiative, Tamale Teaching Hospital, and Tamale Senior High School. 

    May 27, Bolgatanga: Introduction to the upper East region

    May 28, Tongo: Visit to “galamsey” (surface mining) sites in the Tallensi district

    May 29, Tono/Paga: Tono Irrigation Project, sacred crocodiles of Paga, Pikworo Slave Camp

    May 30, Bolgatanga: Prep for mini-conference and market trip

    May 31, Tamale: Work day for assignments

    June 1-3, Tamale: Meetings with agency host (Dr. Pul), mini-conference prep and proceedings

    June 4, Tamale and Accra: Travel day with a stop at Kintampo Falls

    June 5-6, Accra: Nkrumah’s tomb, Accra Arts & Cultural Centre, rest at Bojo beach resort

    June 7, Cape Coast/Elmina: Elmina (Slave) Castle and lunch in Cape Coast

    June 8-11, Accra: Visit Parliament, University of Ghana, research report outlines, group debrief, final paper outline meetings with Rita.

    June 12, Accra: Concluding lunch, depart for Calgary or independent travel

  3. Post-field

    June 30, Calgary: Final Papers due

  1. Costs

    The estimated cost of the Ghana: Development in Situ Group Study Program is $7,506. This includes tuition, airfare, field trips, local transportation, accommodations and meals. 

     For the full cost breakdown and payment deadlines, please see the program Student Cost Summary.

    Important information regarding deposit payments: Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits secure your space in the program and allows payment for logistical arrangements to be made in advance.


    2020/21 Tuition Fees:

    The following proposed rate increases are being shared in advance of their approval to help students plan their finances for the upcoming school year.

    The Government of Alberta recently lifted the tuition freeze that has been in place since 2014-15. As a result, tuition rates for Canadian (domestic) students will be permitted to increase by 7% annually in each the next three years . Tuition rates for international students will no longer be regulated. In response to this change, the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors will be reviewing proposals to increase tuition rates in January 2020. If approved, the following rate increases will apply for the 2020-21 academic year:

    • New domestic students: 7% increase to all tuition fees, except for undergraduate programs in engineering course-based graduate programs in engineering (MEng), public policy (MPP) and business administration (MBA) for which a 10% increase is being proposed.
    • New International students: 10% increase to tuition fees with the exception of course based graduate programs in engineering (MEng), public policy (MPP) and business administration (MBA) for which a 15% increase is being proposed.
    • Graduate thesis students: A new tuition structure that will even out program costs over the length of the program versus having higher costs in years one (Masters) or pre-candidacy (PhD)
    • All continuing students:  5% increase to tuition fees

    If approved, these rate increases will be in effect for the Spring 2020 term.


  2. Funding

    International Study Travel Grant: Students studying abroad may be eligible for the University of Calgary's International Study Travel Grant. For more information on eligibility, application details and deadlines please click here.

    New! Faculty of Arts Group Study Program (GSP) Scholarships (for GSP participants) and Faculty of Arts Student Study Abroad Scholarships (for other international programs) - up to 10 awards of $1000 each! Deadline to apply is March 31st.  Any queries about these scholarships should be directed to Faculty of Arts Associate Dean Gavin Cameron: 

    Student loans: If you qualify for student loans, your program should qualify. We are able to provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program for funding purposes. Please email to request a letter.

    Please note that eligibility for student loans is determined by your loans provider. 

Students will stay in clean, comfortable, simple accommodations, and will be sought in standard middle range hotels and guesthouses throughout Ghana.  All of these are secure and safe establishments approved by the Ghana National Tourist Board. During the 3-week stay in Dzelukope, accommodation will be organized with local villagers. As for food, a variety of options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets will be available. Vegetables are frequently used in dishes, but are usually cooked rather than fresh. Nuts are also commonly used in cooking. If you have severe allergies or restrictions on what type of food you can eat, please consult with the program instructor at the time of application. 

This program is open to undergraduate students in good academic standing from all faculties.

Applications will be considered after your application, unofficial transcript, and supplementary questionnaire have been received by Study Abroad.

Please note: If more applications are received than spaces available on this program, an interview may be required for all applicants. Details will be provided if it is decided that an interview is required.

  1. Statement of Purpose

    Please tell us why you want to study abroad, why you have selected this particular program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic objectives and/or complement your degree, how you plan to finance your program and why you should be selected.

    The Statement of Purpose is submitted within your online application (max 500 words).

    Note: Because the online application will time out after one hour, we recommend that you compose your statement of purpose in advance in Word to check for spelling, grammar and word count, and then paste it into the online application.

  2. Unofficial Transcript

    Download an unofficial transcript from your Student Centre and submit it by email to

    Click here for a step-by-step guide to access your unofficial transcript.

Please ensure that you have read the Group Study Program General FAQs thoroughly before applying.


Program-Specific FAQs

Q: What kind of accommodation and food can I expect? 

A: Accommodation will be sought in standard middle range hotels and guesthouses throughout Ghana.  All of these are secure and safe establishments approved by the Ghana National Tourist Board. During the 3-week stay in Dzelukope, accommodation will be organized with local villagers. As for food, a variety of options for vegetarian and gluten-free diets will be available. Vegetables are frequently used in dishes, but are usually cooked rather than fresh. Nuts are also commonly used in cooking. If you have severe allergies or restrictions on what type of food you can eat, please consult with the program instructor at the time of application. 

Q: What is the current political situation in Ghana?

A: The political situation in Ghana is stable and there is civil order. However, police checkpoints are routine along certain roads. Vehicles and passengers may be subject to inspection. Photographs of certain sensitive installations, such as airports, military facilities, and the seat of government including Christianbourg Castle and Flastaff house, are not allowed. Civilians are prohibited from using military-like clothing, such as camouflage fatigues. Students will be briefed on these matters during the orientation programs and with continue reminders in the field. During the pre-departure and in-country orientations, students will be given the latest briefing on the political situation in the country: how to avoid problems and what protocols, emergency and otherwise.


Please note that the laws of Ghana prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex and homosexuality is generally not socially tolerated. While the University of Calgary upholds the values of diversity and inclusivity and does not condone such laws, it is our responsibility to ensure that all students travelling to Ghana are aware of these laws and have the necessary information to protect their safety. We recommend that students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community exercise caution when considering international study to Ghana, as the safety and well-being of our students is our highest priority.

If you would like to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have regarding travelling to this country, please feel free to reach out to your study abroad advisor at or to Rita Yembilah, the professor leading this program, at

For more information on the Government of Canada’s travel advice for LGBTQIA2S+ people, please feel free to visit the following site:

After finishing my third year I was feeling unexcited about learning and just wanted to graduate as fast as I could. Being able to do field research got me excited about learning again because I was able to see the possibilities after I graduate. I discovered a passion of certain issues in the world and am excited for what the future holds.


Law and Society, Past Participant

Getting started

Program-Specific Info Sessions

Info sessions are scheduled for every Group Study Program. Attending an info session is not required to apply, but strongly recommended as it will give you an opportunity to meet the instructor and learn more about the travel experience.

Please scroll up to the top of this page to view the info sessions for this program.

We also recommend watching Study Abroad 101 for general information.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this program, you can meet with one of our Group Study Advisors by emailing or booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Select #2, "Study Abroad Advising", to view available times.

Book an appointment

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how a Group Study Program might align with your degree.

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.