Dakar, Senegal

Development Studies

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Information for term Development Studies

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2020
  • Dates: Aug 22 – Dec 18, 2020 (17 weeks)
  • Credit: 15-18 semester hours / 22.5-27 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Senegal’s strides toward improved human rights and standard of living make it an eye-opening place to dig into complex environmental, globalization, and development issues. Use your advanced French skills in a combination of language and content courses taught in French and Wolof at CIEE Dakar. The program combines traditional classroom sessions with hands-on urban and rural experiences, in which students live with Peace Corps and local volunteers for one week. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

Unique Experiences

  • Experience the concrete challenges

    of development as you teach children, create training programs for young women, and help officials run urban healthcare projects.

  • Live, learn, and volunteer

    in a rural or semi-urban area to gain perspective on development issues beyond the city.

  • Live with a Dakar host

    to experience the principal aspects of Senegalese culture – family and social life.

  • million residents

  • lighthouses

  • minaret height on the Dakar Grand Mosque


Location & Culture

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The Republic of Senegal won independence in 1960 after more than a century of French colonial rule. Now one of the most democratic countries in West Africa, Senegal has a population of nearly 15 million. Dakar, the political and economic capital, is a vibrant, port city, and home to the National Assembly, president’s palace, and bustling Sandaga Market. Around Dakar, you’ll find majestic cliff walks, beaches, and historic treasures. French is the official language; Wolof the predominant. Ninety-four percent of Senegalese are Muslim.

The Culture


  • Experience life in a rural area for one week with Peace Corps volunteers or village hosts, to explore contrasts and links between rural and urban living.
  • Visit historic Gorée Island – a major slave-trade center for four centuries, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – or the newly built Museum of Black Civilizations.
  • Sleep under the stars in a Moorish tent and try riding a camel.
  • Venture off for a day in Toubab Dialaw, a fishing village and artist’s colony.
  • See more of the region with a weekend trip to UNESO World Heritage sites in Sine-Saloum; Saint Louis, the former capital of French West Africa; and other rural areas.
  • Participate in cultural activities in and around Dakar.


Internships. Get unique work experience as you examine Africa’s social, economic, environmental, and public health issues. You might help ImagiNation Afrika support Nomadic Learning programs, or create materials to help the Global Research and Advocacy Group advocate for vulnerable minority groups.

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs

Daily Life

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    Homestays: Students live in Senegalese homes so they can practice French and/or Wolof daily, and learn about family and social life here. Most families speak Wolof at home, though French is the country’s official language, so students learn to function in both languages. Host families welcome U.S. students as family, and expect them to eat meals and spend time with them. Students are placed, based on preferences stated in a housing questionnaire. Senegalese live simply. Amenities like washing machines and microwaves are rare, and rice and fish are staple foods. Some students live just a short walk from campus, others commute by bus or taxi. Academic-year students can stay with their host families during the break between semesters.

  • dakar, senegal, students, meal


    Homestay families provide two meals a day during the week and three on the weekends.

Dakar, Senegal

Where You'll Study

  • A


    Amitié III neighborhood

  • B

    Getting Around

    Students walk or take taxis or public buses to get from homestays to campus.

What People are Saying

  • “The onsite staff are incredible and go above and beyond to make the experience unique.  They are involved in all the important ways (with our host families, with any and all support in adapting to a new place, with awesome excursions and opportunities,) but without suffocating us while allowing us to explore and adapt freely.  CIEE has had a huge impact on my positive experience.  I don’t think I would have had as good a time in the same location with a different program.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “The program exceeded my expectations and offered many opportunities to immerse the students in the culture.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “The program was a perfect fit for someone studying development.”

    Student, Fall 2017
  • “I would be likely to recommend CIEE Study Abroad to a peer aas the support and opportunities offered by the program are incredible and varied for a wide range of interest groups.”

    Student, Fall 2017

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Program Details

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What you need to know

The program details

This program allows students to live and study in a French-speaking West African country, immerse themselves in French and Wolof, and learn about the challenges facing developing countries.

Coursework highlights issues of democratic governance, public health, political systems and regimes, human rights, representative democracy, and corruption. The Development Studies Practicum combines traditional classroom sessions with hands-on urban and rural experiences, in which students live in rural or semi-urban Senegal with Peace Corps and local volunteers for one week.

Except for the Wolof language course and the Intercultural Communication and Leadership elective course, all courses are taught in French. Courses are taught by Senegalese professors, most of whom also hold faculty appointments at Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD). Students agree to speak only French to encourage language and cultural acquisition.

Students who meet the language prerequisite may combine a semester in CIEE’s Dakar Language + Culture program with a semester in this program for a full academic year in Senegal.

CIEE Dakar is in the Amitié III neighborhood, near restaurants, shops, cultural centers, and the largest public university in Senegal. CIEE shares a café and terrace space with Institut Supérieur de Droit de Dakar (ISDD), which offers degrees in political science and law. Students have access to the West African Research Center and the IFAN library at UCAD for research activities.


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    Students take classes only with other CIEE participants. Classes are generally lecture-based, but discussion is encouraged. Many classes involve student presentations.


    Grades (A-F with pluses and minuses, based on a 100-point scale) for CIEE courses, based on participation, papers, presentations, and a final paper or exam. Attendance is mandatory.


    Based on the French educational system, the Senegalese method requires students to take greater initiative and responsibility in a less structured environment than in the U.S. It’s easy to misread this method as lacking in rigor. Students should expect extensive individual study and reading outside of class.



    Students need to have a GPA of at least 2.5.


    4 semesters of college-level French (or equivalent) and 2 or more courses beyond the introductory level in anthropology, development studies, Francophone studies, sociology, urban studies, and/or international relations.

    Students will take a French language placement test upon arrival in Senegal. Those who do not place into French Advanced I or higher (following two attempts) will be required to change to the Language and Culture program.


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Course Information

Program Credit
Total credit: 15-18 U.S. semester/22.5-27 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
  • CIEE Internship: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 20 seminar hours, 120 internship placement hours
  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 20 faculty advising hours, 100 research hours

Language of Instruction


  • Advanced French for Development Studies 
  • Wolof language
  • Development Studies Practicum
  • Two elective courses

Fall 2020 CIEE Courses

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Academic Projects

Semester Credit

Business, Economics, Management, and Marketing

Semester Credit

Communication, Journalism, and Media

Semester Credit

Health Professions and Related Programs

Semester Credit

Languages and Cultural Studies

Semester Credit

Public Administration, Analysis, and Social Services

Semester Credit

Social Sciences

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • MSI Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

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Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • One-week orientation – an introduction to Senegalese culture, your academic program, and the city, plus practical information about living in your host city
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host city
  • Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
  • Excursions and/or Study Tours
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Fall 2020 17 weeks May 1, 2020 Aug 22, 2020 Dec 18, 2020
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $15,033 **

Housing = $2,450 ***

Insurance = $167

Total Fees = $17,950

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $300

International Airfare = $2,000

Local Transportation = $150

Books & Supplies = $100

Personal expenses = $1,000

Other = $100 ††

Total Estimated Costs = $3,650

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

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This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

*** 2 meals a day during the week / 3 on the weekend

round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

†† cost of registration extension on-site

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, ask your college or university study abroad advisor if your school charges additional fees for study abroad.

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