Department of Psychology

Field Course Opportunities

Field Course in Malaysia: Primate Behaviour and Ecology

For the next summer, Portsmouth’s Psychology Department offers the field course Primate Behaviour & Ecology, which will take place in the tropical forest of Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Malaysia. The course will last 2 weeks in the summer, conducted in collaboration with Cardiff University. It is offered to Psychology students of the University of Portsmouth. Participants will be stationed at Danau Girang Field Centre. For the application form, please contact

Primate course feedback pdf

Overview of the primate course feedback with photos


What would I learn?


In the first week, lectures will be given that introduce concepts in primate behaviour and ecology, current topics in primate research (with special focus on primate behaviour), and a range of research methods. At the end of the first week, the students will start to develop their own research projects and apply one of the taught methods to collect their own data on primates. Students might, for instance, video record a community of proboscis monkeys from a boat to examine the relationships between infants and their mothers and then code these behaviours in the Centre’s computer room. Or students might want to conduct playback experiments to test for responses to sounds produced by humans or other animals. There are many more research opportunities. Each student project will be closely supervised. At the end of the course, the students will give a mini-presentation about their findings and write a project report.

Course syllabus pdf

Primate Behaviour and Ecology syllabus


What facilities does the Centre offer? Which primates could I study?

The Centre is in the midst of Kinabatangan’s tropical forest and it is well equipped for field courses. It has hostel buildings, a teaching area equipped with a white screen, a LCD projector and 30 chairs, a computer room equipped with 10 PCs and one printer, a dining area with seating capacity for about 40 people and a fully-equipped kitchen, a library with more than 150 books (covering tropical ecology, behaviour, natural history, etc.) and more. Primates that can be observed: Proboscis monkey, Bornean orangutan, Muller’s gibbon, two macaque species, two langur species, and Western tarsier, and Bornean slow loris. The area along the Kinabatangan River is well known for its high biodiversity and also includes Bornean elephants, clouded leopards, sambar deers, sun bears, saltwater crocodiles, oriental pied hornbills, and more.

What would this cost me? Would I be insured? Would I get credits?

The cost is £1200. It includes transportation to and from the Centre by bus and  boat  from Sandakan  Airport, accommodation and meals/drinks at  the field  centre  during  the two weeks, a conservation fee, fuel for boat trips, and the use of the facilities (including laboratory space, electricity, running water and internet!). The cost does NOT include a round-trip international flight.  Students will be insured by the University of Portsmouth. This course will not count towards credits but it would enhance your career development, if this is an area that you hope to work in, and it is possible to collect data here for Year 3 projects.  Following this course, there is the opportunity to assist in a research project (see below).

Volunteer positions

There is the opportunity to assist in current research projects. The main aim of these projects is to improve rehabilitation procedures and release methods for rehabilitated orangutans and sun bears. The projects take place in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. For further information regarding the volunteering, please contact For further information regarding animal field research, please see our Field Research website.