Participants will be provided the opportunity to connect with and learn more diverse and global perspectives through and of the arts. Students will participate in formal coursework on the main Legon campus of the University of Ghana and field trips throughout Ghana. The Ghana Field School highlights diversity, partnerships, connective learning and understanding of West African contemporary arts, culture and history. A faculty member from the University of Ghana will be invited as a visiting Professor to teach in the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU in the spring term following the field school.

Please watch our short video documentation of the 2009 Ghana Field School here

Field School Director: Albert Smith <>


The program consists of three courses totalling 12 SFU units. All instruction will be in English. 

FPA 308-4 West African History and Culture

This course will examine West African historical and cultural experience. Students will explore the development and nature of traditional West African societies, language, family, clans, lineage, gender, marriage, birth, the individual, education, religions and ceremonies as well as political, occupational, and economic systems and values. The course will further examine African colonial experience, the formation of nation-states, the pre- and post- colonial African experience, intra and international relations, problems and prospects of the contemporary African nation states. Keeping a journal is required. Lectures, videos and audio recordings will be used as teaching materials in this course.

FPA 309-4 Theories and Structures of Ghanaian Music and Dance

This theoretical lecture course will examine the historical and cultural context and sociopolitical economic basis of African music and dance. Students will explore West African music and dance composition and choreography in the studio and performance process: the form, styles and structures of traditional and contemporary West African music and dance, instrumental resources, languages/concepts, melody, rhythm, harmony and performance ethics/aesthetics will be examined. The course will further utilize practical devices to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Keeping a journal is required.

FPA 408-4 Ghanaian Dance and Music in Performance

This practical studio course will explore the contextual framework of West African dance and music in ceremonial setting and public performance. Students will be exposed to various West African dance and music styles, forms and structures, as well as their cultural significance. They will further explore the West African dance and music performance process and will interact with the local communities, artists and academics, thereby gaining a unique, integrated learning experience with performing and cultural arts in Ghana.

Please see here for the course outlines.


The program begins with two weeks of orientation and coursework at SFU. The remaining eight weeks of the program are delivered in Ghana.

May 5 - 16 Course work at SFU
May 21

Leave Vancouver - Travel to Accra, Ghana

May 22 Field school program start
July 22 Field school program end and leave Ghana - Travel to Vancouver
August (TBA) Final assignments due

*These dates are tentative and subject to change without notice.

Cost and Financial Aid


*Tuition Fees (12 credits) $2046.00
Program fees $7591.49
Total cost (estimated) $9637.49

*Differential tuition fees are charged to international students.

Program fees include:

   International airfare          Shared accommodation
   Some group meals          In-country transportation  
      Field trips
           Pre-departure orientation, in-field/re-entry support  
     Tourist visa

Program fees do not include the cost of meals, independent travel or inoculations. Program costs quoted in Canadian dollars are approximate, and may vary subject to exchange rates, travel, and accommodation cost quotations. Program Fees posted above are based on having 12 participants.

Students must pay tuition directly to SFU Student Services by the due date as outlined in the SFU Calendar.

Students participating in SFU field schools are eligible to apply for student loans. SFU students may also apply for bursaries, scholarships, awards, and International Exchange/Field School Bursaries.


Ghana Contemporary Arts applicants must meet the following requirements to participate:

  • Must be 19 years of age or older prior to departure
  • Have completed a minimum of 45 units of university courses prior to field school departure
  • Have a minimum 2.5 CGPA
  • Consent of the Field School Director
  • Completed introductory course work in Contemporary Arts (or have permission from the Field School Director)

Please note, non-FPA majors/ minors are encouraged to apply. Please contact the Field School Director at, if you have questions about course content or academic requirements.

For more information on eligibility for non-SFU students please see the Application page.

Information Sessions

No further sessions scheduled.

Application Status: Closed
Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Note: For people with (physical or mental) medical conditions, international travel can present severe challenges. Because SFU field schools take place in international locations where emergency services, and/or mental or physical support services may be limited, or non-existent, some field school placements will not be appropriate for everyone. Please speak with the program's Field School Director for information on specific conditions for this field school.

If you have a medical condition that poses limitations on your ability to function in certain environments, we strongly advise that you register with the SFU Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD). CSD staff will ask that you provide documentation from a duly-qualified medical specialist, which contains a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Where appropriate, CSD staff will communicate with field school staff with regard to accommodation in the field. Please note that, while CSD staff indicate to field school staff that a prospective participant requires accommodation for a medical condition, they do not disclose the nature of the medical condition.

Because overseas arrangements can be complicated, we recommend that you contact the CSD at least three months prior to the commencement of the field school in which you wish to participate. Please note that failure to make proper arrangements in advance of travel could result in termination from the field school with costs and academic credit forfeited.