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Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Core Program Attributes: Direct Enrollment, Project-based Program
Minimum GPA: 2.8 Housing Options: Dormitory/Residence Hall
Approved by: AAP, CALS, ENG, HUM EC, ILR, SHA Minimum Student Status: Junior, Senior
Program Advisor: Stephen Capobianco Curricular Highlights: Research, Sustainability
Program Description:




  • Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
  • Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged
  • Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


The program examines different development and resource management models that Costa Rica uses to protect the biodiversity of its ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. Students will examine the effects of globalization on development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water quality.

Visits to cloud forests, dry forests, volcanoes, lowland rainforests, farms, and plantations offer opportunities to examine management schemes, identify benefits of protected areas, and determine which systems offer the best options for economic development, the maintenance of cultural norms, and the preservation of biodiversity.


  • Take an extended field expedition to Nicaragua to compare and contrast development and resource-use issues: hike the volcanoes of Isla Ometepe; explore the rich cultural history of Granada; and study impacts of tourism in the region
  • Visit several national parks to investigate the pressures of ecotourism on small gateway communities and learn about tropical forest ecology
  • Explore Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a protected area rich in biodiversity and cultural significance
  • Explore Poás Volcano National Park, learning about the geology of Costa Rica and highland ecosystems, management strategies in national parks, and park usage by visitors


Through Directed Research (DR)—as opposed to basic, applied, or independent research—students conduct research on a specific topic that is part of the SFS Center’s long-term strategic research plan, which has been developed in partnership with local community stakeholders and clients.

The course, taught by resident SFS faculty, provides students with the opportunity to apply the scientific process in a mentored field research project that addresses a local environmental issue. Through the DR project, students contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.




Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Approx. Start Approx. End
Fall 2018 03/01/2018
Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Spring 2019 10/01/2018 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Programs may fill long before their final deadline. * Recommendation--For SPRING: APPLY in MAY to study abroad the following spring. For FALL/YEAR: APPLY in DECEMBER. Late applications may be accepted, but colleges typically need time to process your approval.

Indicates that deadline has passed. See CUAbroad.