Center for Ecological Resilience Studies

Ecological Resilience Studies

Costa Rica
Semester
15 Weeks
18 Credits
Fall 2024
Sep 4 - Dec 15
Closed
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open
Program Costs
  • Tuition$20,500
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$25,500
Application Deadlines
Fall 2024
May 1, 2024
Spring 2025
November 1, 2024
Semester Program

Ecological Resilience Studies

Atenas, Central Valley,
Costa Rica

Go off the beaten path and experience resilience in action. Spend a semester in Costa Rica, home to rainforests, volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, and a laid-back culture that reflects the national motto: “Pura Vida.” Immerse yourself in the country’s many national parks, farms, and tropical ecosystems full of incredible biodiversity. Design and conduct a rigorous field research project and learn how Costa Ricans are creatively addressing conservation and development issues. 

  • Explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity, to study tropical ecology, resilient land management, and community development efforts. 
  • Travel to the remote southwest corner of Costa Rica to visit the Osa Peninsula, a lush, geographically isolated peninsula that is home to more than half of Costa Rica’s total biodiversity.  
  • Go behind the scenes at local farms to learn how Costa Ricans have successfully combined agriculture and conservation. 
  • Engage in the Center’s sustainable food efforts – gather fresh mangoes from campus trees, visit the chicken coop to gather eggs, harvest kale from the garden, master composting, and more. 
  • Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings.

Academics

This academically rigorous program follows a five-day/week schedule. Most weekends are open. Each program combines theory learned during classroom sessions with field-based applications. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Costa Rica.

Major academic themes may include:

  • Climate change and tropical ecosystems
  • Agroforestry and conservation
  • Vertebrate ecology
  • Water Conservation
  • Urban ecology
  • Sustainable ecotourism
  • Carbon sequestration

Courses

On the Ecological Resilience program, you will take three 4-credit disciplinary courses, one 2-credit language and culture course, and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English

Click on the
to view a description and download the syllabus.
SFS 2080
Language, Culture, and Society of Costa Rica
2 credits
SFS 3742
Principles of Natural Resource Management
4 credits
SFS 3771
Tropical Ecology and Ecosystem Resilience
4 credits
SFS 3821
Justice, Resilience, and the Environment
4 credits
SFS 4910
Directed Research – Costa Rica
4 credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS use and applications, species identification, habitat and biodiversity assessment, vertebrate ecology, tourism impact assessment methods, basic Spanish language skills, research design and implementation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and research presentation.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include lowland tropical rainforest, tropical cloud forest, Pacific coastal rainforest, dry forests, national parks, agroecosystems, farms, volcanoes, mangroves, and coastal ecosystems. 


Other Costa Rica Programs

Semester

Ecological Resilience Studies

15 Weeks
18 Credits
Fall 2024
Sep 4 - Dec 15
Closed
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$20,500
  • Room & Board$5,000
  • Total$25,500
Summer Session 1

Biodiversity and Sustainable Food Systems

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2025
Jun 2 - Jul 1
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$4,850
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,500
Summer Session 2

Environmental Justice from the Ground Up

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jul 8 - Aug 6
In the Field
Summer 2025
Jul 7 - Aug 5
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$4,850
  • Room & Board$1,650
  • Total$6,500

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