summer session II

Costa Rica

Fundamentals of Sustainability Research


This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. 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 include:

  • Agroforestry and permaculture
  • Climate change and tropical ecosystems
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Sustainable ecotourism
  • Hummingbird ecology and behavior
  • Urban ecology
  • National park management


On the Fundamentals of Sustainability Research program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.

Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus

SFS 4930 Applied Research Techniques and Strategies Toward Sustainability 4 credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS use and applications, habitat and biodiversity assessment, research design and implementation, forest soundscape techniques, songbird mist-netting, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, tourism impact assessment methods, research presentation, and Spanish language skills.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities, which may include low-land tropical rainforest, tropical cloud forest, the rainforest on the Pacific coast, dry forest on the Guanacaste Peninsula, communities surrounding national parks, agroecosystems, fishing villages, farms, volcanoes, mangroves and coastal ecosystems.

Spend your summer with SFS!

Get more out of your SFS experience when you take back-to-back summer sessions. More time to explore the ecosystems and communities, more time to learn about complex environmental issues, and more time to build practical skills. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions.

Costa Rica Session I: Coffee and Chocolate: A Taste of Sustainability

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All program components are subject to change.