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

Field Skills

You will practice valuable skills in the field which may include: 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.


You will visit different ecosystems and communities while in the field, 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 two summer sessions with SFS. More time to explore the ecosystems and communities, more time to learn about the complex environmental issues, and more time to learn essential field skills. Sessions feature different course topics and field excursions and you will 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.