summer session I


Tourism and Tropical Island Ecosystems


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 Panama.

Major academic themes include:

  • Ecosystem health assessment
  • Biodiversity observations
  • Impacts of tourism on island ecosystems and human livelihoods
  • Approaches to sustainable tourism


On the Tourism and Tropical Island Ecosystems 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 3000 Tourism and Island Systems: Assessment of Sustainable Practices 4 credits

Field Skills

You will practice valuable skills in the field which may include: terrestrial and marine observation and surveying, tourism SWOT analysis, research design, interview methods, assessment of local tourism providers, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and Spanish language skills.


You will visit different ecosystems and communities while in the field, which may include coral reefs, tropical rainforests, coastal forests and beaches, island ecosystems, coffee farms and cloud forests in the Chiriqui Highlands, Panama City and the Panama Canal, mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, banana farms and other agricultural operations, a Ngöbe community, marine protected areas, riverine ecosystems, and the vibrant small-town community of Bocas.

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.

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All program components are subject to change.