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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: La Selva, Costa Rica; Playa Grande, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica; San Luis, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Maymester
  • Cost of Attendance Sheets: Maymester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Category: UGA Faculty-Led Click here for a definition of this term Open to non-UGA students: Yes
Classes With: U.S. Students, UGA Students Taught By: UGA/U.S. Professors(s)
College/School: Ecology Academic Area: Ecology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Language Program: No Language of Instruction: English
Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.0 or above Work Opportunity: No
Volunteer Opportunity: No Scholarship Availability: Yes
Housing Type: Dorm/Student Residence, Homestay, Hotel/Hostel
Program Description:



UGA - Ecology - Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

Program Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Literally up in the clouds of the Costa Rican continental divide, Monteverde is a tropical mountain home to tens of thousands of species. Big cats like pumas live here, as do monkeys, 420 species of orchids, and the endangered three-wattled bellbird. Monteverde is a small, international community, nestled along the edge of the cloud forest in the Tilarán mountain range of northwest Costa Rica. It is perhaps best known for the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, which offers some 200,000-plus yearly visitors a portal to a lush haven for biodiversity. The region, comprised of numerous small towns (Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena), is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds. Drawn to the area’s spectacular beauty and opportunities to see quetzals and monkeys, tourists now contribute the principal revenues, although coffee plantations and dairy farms still dot the landscape. The region, comprising of numerous small towns (Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena) is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds. These include Costa Ricans, who can trace their local roots back for several generations, North American Quakers, who colonized the upper elevations alongside Costa Rican pioneers some 60 years ago, and many international artists and biologists. Although highly diverse, the local community leans toward values favoring family, environmentalism, and pacifism. However, recent opportunities for economic development at the expense of nature, quality of life, and peacefulness have ignited debates about whether and how sustainable development is possible. This dynamic makes the perfect venue for students of sustainability and environmental conservation.


Academic Program

ECOL 3100 (4 hours), Tropical Field Ecology
An interdisciplinary field program in tropical habitats, exploring and comparing tropical environments, their natural history, their biological wealth, and the ecological patterns, processes, and interactions that characterize tropical systems. Students will develop competence in recognition and observation of tropical organisms in the wild. Analysis of the interplay of tropical nature and human society, the threats to tropical biodiversity, and current conservation approaches in the tropics.

ECOL 3510 (3 hours), Ecology Laboratory
Techniques and methodologies to assess organismal, population, community, or ecosystem interactions.

Program Itinerary

This is a working itinerary and subject to change.
Monday, April 13 Program Orientation
Wednesday, May 18 Fly to Costa Rica
Introduction to CR organismal taxonomy 
Thursday, May 19 La Selva, natural history hike
Friday, May 20 La Selva, ornithology, taxonomy
Saturday, May 21 La Selva, ornithology, taxonomy
Sunday, May 22 La Selva, old growth ecology, land use change, insect taxonomy
Monday, May 23 La Selva, steam ecology and research expectations
Tuesday, May 24 La Selva, research design and troubleshooting
Wednesday, May 25 La Selva, research
Thursday, May 26 Playa Grande, Marine ecology and safety
Friday, May 27 Playa Grande, Mangrove Ecology
Saturday, May 28 Playa Grande, research writing
Sunday, May 29 Playa Grande, primary literature
Monday, May 30 San Luis
Tuesday, May 31 San Luis, plant taxonomy
Wednesday, June 1 San Luis, Monteverde Reserve activity
Thursday, June 2 San Luis, natural history hike
Friday, June 3 San Luis, nutrient cycling, organic farming, sustainability
Saturday, June 4 San Luis, statistics and analysis lecture
Sunday, June 5 San Luis, horseback tour of divide, research projects and feedback
Monday, June 6 San Luis, practical exams, research writing/ editing
Tuesday, June 7 San Luis, Research Symposium
Wednesday, June 8 Depart for airport


Students will be spending 7 nights at the CIEE Global Institute Campus and 3 nights in homestay accommodations. One or two students will be assigned to each home with a private bedroom and shared family bathroom. 

Program Costs

The $3,060 tentative program fee includes accommodations, ground transportation, admission fees, group meals and 24/7 emergency support.  

  • Additional costs include roundtrip airfare to Costa Rica, passport and visa (if necessary)
  • UGA tuition and fees for at least six hours of credit.
  • General living expenses
Speak with a UGA Financial Aid Advisor about how to apply the HOPE scholarship and other financial aid to study abroad expenses


  • Timely completion of the application in the StudyAway Portal
  • Satisfactory academic and disciplinary records
  • Enrollment is limited (Likewise, minimum enrollment must be met to confirm program)

Admission Process

Admissions are rolling after the Oct. 15 decision date, and only applications marked "complete" by that time will receive a decision. Admission decisions will be sent via the application portal. Students will have a limited time to accept or decline an admission offer before the spot passes to another candidate. Students who accept the offer of admission must pay a non-refundable $300 deposit to confirm their place in the program and register for courses.

Contact Information


Dr. Scott Connelly, Program Director

Phone: 706-542-5233

Ecology building, Rm. 20

This program is currently not accepting applications.