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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Atenas, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: The School for Field Studies (SFS) 
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2025 09/01/2024 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Affiliate Partner Housing Options: Dormitory
Credit Type: Transfer Credit Language of Instruction: English
Provider: SFS Experiential Learning: Research
Program Description:


sfs costa rica


  • Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
  • Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science, 2.7 GPA, 18 years of age
  • Application Deadline: Fall: May 1st. Spring: November 1st. Early applications encouraged
  • Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


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. 
  • Take an expedition to Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands, a lush, forested region of volcanic peaks, coffee and vegetable farms, and perpetual spring-like weather. 
  • 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.

SFS students live and study at the Center for Ecological Resilience Studies. The Center is an active farm overlooking the vibrant Central Valley, where green is the predominant color as far as the eye can see. Dorms and classrooms intermingle with orchards and gardens, while Center dog Hera keeps watch over it all. The friendly town of Atenas is a 10-minute cab ride away, offering restaurants, shops, parks, and cultural events.


  • Climate change and tropical ecosystems
  • Agroforestry and conservation
  • Permaculture
  • Bird communication
  • Urban ecology
  • Sustainable ecotourism
  • Carbon sequestration
  • National park management


  • GIS
  • Species identification
  • Habitat and biodiversity assessment
  • Tourism impact assessment methods
  • Basic Spanish language
  • Research design and implementation
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Research presentation





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