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  • Locations: Bocas del Toro, Panama
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Field Studies 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 02/15/2019 ** 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:
Program Type: Affiliate Partner Housing Options: Dormitory
Credit Type: Transfer Credit Language of Instruction: English
Provider: SFS Experiential Learning: Research, Service-Learning
Program Description:




  • Term: Summer Session I
  • Credits: 4 semester-hour credits (8 credits if taken with Session II in Costa Rica)
  • Prerequisites: No course prerequisites: 18 years of age
  • Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged
  • Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans


This course introduces students to the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Bocas del Toro and the challenges presented by a growing reliance on tourism for economic development. Students assess the impact of tourism on the natural environment, including cultural, economic, and political dimensions. Students gain an understanding of the challenges of developing environmental policies that effectively conserve the region’s natural resources while providing economic sustainability for local communities.
  • Recognize the major forms and incentives of tourism in Bocas del Toro and identify key issues
  • Snorkel on the archipelago’s coral reefs, mangrove cays, and seagrass meadows to evaluate the health of local marine habitats
  • Practice environmental assessment techniques to identify drivers of human-induced stress in natural systems
  • Visit national parks in the archipelago to determine how tourism can support protected areas
  • Compare ecotourism lodges with large-scale resort hotels and assess their impacts on social, economic, and environmental systems
  • Explore lowland humid rainforests to understand terrestrial biodiversity
  • Perform cost-benefit analyses on tourist activities and identify the positive and negative effects on natural systems and livelihoods in the archipelago
  • Draft model plans for optimizing sustainable tourism in Bocas del Toro
This summer course can be taken individually (4 credits) or in combination with Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability in Costa Rica (8 credits). The combined summer program provides a thorough introduction to environmental management, tourism, and sustainable development in tropical ecosystems.