SFS COSTA RICA: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (SEMESTER)
- Terms: Fall, Spring
- Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
- Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 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
Costa Rica is home to lush rainforests, towering volcanoes, rushing waterfalls, and a laid-back culture embodied by the national motto: “Pura Vida.” Spend a semester in the country’s many national parks, farms, and tropical ecosystems studying conservation, development, and innovative strategies for sustainability. Design and conduct an extensive field research project, collecting data and presenting your results to your peers and key community stakeholders.
- Explore the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity, to study tropical ecology and sustainable land management.
- Take a weeklong expedition to Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands, a lush, forested region of volcanic peaks, coffee farms, rich Ngäbe-Buglé culture, and perpetual spring-like weather.
- Go behind the scenes at a local coffee farm and sustainable permaculture homestead to learn how Costa Ricans have successfully combined agriculture and conservation.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies. The Center is an active organic 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
- Avian behavior
- Urban ecology
- Sustainable ecotourism
- Carbon sequestration
- Biodiversity assessment
- Songbird mist-netting
- Forest soundscape survey
- Basic Spanish language
- Research design and implementation
- Data collection and analysis
- Research presentation
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SFS semester and summer programs offer high-quality interdisciplinary academics at the undergraduate-level, accredited by
SFS classrooms include coral reefs, rainforests, and African savannas; the focus of our research ranges from sea turtle conservation to rainforest restoration.
Programs are designed to teach students about critical, local environmental problems and train them to do field research that will help address these problems. Our faculty provide core lectures needed to understand the content areas pertinent to case study and research questions. Field exercises compliment classroom lectures and help students to develop skills needed for Directed Research projects.
The academic and research agenda at each center is driven by a Five Year Research Plan, established by SFS staff and local community leaders.
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** Indicates rolling admissions.
If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.