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Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet

Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet website  (map)

Sponsor: Duke University & the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS)

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica


This rigorous program is designed for biology and environmental science majors, but it is open to students from all disciplines who have completed one year of college-level biology. Using a combination of field-based and classroom instruction, hands-on research, and cultural exchange, students learn about the conservation of tropical ecosystems. Under the direct guidance of experienced ecologists and through interactions with local stakeholders, students learn the inner workings of field ecology. Classes are taught in English and Spanish.

Program Type: Affiliated


  • Fall


Spanish majors and minors must discuss their study abroad plans with a departmental adviser.

Admission Info:
To apply, Northwestern students must: 

  1. Complete an NU Study Abroad Application by the appropriate deadline
  2. Complete a Duke/Organization for Tropical Studies application by the program's deadline

Languages: Spanish

Language Requirements: 

None, however, students are required to take a Spanish language course on the program


Home stays, dormitories, and rural field stations

Program Costs: 

Fall 2013: $28,630

Billed by Northwestern: $26,300

  • Tuition: $22,010
  • Room & board: $1,850
  • SAAF: $2,440

Estimated additional costs: $2,330

  • Airfare: $700
  • Local transportation: $450
  • Books & supplies: $100
  • Personal expenses: $875
  • Airport exit fee: $25
  • HTH: $140
  • Duke transcript fee: $40