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Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet

Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet website  (map)

Sponsor: 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.

Program Type: Affiliated


  • Fall
  • Winter/Spring


  • Students must have completed the equivalent of one year of college-level biology.
  • Spanish majors and minors must discuss their study abroad plans with a departmental adviser.

Admission Info:
To apply, Northwestern students must: 

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

Languages: Spanish, English

Language Requirements: 

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


Homestays, dormitories, and rural field stations
Meals included

Program Costs: 

Fall 2017: $32,210

Billed by Northwestern: $30,450

  • Tuition: $25,860
  • Room & board: $1,850
  • Duke transcript fee: $40
  • Study Abroad Fee: $2,700

Estimated additional costs: $1,760

  • Airfare: $800
  • Books & supplies: $60
  • Personal expenses: $750
  • GeoBlue: $150

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