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UW-Platteville Short-Term Faculty-Led - Ecolgy and Conservation of Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica; Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica; Quepos, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Winterim
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winterim 2019 11/01/2018 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students 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:
Area of Study:
Biology, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science, Geography, International Studies, International Education, International Relations, Reclamation, Spanish
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Program Model:
Short-Term Faculty-Led
Language(s) of Instruction:
Minimum GPA:
Dormitory, Hostel/Hotel
Years of Eligibility:
Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Program Description:
BIOL 4710 & GEOG 4760 - Ecology and Conservation of Costa Rica 

Winterim 2018: January 3 - 20, 2018
Application Deadline: October 1, 2017


Course Description
Students participating in this course will spend eighteen days traveling and studying conservation and ecology in tropical Costa Rica with a focus on rainforest, mangrove swamp, reef, and montane ecosystems. 

This course is designed to acquaint students with two related aspects of Costa Rica: the tropical ecosystems of Costa Rica, and the relationship of humans and the environment in that country. Costa Rica is entirely in the tropics, and all ecosystems in the country are tropical, although due to altitudinal zonation and varying patterns of rainfall, there are an unsual number of distinct tropical ecosystems in the country available to study. Since the 1970s, Costa Rica has emerged as a world leader in conservation, and studying their historical and current patterns of human-environmental interactions will demonstrate a large number of possibilities for conservation in other places. A conscientious student will emerge from this course with the experience, vocabulary, knowledge, and insight sufficient to allow them to think and work in the language of tropical ecosystems and conservation.

Students have the option of enrolling in either BIOL 4710 - Selected Regional Habitats (3 cr.) or GEOG 4760 - Geography Field Study (3 cr.). For the purposes of this course, it will be referred to as one course under the title "Ecology and Conservation of Costa Rica," although that is not the formal name or the course that will appear on students' transcripts. 

Course Highlights
  • Working with local ecologists to learn about Costa Rican tropical ecosystems 
  • Seeing neotropical animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, and birds
  • Experiencing the vibrant Costa Rican culture
  • Visiting biological field stations, national parks and conservation areas
Course Structure

PRE-DEPARTURE: Students are required to attend two mandatory pre-departure meetings (dates TBA).

IN-COUNTRY: While in Costa Rica, students will be expected to maintain a daily journal/narrative of their experiences in Costa Rica, participate in class activities and discussions, complete assigned readings and complete a research project.

RE-ENTRY: Students will have to submit their final research paper on the research project they completed in Costa Rica after they return to the US. Participants are also expected to attend a re-entry session organized by the Education Abroad Office in in early February. 

Level: 4000-level course work

Term: Winterim 2018

Prerequisites: Students planning to enroll in BIOL 4710 must have already completed BIOL 1650 and BIOL 1750
                         Sophomore standing is strongly preferred, but outstanding freshmen will be considered

Course load: One 3-credit course

Grading: A-F only, cannot be audited; must be enrolled in course for credit

Application Materials Required: One Letter of Recommendation 

Students will receive credit for either BIOL 4710 or GEOG 4760 depending on which course they enroll in. Both courses also satisfy the International Education General Education requirement.  

Program Co-Leaders

Dr. Beth Frieders is a professor in the Biology Department, and Dr. Richard Waugh is a professor in the Geography Department. Both faculty leaders have extensive experience abroad and have previously led courses in Costa Rica, Canada, the Soviet Union, and Guatemala. 

Housing and Meals
Students will be staying in hotels and biology field stations and will be sharing double or quadruple occupancy rooms with other program participants. Room type may vary from location to location depending on available options.

Most meals are covered in the program fee. However, there will be about 12 meals that will be out-of-pocket expenses. Students should expect to spend approximately $10/meal.  

Program Fees

A $50 non-refundable Education Abroad application fee is due before your application can be reviewed. 

The estimated program cost is $3,280*. This includes program administrative fees, 3 credits, in-country transportation, accommodations, entrance to course related excursions and site visits, and international medical and accident insurance. The program fee will be charged to your PASS account in full. All regular registration and late fees will apply.
*Program cost based on 19 students

The program cost does NOT include passport, approximately 12 meals ($10/meal), and personal spending money. Out-of-pocket costs are estimated to be approximately $150-$250. Please also keep in mind the following:
  • Fees may change based on final enrollment, changes in fuel prices, and exchange rates
  • Fee differentials apply for non-WI/MN residents ($100) and TSI ($40)
  • Veterans: Please contact the Education Abroad Office if you have have eligibility under the post-911 GI Bill or the Wisconsin GI Bill
Students will have two weeks upon their acceptance to commit to the program. Program fees are due IN FULL before departure. 

UW-Platteville student applicants should apply for the UW-Platteville International Study Scholarship by visiting the Education Abroad website. Applicants must show financial need on their FAFSA to qualify. Scholarship awards will be dispersed to student's PASS account.

Withdrawal Policy: 
Students who withdraw on or after the day of commitment will be financially responsible for a $165 Education Abroad administrative fee and all non-recoverable expenses. Non-recoverable expenses include anything UW-Platteville has paid for on behalf of the participant (i.e. airfare, housing, tickets, etc.) and is unable to recover from an organization or vendor. Students who withdraw on or after the program start date will be financially responsible for the entire program fee.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after the program end date. To learn more about applying for a passport, please visit the U.S. Department of State website. You can apply for a passport here in Platteville at the local post office. For more information, visit their website

U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa to enter Costa Rica. Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for determining visa requirements for your country of citizenship. 

For More Information Contact

Program Co-Leader
Dr. Beth Frieders
Office: 231 Gardner Hall
Phone: 608-342-1683

Program Co-Leader
Dr. Richard Waugh
Office: 260 Gardner Hall
Phone: 608-342-1386

Program Coordinator
Alyssa Shaff
Education Abroad
Office: 102 Royce Hall
Phone: 608-342-6151

Program Ratings:
Academic Experience: 1 2 3 4 5
Cultural Value: 1 2 3 4 5
Accommodation: 1 2 3 4 5
Food: 1 2 3 4 5
Safety: 1 2 3 4 5
Program Provider Administration: 1 2 3 4 5
Host Country Program Administration: 1 2 3 4 5
Overall Experience: 1 2 3 4 5
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