Monteverde, Costa Rica

Summer Tropical Ecology + Conservation

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Information for term Summer Tropical Ecology + Conservation

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jun 12 – Aug 5, 2023 (8 weeks)
  • Credit: 10 semester hours / 15 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Explore the high biodiversity of the tropical cloud forest of Monteverde, where conservation initiatives, scientific research, environmental education, ecotourism, and the local community live together to preserve this unique place threatened by climate change. Students will carry out Faculty-led research projects where they apply the knowledge gained in the classroom and participate in activities to learn about different tropical ecosystems.


    when you visit Costa Rica’s other fascinating natural habitats.


    as you complete an independent research project that gives you an in-depth look at local flora or fauna.


    where mosses and orchids dripping with mist decorate the boughs of gnarly trees and brightly colored birds dart through the fog for fruits.





Location & Culture

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Located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, Monteverde lies along the continental divide at the crest of the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain chain, which is blanketed by a cool, wet cloud forest extending down into the Atlantic lowlands.  The cloud forest provides a striking contrast to the deciduous forest on the Pacific side.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was founded in 1972 to protect the entire ridge above Monteverde and down into the Peñas Blancas Valley.  As a result of its unique history and geography, Monteverde is a stunning home to exotic flora, fauna, and wildlife and sustainability projects including agriculture, energy production, water conservation, forest management, and biodiversity conservation.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Monteverde.

The Culture


Excursions and activities may include: 

  • Immersing yourself in the steamy jungle of the Lowland Rainforest.
  • Natural destinations, such as national parks or reserves to experience Costa Rica’s biodiversity and natural beauty.
  • Marvel at the diversity of a tropical dry forest, rare and endangered, and so vibrant with life.
  • Indoor and outdoor areas with access to forest trails and gardens for recreation, self-exploration and co-curricular activities.
  • Rising with the sun for birding tours or farm chores and experience biodiversity after the sun goes down with a guided night hike in the forest.
  • Optional weekend at a homestay where students can live with a local family in Monteverde and immersed themselves in the Costa Rican culture.


Put your skills to work on an independent research project in tropic ecology or conservation, from observation to a presentation of your findings. At every step, you’ll be guided by an expert faculty advisor. Past projects have explored beetle habitats, hummingbird habits, and the prey of cane toads.

View Student Research

Daily Life

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  • Housing

    Dorms: Whether on or off-campus, students live in dormitories surrounded by the Cloud Forest  in double, triple, or quad rooms shared with other CIEE students. Rooms have shared or ensuite bathrooms, shared desks, and shared desks and shared closets.


    All students receive three meals per day.  Accommodation for vegan and vegetarian diets is possible.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Where You'll Study

  • A


    where some classes and laboratories are held and where some students are housed

  • B


    where some classes and laboratories are held and where some students are housed

  • C


    CIEE Monteverde provides transportation to town once or twice a week or students may take a taxi.

What People are Saying

  • "I love this program, we travelled a lot and got to see a huge portion of the pacific coast, and it was a really rigorous program that helped me get some courses done for my degree."

    Madeline B., SUNY at Fredonia
  • "Great experiences for a low cost, with wonderful professors."

    Elizabeth W., University of Virginia


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This intensive eight-week program immerses students in tropical biology and ecology and allows them to conduct independent research in a specific area. Spanish classes and an optional weekend homestay help students build their Spanish language skills. Science courses are taught in English by highly qualified faculty, with guest lectures from resident and visiting biologists.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

One semester of college-level biology.


One semester of college-level ecology, environmental science, or a second biology course is recommended.  Some college-level Spanish is recommended.  Best suited for students who are outdoorsy, interested in ecology and conservation, and want a challenging and transformative 

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

All students take four CIEE courses including two biology courses, Independent Research, and one Spanish language course.

Program Credit

Total credit: 10 U.S. semester/15 quarter credits per session

Course Credit

CIEE courses: 2-4 U.S. semester/3-6 quarter credits; 30-60 contact hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

Intense and rigorous, with amazing experiences along the way. Courses (except Spanish) are taught in English with an academic focus on ecology and include classwork, field study, lab work, and observation.

Class Format

Students learn with other CIEE students in small, dynamic groups. Lessons are highly interactive and include classroom and field study to take advantage of Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity.  Various levels of conversational Spanish allow students to improve their language skills at the right pace.


Students are graded with standard A-F letter grades based on midterm and final exams, quizzes, field practical, written reports from field experiments, and participation.  Independent study grades are based upon a proposal, manuscript, research effort, and symposium presentation.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction

English and Spanish

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information


Summer 2023 CIEE Courses

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Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Ritzmann Tropical and Marine Ecology Scholarships
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • CIEE Stem Scholarship

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Summer 2023 8 weeks Deadline Passed Jun 12, 2023 Aug 5, 2023
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $6,673 **

Housing = $1,280 ***

Insurance = $197

Total Fees = $8,450

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

International Airfare = $650

Local Transportation = $100

Personal expenses = $250

Other = $0

Total Estimated Costs = $1,000

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required by their US home institution to study abroad via CIEE's School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

*** includes all meals

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500.

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What's Included

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What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city
On-site Staff
Full-time program leadership and support in your city
Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
Excursions and/or Study Tours
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Our Staff

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Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience! 

    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.