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

April 1, 2019

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Jun 14 – Aug 9, 2019 (8 weeks)*
  • Credit: 10 semester hours / 15 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Wake up to the sound of howler monkeys at our unique biological station, on the doorstep of the 57,000-acre Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Your classroom? Cloud forest treetops, sandy beaches, lush rain forests – all ideal for rigorous study of the incredibly diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica. Your summer adventure includes travel throughout the country, a strong boost for your Spanish language skills, a chance to carry out your own independent research project, and a satisfying taste of life in rural Costa Rica.

Unique Experiences

  • Camp and hike

    through rain forests, dry forests, mangroves, beaches and more, as you explore protected natural areas.

  • Put new skills into practice

    as you complete an independent research project that gives you an in-depth look at a favorite creature or plant, on a topic that fascinates you.

  • Live like a local

    during a three-week homestay.

  • species of plants and trees in Monteverde Preserve

  • species of amphibians

  • inhabitants


Location & Culture

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The small community of Monteverde sits atop the Continental Divide in the Tilarán mountains in northwestern Costa Rica.  Here, the treasure is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve – home to a staggering number of species that includes pumas, monkeys, quetzal, and the endangered three-wattled bird. From this amazing home base, you’ll also travel to the coast and other parts of the country.

The Culture


  • Explore a lush lowland rain forest in Corcovado National Park, where inhabitants include white-crowned parrots, two-toed sloths, coatimundi, white-faced monkeys, and more.
  • Explore a dry forest recognized for its study of regeneration in Santa Rose National Park.
  • Visit Carara National Park, near the Pacific coast, home of the country’s largest groups of scarlet macaws.
  • See towering Arenal volcano. Dormant for some time, the surrounding park is home to some 850 species of birds and more.


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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  • Biological Station

    For two months, students live next door to the Monteverde Cloud Forest at a biological station where they attend classes and sleep four to a room. Rooms have bunks, a private bath, and hot showers. All meals are provided – family-style. Two teaching assistants are stationed here for guidance and academics, and other staff members plan activities and keep students informed of community events. Field lodging - Students camp or stay in cabins during the field trips with instructors.


    All meals are provided.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Where You'll Study

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    Getting Around

    Students either walk or pay for transport by taxi.

What People are Saying

  • It was an amazing experience, with everything I was hoping to experience - hiking, camping, learning about animals and plants, culture, language, and independent research. I really could not have imagined a study abroad program I would have wanted to go on more.

    Tamera, Temple University, Summer 16
  • Everything I expected, and I got more out of it than I had expected!

    Patrick, University of Wisconsin, Summer 16

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What you need to know

The program details

This intensive program gives students an incredible introduction to tropical biology and ecology, and allows them to learn more about a specific interest with independent research. Throughout, students also build their Spanish language skills and learn local customs.

Courses are taught by the resident director and local faculty, with guest lectures include resident and visiting biologists.


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    Students learn with other CIEE participants in small, dynamic groups. Lessons are taught in the classroom and in the field, to take full advantage of Monteverde’s amazing biodiversity.


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


    Intense and rigorous, yet equally rewarding. SCHEDULE Summer: Mid-June to mid-August.



    Students need to have a GPA of at least 2.5.


    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.


Program Credit

  • Total credit, summer: 10 semester/15 quarter hours
  • Contact hours: Tropical biology: contact hours 60; credit – 4 semester credits/6 quarter hours
  • Other classes: contact hours 30; credit – 2 semester credits / 1.5 quarter hours

Taught in English, with an academic focus on biology, and includes classwork, field study, lab work, and observation.

Various levels of conversational Spanish allow students to improve their language skills at the right pace.

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.

Summer 2019 Courses

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Required courses:

  • BIOL 3001 MVSU: Tropical Biology
  • BIOL 3003 MVSU / BIOL 3004 MVSU: Independent Research in Biology/Ecology
  • ECOL 3003 MVSU: Humans in the Tropics

Plus one Spanish course:

  • SPAN 1005 MVSU: Spanish Language, Beginning I
  • SPAN 2005 MVSU: Spanish Language, Intermediate I
  • SPAN 3005 MVSU: Spanish Language, Advanced I

Summer 2018 Courses

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To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Monteverde Center, visit our syllabi site.


Spanish Conversation class at the appropriate level


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Scholarships & Grants

Last year, we awarded more than 1,000 scholarships per term for a total of $5 million, helping more students get on planes and live their dreams in faraway places than any other organization.

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

  • 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

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, Deadlines & Fees

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Dates, Deadlines & 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.


  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • A two-day orientation in San José to introduce students to Spanish culture, the academic program, and surroundings, plus practical information about living in Costa Rica
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host country
  • Field trips and cultural activities
  • Overnight excursions
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support

No Hidden Fees


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Summer 2019 8 weeks Apr 1, 2019 Jun 14, 2019* Aug 9, 2019*
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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 = $6,503 **

Housing = $1,280 ***

Insurance = $167

Total Fees = $8,250

Estimated Costs

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

International Airfare = $600

Local Transportation = $50

Books & Supplies = $200

Personal expenses = $800

Total Estimated Costs = $1,650

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $5 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, MSI grants, Gilman matching grants, and Pell matching 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 to study on CIEE programs through a 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

round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

*Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

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, ask your college or university study abroad advisor if your school charges additional fees for study abroad.

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  • 2

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

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