Monteverde, Costa Rica

Tropical Ecology + Conservation

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Information for term Tropical Ecology + Conservation

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2021

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Aug 22 – Nov 30, 2021 (14 weeks)*
  • Credit: 17 semester hours / 25.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA

Application Deadline

November 1, 2021

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Feb 21 – May 14, 2022 (12 weeks)*
  • Credit: 17 semester hours / 25.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Explore the biodiversity in Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve, beaches, waterfalls, coral reefs, and more – all while building on your Spanish language skills. Take courses on tropical ecology, and a Spanish language course appropriate to your skills at CIEE Global Institute – Monteverde. Work on an independent research project in tropical ecology or conservation, from observation and data collection to a presentation of your findings. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

Unique Experiences


    including visits to Costa Rica’s mangroves, lowland rainforest, dry forest, turtle nesting beaches and many others, including the coral reefs of Panama’s Bocas del Toro Islands.


    and fast-forward your language skills as you learn about native culture.


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

  • species of plants and trees in Monteverde Preserve

  • national parks in Costa Rica

  • species of frogs and toads


Location & Culture

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The Culture


  • Explore Corcovado National Park’s Pacific Lowland Rainforest and neighboring Caño Island, looking for dolphins and whales along the way
  • Observe nesting turtles on Atlantic-slope beaches
  • Discover the astonishing diversity of coral reefs in Panama’s Bocas del Toro
  • Explore a dry forest recognized for its study of regeneration in Santa Rosa National Park
  • See how local coffee farms, livestock, and butterfly gardens add to Monteverde’s vibrant landscape
  • Camp, hike, snorkel, boat, and swim while comparing Atlantic and Pacific slope habitats
  • Hike above the treeline to explore endemic species and amazing views in Costa Rica’s paramo
  • Discover local foods and customs in the town of Monteverde


Put your skills to work on an independent research project in tropical ecology or conservation, from observation to data collection and then 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 behavior, the prey of cane toads, orchids and their pollinators, and much more.

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Program Blogs

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Program Blogs

Daily Life

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  • Biological Station

    For two months, students live next to the cloud forest at the Monteverde Biological Station where they attend classes and sleep four to a room. Rooms have bunkbeds, 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.

  • Homestay

    Homestays: A one-month homestay with a Spanish-speaking family in Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena, or another nearby town, makes it easy to immerse yourself in local language and culture. During a homestay, students are provided with three meals a day.

  • monteverde, costa rica, camping, tents

    Field lodging

    Field lodging: Students camp or stay in cabins when they take field trips with instructors.

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Where You'll Study

  • A



  • B


    A Spanish-language school

  • C

    Getting Around

    Students either walk or pay for transport by taxi.


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This demanding program is designed for energetic, outdoorsy students who are committed to fully immersing in academics, nature, and local culture. Tropical Ecology and Conservation is for students who are studying biology and related fields. Students learn about tropical ecology and conservation through rigorous work in the classroom and field, including two extensive trips and an independent research project. Work is complimented with a homestay and Spanish language study. 

Courses are taught by biology professors from universities in Costa Rica and the United States who hold degrees in ecology and have extensive tropical experience. Guest lectures include resident and visiting biologists. Spanish is taught by instructors from Centro Panamericano de Idiomas.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

Two semesters of college-level biology.


One semester of college-level ecology or environmental science is recommended. Some college-level Spanish is recommended.

Program Requirements

All students on the program take 5 required courses.

  • 3 CIEE biology and ecology courses
  • 1 Spanish language course at one of nine levels
  • 1 Independent Research course

Program Credit

Total credit: 17 U.S. semester/25.5 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE Biology and Ecology courses: 4 U.S. semester/6 quarter credits and 60 contact hours per course, unless otherwise noted
  • CIEE Spanish language courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours

Academic Culture

Students learn with other CIEE participants in small, dynamic groups. Learning happens primarily through experience, with plenty of field work, excursions, and small group work.

Class Format

Classes in this rigorous program run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The schedule for fall runs from late August to the end of November. The schedule for spring runs from early February to mid-May.


Students are graded with standard A-F letter grades based on midterm 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.

Language of Instruction

Spanish and English


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Fall 2021 CIEE Courses

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Biological and Physical Sciences

Semester Credit

Languages and Cultural Studies

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 Global Institutes and CIEE Centers.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in 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:

  • 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.

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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

Fall 2021 14 weeks May 1, 2021 Aug 22, 2021* Nov 30, 2021*
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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 = $15,563 **

Housing = $2,420 ***

Insurance = $167

Total Fees = $18,450

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

Books & Supplies = $20

Personal expenses = $350

Other = $100 ††

Total Estimated Costs = $1,220

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.

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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

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

†† Covid test fees for entry to the US

Spring 2022 12 weeks Nov 1, 2021 Feb 21, 2022* May 14, 2022*

*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, 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

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    Apply Now
  • 2

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

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    Contact Us

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