Yucatan, Mexico

Summer STEM + Society

Study in the Yucatan Peninsula
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Study in the Yucatan Peninsula

Your home base is Mérida – a beautiful, historic, colonial city centrally located on the Yucatán Peninsula and just 20 minutes from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In less than a two-hour drive one can discover biodiverse nature reserves, UNESCO archaeological sites, and historic towns where you lunch alongside locals while working on your Spanish language proficiency. Researchers and students are in good company, as Mérida hosts more than a dozen universities and several national research facilities.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

CIEE is requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling on programs. Read more ›

Unique Experiences

  • Study

    Environmental Chemistry and Sustainable Agriculture in the classroom and in the field.

  • Live

    with a host family, committed to making your stay unforgettable in one of the safest and most beautiful cities in Mexico and immerse yourself in a living Mayan culture.

  • Explore

    the scientific and engineering legacy of the ancient Mayan civilization and see firsthand how science impacts contemporary Mayan and Mexican society.

  • days of sunshine per year

  • the year the oldest cathedral on the American continent was completed

  • city of Mérida is founded


Location & Culture

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From its hundreds of Mayan ruins and colonial architecture to its exceptional food and bustling city life, the Yucatán is a complex hub of ancient and modern culture. In fact, the city of Mérida hosts one of the largest intact indigenous populations (60%) of any Latin American city. Look for Mayan culture as part of daily in the modern city – its regional foods, music, textiles, and traditions are all rooted in centuries of tradition. Above all, Mérida, the Yucatecan capital is also the second safest city in the whole American continent according to the World´s Safest Cities Ranking.

The Yucatan is ideal for studies in natural sciences including ecology, environment, as well as agricultural and Spanish language studies. Much of the region sits within the Chicxulub crater, formed by the impact of a large asteroid that hit earth 66 million years ago, causing the fifth great extinction that included dinosaurs. Geologically, the Yucatán’s karst topography of limestone creates caves and cenotes rich in beauty and cultural significance. Additionally, zoos, botanical garden, Museum of Natural History, and science institutes are all within easy reach. As a CIEE student, you will be enjoying the surroundings of our beautiful CIEE Center, in one of the many terraces, art galleries, restaurants and coffee shops around.

The Culture

Excursions & Activities

On this summer program, you may:

  • Explore the ruins of Chichén Itzá – perhaps the most famous pre-Columbian site built by the Maya and one of the Seven Wonders of the World!
  • Tour the world-class science facilities of the Scientific and Technology Park of Yucatán, home to seed banks, botanical gardens and more.
  • Learn to cook world-famous Yucatecan Gastronomy. Drive to colorful Campeche, just two hours southwest of Mérida. The historic fortified town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where one can stroll the colorful streets in this old port city. Imagine the attacks by pirates and conquistadors from atop Fort San Miguel then savor the fresh seafood in any of the dozens of restaurants within the old city walls.

Daily Life

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  • Housing

    Homestay: Homestay is an integral part of the program, allowing students an insider view of Mexico‘s culture and a great opportunity to practice and enhance their Spanish skills.  Your host family provides a single room, private or shared bathroom, a desk, laundry once a week, Wi-Fi, and a copy of the house keys. 

    All homestays are relatively close to coffee shops, malls, commercial centers, ATMs, and restaurants, and within 30-45 minutes commute to CIEE Yucatán Center.  Depending on students’ housing profile and homestay availability, students may be placed in double homestay occupancy with single and/or double rooms and shared bathrooms.


    Residence Hall (subject to availability and seasonal demand): CIEE Yucatan may be able to place students at University City Campus (CU) in single or double bedrooms all equipped with TV, bathroom, Wi-Fi, safe box, desk, chair lamp, freezer, microwave, and kitchen accessories. Double rooms share kitchenette and bathroom. 

    The complex is exclusive for college students with a mix of local and international students and is located at a 20-30 minute ride to Merida’s beautiful downtown, shopping centers, museums, and CIEE Yucatan Center.  CU offers a shuttle bus service at an additional cost and Uber is also an option.

    University City Campus offers a wide range of facilities to enhance the student’s study abroad academic experiences, such as gym, swimming pool, study area, meeting room, cafeteria, BBQ area, green areas, and 24/7 first aid medical assistance.  In addition, students have access to the laundry room, or they can opt to pay for linen service.

  • Meals

    Homestays:  Two meals per day are included.  Although host families and students arrange their own meal schedules, usually it is breakfast and dinner, and students are responsible for the remaining meal, either preparing them at home or eating in one of many restaurants and cafés throughout the city.  Students who are staying for a full year are responsible for their meals during breaks between semesters.


    Residence Hall:  Meals are not included at the residence hall. Students can prepare their own meals in the kitchenette, they can opt to pay for a meal plan, they can use the cafeteria at UC at their leisure or explore the myriad restaurants throughout the city.

Yucatan, Mexico

Where You'll Study

  • A

    Parque de Santa Ana

    nearby art galleries

  • B

    Market Lucas de Galvez

    the main fresh fruit and vegetable market in Mérida

  • C

    Mayan World Museum



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CIEE Summer Science and Society in Mérida offers STEM study in two 4-week sessions: Environmental Chemistry, and Agricultural Ethics and the Developing World. In addition, each session offers an optional Communicative Spanish course (1 credit). There are no required courses or prerequisites.

All courses are taught by academics and local CIEE-contracted and trained experts. All instructors have at minimum of a master’s degree. Students participate in a range of complementary co-curricular, personal, and professional development activities to promote integration into their host community as active global learners. Throughout, students will explore connections between culture, science, and society.

CIEE Yucatán is conveniently located in the heart of Mérida next to cultural attractions, transportation, shopping, and dining.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

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 enroll in the one 3-credit CIEE course per session.


Total credit: 3-4 U.S. semester/4.5-6 quarter credits per session.

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours per session.
  • CIEE Communicative Language course: 1 U.S. semester/1.5 quarter credits; 15 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

Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday with possible weekend work and excursions. Regular class attendance and participation is expected and required. Students are also expected to play an active role in their own education by participating in group projects and interacting with fellow students and professors. The grading system is comprised of classroom participation, projects, oral and written presentations, research reports, and essays.

Class Format

Students enroll in one 3-credit CIEE course per session. Classes includes a mix of both lecture and discussion as well as field trips, guest lectures, and other excursions that provide a unique, place-based academic experience. Students may also enroll in the one-credit Communicative Spanish class in addition to their 3-credit class.


Grades are based on a combination of classroom participation, attendance, projects, and essays. Final grade is composed of exams, papers, homework, projects, attendance, and final test.

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


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

Course Notes
Students studying in Mérida for more than one session may only take Communicative Spanish once.

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
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • 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.

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
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.