Program Site: The School for Field Studies (SFS) Costa Rica Center for Sustainable Development Studies field station near Atenas, on a hillside farm in the Valle Central with spectacular views overlooking the Rio Grande River.
Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA and at least one semester of college-level ecology or environmental science and one semester of college-level Spanish (or the equivalent). In addition, students must be at least 18 years old to participate in this program.
Description: The School for Field Studies is a leader in field-based international education. Its mission is to deepen students' understanding of the relationships between environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic development.
The main goal of the Center for Sustainable Development Studies’ research is to examine different sustainable management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. Students examine these issues through a case study approach and field work in addition to completing a directed research project. Community needs are the impetus behind the program’s research goals. Conversation and collaboration with local residents allow students to better understand their perspectives and provide the framework for research plans.
Academics: Students take four courses: Tropical Ecology and Sustainable Development, Economic and Ethical Issues in Sustainable Development, Principles of Resource Management, and Directed Research. A 2-unit course called Language, Culture, and Society of Costa Rica is also required.
Course Load and Credit: Students take five courses for a maximum of 18 USC units.
Activities and Other Program Features: Visits to forests, volcanic parks, and plantations offer opportunities to examine management schemes, identify the benefits of protected areas, and determine which systems offer the best option for economic development, the maintenance of cultural norms, and the preservation of biodiversity.
There is an extended 10-day field trip to Nicaragua or Panama, where students conduct a comparative analysis of environmental issues.
Accommodation: Shared dormitory rooms with other program participants.
Dates: Fall or Spring. Fall semester runs from early September to early December; spring semester runs from early February to early May.
Estimated Semester Cost:
Cost Updated: 01/09/12
Text Updated: 07/11/12
*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.