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  • Locations: Monteverde, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Restrictions: Drexel applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English Click here for a definition of this term Class Eligibility: Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Type of Program: Intensive Course Abroad Click here for a definition of this term Program Advisor: Ahaji Schreffler
Program Description:
Program Overview | Academics | Program Calendar | Program Fee | More Information

Fall Break in Costa Rica:
Tropical Field Studies

Costa Rica Forest

Program Overview

This unique field study course gives students hands-on experience in the ecology of tropical montane forests. Tropical Field Studies will explore the physical and biological factors that result in the formation of these forests, and their impressively high biodiversity. We will explore some of the key animal and plant players in these ecosystems and their complex interactions. We will also consider the effect of human impacts on these forests, and how development processes affect local communities. Teaching methods will include faculty and guest lectures by local experts, natural history introduction walks, and field research projects. Check out Dr. O'Donnell's Monteverde photos here

Watch the Fall 2024 Info Session Here

By completing this Intensive Course Abroad, students will:

  • Gain a first-hand experiential understanding of the environmental factors that contribute to the formation of tropical forests and the ecological principles that govern their function.
  • Obtain knowledge of tropical ecology through field studies in tropical forests in different life zones.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges faced by tropical forest managers in light of modern development pressures.
  • Develop the student’s awareness of the increasing threat to the world’s biodiversity due to ongoing destruction of the tropical forests.


Credit/Registration: Students will be registered for Tropical Field Studies ENVS 323 / ENVS 523 for 3 credits as part of their fall term course load. Students must leave room for the 3 credits in their credit load when registering or will be billed for credits exceeding the 20 credit maximum. Graduate students will be billed for 3 Drexel credits at their normal rate.

Instructor: Sean O'Donnell, Professor in Drexel's Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science

Program CalendarCosta Rica Research Group

Arrival Date: August 31 2024
Departure Date: September 13, 2024
*Students must request early departure from summer term professors / co-op employers and are encouraged to do so during the application process. 

Itinerary Overview:  Daytime and night time field trips and observation periods                                          

Date                  Night spent at:

Day 1      Fly to Alajuela, Costa Rica (SJO); night in Alajuela 

Day 2      Shuttle bus to Monteverde. Lodging at Monteverde Biological Station. 

Days 3 - 10 Sun Hikes, Field lectures, visits to local organizations, field problems. Group will explore and compare a range of ecological life zones in the Monteverde area. Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve, Conservation League, local farms/private forests. Lodging each night at Monteverde Biological Station. 

Day 11 & 12  Sept Tues  Travel to San Gerardo station- mid-elevation rain forest. Stay two nights at San Gerardo. Hike and field learning in this rich and unique life zone.         
Day 13   Return to Monteverde. Lodging at Monteverde Biological Station. 

Day 14   Shuttle to Alajuela. Lodging in Alajuela hotel. Final course dinner.      

Day 15  Fly home from Alajuela (SJO) Costa Rica airport 


Program Fee - $1,920

Due May 1st: $500 Advance Payment + $25 application fee
Due July 1st: $1,420 Final Payment
*All payments are non-refundable unless declined admission or program cancels for unforeseen reasons.

Included in Program Fee:Costa Rica Tropical Bird

  • 13 nights lodging
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Ground transportation, including airport pickup and drop-off
  • Park entrance fees
  • Field supplies
  • Cultural activity
  • On Call Health & Emergency Insurance

Not Included in Program Fee:

  • R/T airfare to Costa Rica (approx $850)
  • Passport ($165)
  • Meals on arrival/departure days ($30)
  • Spending money (approx $100)
  • Graduate students billed for 3 Drexel credits
ICA Financial Aid: Students may request an Adjusted Cost of Attendance by submitting the ICA program fee and estimated out of pocket expenses listed above to Drexel Central (via askdrexel). Doing so could make students eligible for additional financial aid.  Students may also be eligible to apply for Drexel's ICA Scholarships.

More Information

  • US Citizens are not required to obtain a visa for entry to Costa Rica. Students of other nationalities should confirm visa requirements on the Costa Rica Embassy website.
  • Students will be responsible for making their own flight arrangements. A suggested flight itinerary will be provided. Students should arrive as early as possible on Day 1 of the program, as the scheduled activities begin that day.
  • The currency of Costa Rica is the "colon" (plural "colones").

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2024 05/01/2024
05/15/2024 08/31/2024 09/13/2024

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.