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  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Open to Visiting Students: No
Program Description:
OTS: Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet
OTS Costa Rica
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of over 50 universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa, and Australia. OTS provides students with unique, hands-on learning experience under the close guidance of highly qualified academic professors in a diversity of tropical habitats and communities. 

Through the Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet program, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Costa Rica both scientifically and culturally, to experience a variety of different ecosystems throughout, and to create their own independent research projects. Students will meet active researchers and local stakeholders and develop the skills needed for advanced studies and careers in tropical biology and resource management. 

Program Details
  • Minimum GPA: 2.7
  • SU required course load: 12-19 credits for undergraduate students
  • 1 year of college-level biology
Program Calendar
Fall Semester: late August to early December
Spring Semester: late January to mid-May

As a student on the Tropical Biology Program, Costa Rica's breathtaking natural resources are the classroom in which you learn about tropical ecology, conservation, natural resource management and field research. By visiting a variety of ecosystems and through a series of case studies, this program provides students with a strong foundation in the scientific, social, political, and economic aspects of tropical ecology, natural resource management and conservation. Students complete several research projects in the field alongside ecologists from around the world and will be mentored by program faculty through two independent projects.

The program consists of four, 4-credit courses including a course on culture and language in Costa Rica. Courses and grades from will be posted to your academic record and factored into your overall GPA at SU.

For a list of courses pre-approved for SU credit, please click on the "Courses Offered" link at the top of this page. There is no guarantee courses on the list will be offered during your semester abroad, so please refer to the World Partner website for the most up-to-date course offerings. If you want to take a course that is not already approved, Syracuse Abroad will assist in obtaining approval from the appropriate SU academic department.

For most of the semester, you are housed at the OTS field stations. Accommodations can range from two large rooms of bunk beds at some sites, to smaller rooms for four to six people. You will also experience immersion in Costa Rican culture during a three-week homestay in the San José area while you study intensive Spanish at the local language institute.

Program Cost
You will pay SU tuition and can apply all SU financial aid except work study. Besides tuition, you will also be charged a program fee which includes pre-departure meetings, international travel insurance, room and board, local travel, certain recreational activities, field and office equipment, transcript fee, and some computer services. For the most recent program fee and further explanation of estimated costs, please see the financial planning budget here: TBD.

Cara Hardy, Counselor,

Apply Now
Applying to this program requires completion of both Syracuse Abroad and OTS applications.

Please note: due to the small number of spaces in each program, it is possible for a program to reach maximum enrollment before the application due date. Apply early!

Syracuse University
Organization for Tropical Studies
  • Complete the OTS application. Check the OTS website for the application deadline. Please be aware that it is possible for a program to reach maximum enrollment before the application due date.
  • Follow instructions from OTS for supplemental documents.
The Organization for Tropical Studies

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.