Tropical Biology Field Course in Costa Rica

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During this 4-week field course, you will visit all three OTS field stations, as well as other unique ecosystems throughout Costa Rica. Integrating classroom and field instruction introduces students to some of the most critical issues facing tropical biodiversity and threatened ecosystems, as well as the fundamental principles of tropical biology, ecology, and natural history of local plants and animals. The ecological complexity of the tropics, the patterns of species diversity, and the types of species interactions that characterize these systems are a major theme. You will complete the course by engaging in independent research and then present your results with the support of program faculty.

  • Explore all three famous OTS field research stations
  • Live, study and conduct research in one of the world's biodiversity hotspots
  • Understand how human activities impact tropical ecosystems
  • Design, conduct and present independent capstone project

COVID-19 Update

Applications for Spring 2021 are due by November 1st. We have also updated our refund policy for this semester by making all payments for tuition and fees, (including the deposit) fully refundable up until 30 days prior to the start date of the program. We also have summer field programs available, including field courses and practicums, as well as online courses. Last but not least, we have scholarship funds available for students who qualify.

Questions & Answers


9 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
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Yes, I recommend this program

Tropical Biology Field Course in Costa Rica (Organization for Tropical Studies)

Excellent course , full of wonderful experiences, learning, nature and great people. I think this is a vey good opportunity to learn a lot of basic and very important ecological aspects of tropical environments and put your hands in the ground, I mean, having the opportunity to practice what you learn inmediatelly in a natural environment. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and the natural reserves of the Organization for Tropical Studies are just amazing.
Teachers are great and I think that having the chance to meet people very passionate about nature from all over the world and is wonderful. I think it could be nice to have one day per week as free time for resting a little because sometimes the activities performed were physically exhausting.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
For me, it was amazinf to have the opportunity to watch Quetzal birds and very beautiful and full of color venemous frogs!!!
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Yes, I recommend this program

OTS Costa Rica Summer Biology

This was a really fun program. Only six students and two leaders were in the program, which was a little intimidating at first, but ultimately it made us all rather close. The course was somewhat loose, with us doing different activities every day, but was anchored in three research projects at each of the main research stations. I liked this approach, because it allowed for a lot of exploration and asking questions.

Overall, I feel like I learned a lot. I think I would have preferred having a few more people on the trip, but otherwise, I really enjoyed it.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We saw two scorpions mating! It was really incredible.