The overall mission and policies of OTS and the effectiveness of its programs, staff, and field stations are overseen by two boards and six committees. The Assembly of Delegates consists of two representatives from each member institution. The Board of Visitors is formed by leaders from business, environment, and government, thus providing OTS with a wider perspective in its role as a facilitator of tropical research and education. The Board of Directors is charged with ensuring that policies and directives established at the annual meeting are carried out.
The Education Committee steers the educational mission of OTS; shaping the annual slate of course offerings, assisting with both faculty and student selection, and overseeing the development of the undergraduate semester abroad program. The Science Committee provides leadership in identifying critical emerging research areas in tropical studies, and coordinates with the Science Director to develop the support necessary to advance those areas. The Costa Rica Institutional Committee is charged with the promotion of academic interactions of Costa Rican scientists with researchers from other OTS institutional members.
Finally, the La Selva Advisory Committee , Palo Verde Advisory Committee , and Las Cruces Advisory Committee shape policies at the stations concerning the staffing, use, and infrastructure development.