Summer 2014: June 23 - July 22 Download the Undergraduate Program Brochure ( 2.17 mb )
Coordinator: To Be Announced
Co-Coordinator: To Be Announced
• Orientation Materials( 526 kb )
• Syllabus( 141 kb )
• FAQ's ( 572.8 kb )
• See research reports of program alumni: Coursebooks
OTS selects participants on a rolling basis. Please apply early to be considered.
Applications will no longer be accepted after the program is filled, even if that is before the application deadline.
If you are interested in a summer for which the deadline has already passed, please contact a member of the OTS Enrollment Management Team for availability.
Organization for Tropical Studies
Durham, NC 27708-0630
Phone: (919) 684-5155
Fax: (919) 684-5661
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) and the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates (GEO-U) proudly present an exciting opportunity to study tropical biology in Costa Rica. Based at OTS field stations, this undergraduate program provides access to a broad array of tropical ecosystems, including lowland wet forest on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica, dry forest and wetlands in northwest Costa Rica, and premontane moist forest in southern Costa Rica.
Biology 280LA Field Tropical Biology offers students the exciting opportunity to study first-hand the evolutionary ecology of important plant and animal taxa in tropical ecosystems. Course design emphasizes intensive field work and visits all three OTS field stations as well as other sites. Students are thus introduced to a great diversity of tropical habitats, each possessing distinctive biotas that in turn demonstrate unique evolutionary histories and ecological dynamics. As part of the course, students work closely with resident professors in the design, implementation, and interpretation of their own independent research project in field ecology. Independent projects allow students to learn science by doing science in a beautiful and challenging tropical setting. Results are presented orally following the protocol of a scientific meeting. Students also submit a formal research report that becomes part of the permanent records of the OTS field stations.
The course also covers topics on conservation biology, including forest fragmentation, restoration, and other factors affecting biodiversity.
Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive one course credit (or four credit hours) from Duke University.Go to top
We will visit 3 OTS stations. La Selva Biological Station, located in lowland tropical forest on the Atlantic slope, is an internationally renowned research center and home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. Palo Verde Biological Station, located in seasonally dry forest of northwest Costa Rica, provides direct access to extensive wetlands with a host of magnificent waterfowl. Las Cruces Biological Station, located in pre-montane wet forest of southern Costa Rica, is a station focused on restoration ecology and home to the Wilson Botanical Garden, the largest in Central America. If you would like more information on the sites to be visited, please email undergradprograms @ ots.ac.cr.Go to top
This program is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing and who have completed at least one year of college-level biology. Graduating seniors are also eligible if they can stay enrolled at their home institution through the completion of the OTS program.
Students who are interested in adding 2-3 weeks of Spanish classes with a language academy tailored to their current level and a homestay with a Costa Rican family to the end of the summer program, please contact the Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs (jennifer.stynoski @ ots.ac.cr).Go to Top
Tuition and program fee for Summer 2013 are $5,620 plus a $40 transcript fee for all non-Duke University students. The tuition and program fee include room and board, local travel, and certain recreational activities. They do not include international travel, independent travel, personal effects, or incidentals. Costs for Summer 2014 will be announced in February 2014.Go to top
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- Scholarships: OTS has funding available for students from ethnic or minority groups under-represented in the sciences and for Costa Rican students. For more information, please contact a member of the OTS Enrollment Management Team.
- Non-Duke Students: Please consult with the Financial Aid Office at your institution or contact a member of the OTS Enrollment Management Team.
- Duke Students: Duke undergraduates who receive need-based financial aid during the academic year may inquire about receiving funding for a Duke summer program. For more information, please contact the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates.
Organization for Tropical Studies Enrollment ManagementAll applications will be considered without regard to race, color, national and ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or preference, gender, or age. Duke University reserves the right to cancel this program. Should it do so, refunds will be made in accordance with the policy of the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates.Go to top
Durham, NC 27708-0630
Tel. (919) 684-5155
Fax. (919) 684-5661