Costa Rica is said to contain more biodiversity for its size than any other country on the planet. The primary objectives of the Costa Rica Field Biology courses are to acquaint students in the Sciences with diverse tropical ecosystems, identify prevalent flora and fauna, and to experience Latin-American culture. Prior to departure, students attend lectures by the Instructor about the geology, geography, biological communities, as well as the Latino, Caribbean, and Indigenous cultures of the country. Additionally, students are required to give presentations about different faunal and floral groups. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the group travels to field stations located in biologically diverse parts of the country, staying at each station approximately three (3) to 4 days. During these periods we hike trails and, with the use of field guides and binoculars, identify as many species as possible. These species lists are included in journals which students keep throughout the duration of the trip. You can look at the leaflet here.
These courses (Field Biology I and II) are open to Juniors and Seniors (with the permission of the Instructor) who are currently enrolled in degree programs within the Sciences at Tusculum College. Occasionally, other upper division students who are working on a relevant project are permitted to enroll. For example, a Senior Mass Media major, was permitted to enroll in order to make a documentary film to promote the course. You can download the documentary here.
The duration of the Field Biology courses are one block (usually Block 7). The entire first week is spent on the Tusculum campus. The duration of the trip is usually 16-18 days. Occasionally, due to flight arrangements, students may return a few days after the block ends, but always return prior to the beginning of the following block.
Complete the application form.
Final selection is done by the Instructor in cooperation with the student’s Academic Advisor.
The minimum number of students for this program is four (4), with a maximum of 8. There are one to two faculty members travelling with the students, up to a maximum of 10 students.
Students are responsible for having a current passport and proper immunizations. The cost of the trip to students was $900 in 2008, in addition to the course tuition that students pay to Tusculum. Students may apply for additional external grants and financial aid themselves.
Applications must be submitted by the end of Block 2. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by end of Block 3.
Preparation for departure
Students are required to attend three (3) to 4 pre-departure meetings before Block 7 starts. The materials covered (during these meetings) include cultural sensitivity training, team building, and preparation for international travel. The final meeting is held during the week of departure. Students are required to complete several reading assignments prior to their departure, a take-home test and an oral presentation to the class.
Responsibilities while studying abroad
Students are required to keep a journal in which to document the activities of each day, as well as a listing of biological species observed and identified.
Students receive four (4) science credits which will appear on their Tusculum transcript.