Duke University Organization for Tropical Studies
Get out into the field and gain first-hand experience studying Tropical Biology in Costa Rica
Immerse yourself in Costa Rica's stunning diversity of ecosystems, including mangrove swamps, rain forests, and cloud forests
Study, research, and live at world renowned research stations in Costa Rica's national parks and private reserves
The Organization for Tropical Studies is a consortium of over 60 universities and research institutions from seven countries on four continents. OTS is a non-profit institution based at Duke University and operates three private research stations in several of Costa Rica's national parks and forest reserves. Students live, research, and study on-site surrounded by Costa Rica's rich biodiversity and contrasting ecosystems. Founded in 1963, OTS provides hands-on field-based training for students interested in gaining professional training in tropical studies, public health, and resource conservation. Locations visited on this program include the field stations of La Selva and Palo Verde, as well as field trips to many other research stations, parks and reserves.
Course of Study
This is a four week 4 credit hour summer course through Duke University's Organization for Tropical Studies program.
BIOLOGY 134L - Field Tropical Biology (UNL equivalent: BIOS 3XXL, 4 credits) Students gain hands-on experience learning about the evolutionary ecology of flora and fauna in tropical ecosystems. The course covers topics on conservation biology, including forest fragmentation, restoration, and other factors affecting biodiversity. As part of the course, students will design, implement, and interpret their own independent research project in field ecology. Students also submit a formal research report which becomes part of the permanent records of OTS field stations.
Credits earned through Duke University's OTS summer program are transferable to UNL by departmental validation. Please see "earning credit" page on UNL Education Abroad site for more information.
This program is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing who have completed at least two semesters of college-level biology. It is recommended that students also possess a basic understanding of the Spanish language.
Accommodations and Other Arrangements
Students will be based at two of the three OTS field 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. The program will also visit the Pocosol Biological Station located in premontane rain forest, the Monteverde Biological Station which contains cloud forest and mid-elevation forest areas, and the Arenal Volcano.
See the "Cost Sheet" above and the Financial page on the Education Abroad website.
Explanation of Costs
Please see the Cost Sheet and the program website for an explanation of program costs, withdrawal policies, and the payment process.
In addition to program costs, UNL students will pay a $150 Study Abroad Fee through MyRed.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Please see the Education Abroad website for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.
Below you will find links to resources for travel, health, and safety:
Organization for Tropical Studies
Costa Rica Embassy
Center for Disease Control
US Department of State
*UNL Education Abroad does not officially endorse, administer, or monitor the content of these links.
IMPORTANT: The deadline listed below is the UNL Education Abroad application deadline. Please see the Duke University Organization for Tropical Studies website for their program deadline. Remember to apply through MyWorld and directly to this program by the respective deadlines.