Program Information
P-SP=[0], P-TAP=[0], P-PC=[0], St-SP=[0], TA-TAP=[0], DDipl-DDA=[0], Pcl-PC=[0], Sess-PC=[0], Sess-SP=[0], Sess-TAP=[0], Sess-P=[114]
Winter 2025: Costa Rica ENWC
January 02, 2025 - January 30, 2025 (dates are tentative)
This program is closed. Please contact the faculty director for more information.

Photo by Ben Blake
Interest Meetings:
02/21/2024 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM233 Townsend Hall
03/22/2024 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM256 Townsend Hall
Program Notes
This program is highly competitive and will accept only a limited number of applicants. Interview appointments and acceptance decisions are at the discretion of the faculty director.
All applicants must have a valid passport by the program’s application deadline. Your passport’s expiration date must be more than six months after the program ends. If you do not have a current passport, apply through the U.S. State Department. It takes an average of 6-8 weeks (2 months) to process a passport.

Traveling and studying abroad at this time poses new challenges and requires accepting a higher level of uncertainty than in the past. Students who choose to study abroad must be prepared to adapt to evolving situations and must take responsibility to act in accordance with the rules, regulations, and recommendations of UD, their program leadership, and legal authorities of their home and host country which are subject to change at any time.

The University will continue to monitor the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus) and world events as we approach the departure date for this program. Please reach out to your program coordinator or faculty director with questions and continue to monitor the UD coronavirus webpage for updates. If UD decides to cancel a study abroad program, we will communicate directly with affected students.
Program Description
The program combines field based data collection, analysis of tropical biodiversity metrics, and discussions of the most controversial issues in conservation biology. You will be trained in standardized bird point counts, camera trap usage, and acoustic bat monitoring, to measure avian and mammalian biodiversity across various ecoregions in Costa Rica. You'll study the ecological and evolutionary causes of the extraordinarily high levels of biodiversity in Central America, the ways in which such diversity benefits humans, and the history and politics of conservation, preservation, and restoration projects in the region. Traditional discussion format is supplemented with hands-on projects, extensive walks, and hikes, some of which are physically demanding! It is not uncommon to walk more than 10 miles in a day, and we will complete a 14 mile roundtrip hike to an 11,300 ft peak (with nearly 4,00 feet in elevation gain). We will explore places such as the montane cloud forests of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the lowland rainforest of Corcovado National Park. (The itinerary varies from year to year but includes most of Central America's representative ecosystems.) You'll live and eat at either eco-lodges or the research facilities used by some of the world's leading tropical biologists and will see an unimaginable diversity of insects, birds, mammals, and amphibians. You will snorkel over the Pacific reefs of Ballena National Park, and explore the cloud forest of Monteverde. With the exception of food purchased in the airport, the program fee includes all meals. All students must take 6 credits: ENWC444 Conservation of Tropical Biodiversity (3 cr.) which is an intensive, field-based experience in the mechanics of conserving tropical biodiversity. This class focuses on group projects quantifying and comparing the diversity of montane cloud forests, lowland rainforests and tropical dry forests. And ENWC450 - Debates in Conservation Biology (3 cr.) This class focuses on the global debates about anthropocentric use and misuse of earth's biological and physical resources. Each student will lead several discussions based on relevant literature.

Students will be housed in multi-bed, non-air-conditioned rooms in field research centers with all meals included.

The Program Fee includes housing, all group excursions, all meals, and international medical insurance. Students will be housed in multi-bed, non-air-conditioned rooms in field research centers or eco-lodges with all meals included.

The Program Fee does NOT include airfare or transportation to/from airports in the U.S. The program officially begins when students arrive in Costa Rica . Students will receive detailed travel instructions after acceptance, explaining how and where to purchase their plane ticket. See the Cost section below for estimate airfare. For this program, students will be given recommended flight itineraries for traveling together.
ACCESSIBILITY: Students with disabilities are welcomed and encouraged to study abroad, but should be aware that accessibility and accommodation in some program locations may differ from the United States. Transit systems and legacy building construction practices may not meet U.S. accessibility standards, and alternative access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites cannot be guaranteed. Review these questions with the Office of Disability Support Services to determine whether this program can meet your accommodation needs.
Program Courses
Students must enroll in all credit-bearing courses for a grade. Only the UNIV (zero credit) course may be taken pass/fail. Audit registration is not permitted on UD Travel Study. Please refer to the University Catalog to verify requirements and prerequisites
Honors credit may be available. Check with the faculty director and the Honors program for approval (check before departure).
All students must enroll in at least 6 credits, as well as the 0-credit UNIV course.
ENWC 444-070: Conservation of Tropical Biodiversity (3 credits)
A 3-week intensive, field-based experience in the mechanics of conserving tropical biodiversity. Focuses on group projects quantifying and comparing the diversity of montane cloud forests, lowland rainforests and tropical dry forests.
Restrictions: Winter or Summer Session only. Taught in Costa Rica or Peru.
ENWC 450-070: Debates in Conservation Biology (3 credits)
Global debate about anthropocentric use and misuse of earth’s biological and physical resources.
UNIV 370: Study Abroad - Costa Rica ENWC (0 credits) pass/fail
Students are asked to reflect upon changes in their knowledge, skills, and attitudes that occur due to their study abroad experience.
Satisfies the following requirements:
Discovery Learning
The Winter Session Program in Costa Rica is designed for any student, regardless of major, who is interested in studying Environmental Conservation at a high level.

Applicants should have a G.P.A. of at least 2.0 (on a 4.00 scale).

Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance, which is based on academic quality and demonstrated ability to contribute to the objectives of the program. Early application is encouraged.

For all participants, a formal application is necessary, including at least one recommendation. An interview may be conducted in person or by Zoom.

A transcript is required from Non-UD applicants only. Non-UD students, please email a copy of your official transcript to the Program Coordinator.

Study abroad at the University of Delaware is highly competitive. Please review the study abroad acceptance process. If you are not selected for your first choice program, we encourage you to apply to another program.
How much does it cost?.
  • University of Delaware Tuition/Fees for one Winter Session
  • Travel Study Program Fee
    • Usually covers: housing, all program-related excursions and some meals (check with the program's faculty director for details).
    • Does NOT cover: airfare to/from the program site and ground transportation to/from the U.S. departure airport. For planning purposes only, we estimate roundtrip airfare to be approximately $1,200.00.
  • Plan ahead for how to pay for travel study, and make sure you understand the costs associated with your program.
When and how do I pay?
If you are offered acceptance to the program, you will have 3 days to withdraw without financial penalty. After the 3 days have passed, you will be officially accepted to the program, and CGPS will post the full Program Fee and Tuition/Fees to your UD student account.
  • An initial payment of $1000.00 will be due in mid-May.
  • The balance of the Program Fee and Tuition/Fees will be due in early January.
  • Payments are submitted through My Finances in UDSIS.
  • All charges, once posted to your account, are considered non-refundable.
Other important things to note:
  • Program Fees are subject to change until the group's departure date. Final Program Fees may increase due to unforeseen local cost increases, fluctuations in exchange rates, or changes in the group size.
  • CGPS reserves the right to cancel a program at any time due to under-enrollment, safety/health/security issues, staffing issues, or any other relevant reason. If your program is cancelled, you will receive a full refund of all Program Fees paid.
Delaware ResidentNon-Delaware Resident
Estimated Tuition based on current year$2,633.00$7,065.00
Estimated Program Fee$6,610.00$6,610.00
UD Registration & Activities Fee$30.00$30.00
Total to be charged to UD account (estimated)$9,273.00$13,705.00
Plus Airfare Estimate (purchased separately)$1,200.00$1,200.00
The rates above may not apply to you if you are a UD graduate student during the time you are studying abroad. Please refer to for the appropriate rates.
The University of Delaware’s differential charge for Engineering, Nursing and Business & Economics students does not apply to winter or summer session and is waived for students enrolled in semester- or year-long study abroad and exchange programs sponsored by the University.
Financial need-based scholarships are available to UD undergraduates on a competitive basis. To be considered, students must have a current FAFSA on-file with Student Financial Services. For more details, please see our scholarships page.
All charges, once posted to your account, are considered non-refundable. Payments are submitted through My Finances in UDSIS.
Submit Program Application by 5pm onApril 20, 2024
Acceptance and Scholarship AnnouncedMay 03, 2024
$1,000.00 Initial Payment Due *mid-May
Program Fee Balance, Tuition and Fees Dueearly January
*All students will receive an email when they are accepted to a program and will have 10 days from that notification to make their $1,000.00 Initial Payment.
Please note that this program is highly competitive and will accept only a limited number of applicants.
Kyle McCarthy
Faculty Director
Entomology and Wildlife Ecology
263 Townsend Hall
File Downloads
Interest Meeting Powerpoint

Program information is subject to change at any time. Please check this web site periodically for updates.