NOTE: SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, SIT may have to modify programs. Visit the SIT website for more details.
Explore tropical ecosystems, conduct biological fieldwork, and study conservation in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries.
- Study biological and ecological sciences in one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet.
- Visit the high sierra of the Andes, the cloud forests of the Chocó, the Amazon basin, and the Galápagos Islands.
- Live like a biologist: study plants and insects, take soil samples, conduct species counts, use mist nets, and observe birds.
- Live and study in beautiful Quito, surrounded by mountains called locally “la cara de Dios”—the face of God.
- Improve your Spanish in class, in homestays, and on excursions.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you.
The ISP can be conducted throughout Ecuador based upon requests from local activists, NGOs, and communities. You should plan on completing an ISP that is rooted in the biological, ecological, and/or environmental sciences.
- Biodiversity studies and population assessments
- Use of biological/ecological indicators for environmental studies
- Flora or fauna monitoring for conservation purposes
- Geology related to ecology and conservation
- Endangered species
- Protected area management
Key Topics of Study
- Ecology/biology of Ecuador’s four distinct ecological regions: the Andes, the coast, the Amazon, and the Galápagos Islands
- Major plant and animal biological indicators and ecological adaptations
- Forestry and field techniques, research analysis and bio-statistics
- Local natural resource use
- Ecuador’s current environmental challenges.
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:
All educational costs, including educational excursions
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
- Health and accident insurance
- SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad
Comparative Ecology and Conservation
Current Program Information
Home to more than 1,500 species of birds and 10 percent of the world's known vascular plant species, Ecuador offers incredible opportunities to explore the natural history of tropical ecosystems and immerse yourself in the complexities of human adaptations to different environments. From the Amazonian rainforest to the highland páramo, you interact with community members and local stakeholders who are grappling with conservation strategies within the context of heightened political, economic, and social pressures.
Your program base is historic Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched spectacularly at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano. From here, educational excursions take you to the high sierras of the Andes, the epiphyte-rich cloud forest, the rugged snow-line páramo and the vast rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Your program includes a weeklong shipboard visit, led by an experienced naturalist, to the extraordinary Galápagos Islands - home to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth and one of the world's most renowned environmental destinations.