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 rain forests, coral reefs, highland canopies, and coastal mangroves as you study tropical conservation and ecology.
WHY STUDY TROPICAL ECOLOGY IN PANAMA?
Panama has some of the world’s most biodiverse and complex ecosystems, from highland cloud forests to Caribbean coral reefs. You’ll conduct seven weeks of field studies in five unique settings in Panama and Costa Rica and visit world-renowned research institutions. You will learn how to observe forest dynamics, check water and soil quality, and measure bird, amphibian, and insect diversity.
In Panama City, one of the leading bases for international NGOs and the United Nations, you’ll explore conservation topics such as sustainable agriculture, indigenous resource use, and ecotourism. You will also conduct four weeks of independent, original field research project on a topic of your choice.
Your program also includes five homestays during which you will learn about urban and rural life, experience local culture, and examine the environmental challenges these communities face.
In addition, you will develop the Spanish language skills needed to discuss ecological issues and conduct field research through classroom learning, cultural immersion, homestays, fieldwork, and excursions.
- Study in one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems in the world.
- Engage in seven weeks of travel and field study in Panama and Costa Rica.
- Hike highland ecosystems and lowland rain forests and live in local communities.
- Conduct extensive fieldwork in a wide variety of tropical and marine ecosystems.
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in environmental studies, ecology, biology, or related fields, as assessed by SIT. There is no language requirement. Taking coursework in or independently studying Spanish prior to arrival is highly encouraged.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website
for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
KEY TOPICS OF STUDY
- Tropical forest dynamics
- Neotropical mammal, marine, avian, and amphibian ecology
- Marine and coastal ecosystem connectivity
- Ecological field research methods and methodology
- Carbon, climate change, and resource use
- Contemporary socio-environmental issues shaping the tropics
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 for semester programs.
- 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
Development and Conservation
Current Program Information
With more bird species than all of North America, the premier tropical biology research institute in the world, eight unique indigenous groups, strong African colonial roots, a Caribbean archipelago noted as the Galápagos of the twenty-first century, and a storehouse of endangered cloud forests, Panama is an outstanding site for students to explore tropical conservation and sustainable development. Within this extraordinary cultural and ecological diversity, Panamanian governments, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations struggle to balance development and conservation in the age of globalization.
Local specialists, campesino, and indigenous groups, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, the University of Panama, and the Earth University of Costa Rica, introduce students to the complexities of environmental conservation through instruction and field excursions to sites of important research on such subjects as biodiversity and global change.