Santa Clara University

International Programs Office

SCU Costa Rica Summer Program

Costa Rica Summer Program

Field Course in Rainforest Ecology and Primate Behavior

Term: Summer 2013
August 10 - September 2, 2013 in Costa with on-campus instruction prior to August 10th
Cost: $6,840 ($5,640 tuition plus $1,200 program fee)
Housing: Field stations, homestays, others
Emphasis: Environmental Studies
Language Requirement: Spanish recommended; not required
Faculty Directors: Professors Michelle Bezanson
Deadline: March 15

Program Summary:
The Costa Rica summer program offers a small cohort of students the opportunity to experience the biodiversity of a Costa Rica tropical rainforest. Students enroll in two courses taught by Santa Clara University instructor Michelle Bezanson (Anthropology). Upon successful completion of the course requirements they will receive a total of 10 units of credit. Students have one week of pre-field instruction at Santa Clara then spend three weeks at a La Suerte Biological Field Station gaining hands-on experience in community ecology and animal behavior.

Course Offerings: All students in the Costa Rica Summer Abroad program will enroll in two courses. The two courses are complementary. Typical days will involve fieldwork (e.g. hiking, data collection) and afternoon lectures/ discussions. The final week of the course will take place at SCU and emphasizes data interpretation and presentation:


ANTH 197: Field Course: Primate Behavioral Ecology
Instructor: Professor Michelle Bezanson
In this course we emphasize on-site field research with practical experience in the basic techniques of observation and field data analysis. Lectures emphasize core theoretical concepts in primatology, animal behavior, and community ecology research with examples from field studies of New World primates. Each student conducts independent data collection to produce a completed scientific paper where they are the sole author.  They can use these results to present in classes, at a conference or research symposium, or to develop future projects.  Great projects can be developed into publications to submit to peer-reviewed journals.  First, they are immersed within a new academic community where they establish lasting relationships with future colleagues.  Second, they learn about the importance of the local community and how our role in research is not restricted to the academic community or our study subjects.  Finally, each student learns about themselves and their role in the community.

ENVS 141/BIOL 157: Environmental Ecology in the Tropics
Instructor: Professor Michelle Bezanson
This course examines tropical biology and ecology and their relationship to issues of sustainable development.  The course includes 1.5 weeks of instruction at SCU and 3.5 weeks of field study in Costa Rica.  Particular emphasis on tropical ecology, community ecology, reforestation and restoration ecology, sustainable agriculture and fair trade, and ecotourism.  Taught in conjunction with ANTH 197.  Enrollment by application via International Programs.  Also listed as BIOL 157.  Prerequisite: BIOL 23, ENVS 21, or ANTH 1. (5 units) NCX


For more information: Contact Michelle Bezanson: (

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