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UK Sponsored: Mountains to Coast: Field Studies in Costa Rica (Agriculture, Food & Environment)
Multiple, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer 2
Program Dates &
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Fees and Policies Summer 2
Fact Sheet:
Experience Type:
Study Abroad
Area of Study:
Agriculture, Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Geography, Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Sustainable Agriculture
Housing Options:
2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior
Minimum GPA:
Student Type:
Undergraduate students only
John McCluskey
Program Director:
Geri Philpott, Rob Paratley
UK Travel Medical Insurance:
Included in the UK Sponsored program fee
Program Description:
 Note: if this program does not have 12 students by May 1st it may be cancelled. If this occurs, students may apply their $50 application fee to another education abroad program of their choosing (if available), or they will receive a refund of the $50 application fee. Applicants who are accepted into the program will be notified as soon as the 12 student minimum has been met.

UK Sponsored: Mountains to Coast: Field Studies in Costa Rica (Agriculture, Food & Environment)

July 27-August 8, 2015
NRES - group photoProgram Overview

Through this program participants will take a hands-on, field-oriented approach to studying the wildlife, water, plants and varied ecosystems of Costa Rica. The program will take place in multiple cities in Costa Rica and students will be working in a variety of environments including forests, agriculture, marine, desert and urban cities. Emphasis will be placed on methodologies for field data collection necessary to evaluate a variety of natural resources in the location and students will become familiar with sampling instrumentation, collection, preservation, analysis and data interpretation. Throughout the course, students will draw conclusions and make recommendations based on an interdisciplinary understanding of natural and human systems.

  • Apply principles of chemical, biological and physical systems to address natural resource and environmental issues.
  • Demonstrate the safe and proper use of major conservation field techniques in tropical ecosystems.
  • Visit a variety of ecosystems including cloud forest, wet and dry tropical forests, Pacific Coast forest, elfin forest and riparian forest as well as a mangrove swamp and an active volcano.
  • Research and report on a specific aspect of Costa Rica such as cloud forest, ecotourism, corridor systems, sea turtles, etc.

This program is open to undergraduate students from all academic disciplines. Students from universities other than UK are welcome to participate in this program as visiting students. For more information on how to apply to the University of Kentucky as a visiting student, go to UK Admissions. Non-UK students should consult with the program director prior to applying to ensure that they have the proper academic background for the course. 

Academic Credit

UK Sponsored programs are conducted by the University of Kentucky faculty and staff. UK GPA credits and grades will be awarded by the program director for the successful and timely completion of all required program activities and assignments, including any required on-campus meetings before or after the program's international travel.
  • Undergraduates will enroll in NRE 320: Natural Resource and Environmental Analysis (3 credit hours).
    • NRES will fulfill a major requirement for all NRES students
    • If a student has already earned credit for NRE 320, alternate credit may be arranged by the faculty directors or the NRES Academic Coordinator, Ms. Geri Philpott.
  • All students will be enrolled in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour)
Housing & MealsNRES - Sloth

Students will reside in shared rooms in hotels or lodges while in Costa Rica. Breakfast will be provided each day. In addition, all meals will be provided while in Tortuguero, La Selva and Monteverde. A welcome and farewell meal will also be provided. Students will be responsible for all other meals on their own. 

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Students are strongly encouraged to explore multiple funding opportunities for programs abroad. There are numerous opportunities available based on area of study, program type, length and country of destination. Smaller scholarships can often be "stacked" together to help fund education abroad.
  • Many financial aid packages (scholarships, loans and grants) used for on-campus study can be applied to education abroad programs. Students who qualify for financial aid should consult with UK Financial Aid as soon as possible to identify possible financial aid opportunities.
  • UK Education Abroad Scholarship - a campus-wide selection committee awards needs-based scholarships to UK students in amounts of $750, $1,000 & $1,500. The deadline to apply is March 1 for Summer/Fall programs and October 1 for Spring/Winter programs.
  • ISA-UK Education Abroad Diversity Scholarship - Scholarships are available to students that contribute to the university’s compelling interest in the educational benefit of diversity within the UK student body. Award amounts range between $2,500 and $5,000. This scholarship offers two award cycles and is not tied to a specific term. Deadlines to apply are March 1st and October 1st.
For more information about scholarship and funding resources, please visit the UK Education Abroad Financial Aid & Scholarships website. 

Supplemental Materials 

This program runs in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and ISA. Students will complete an application with UK Education Abroad (online, this website) and supplemental materials with ISA. The supplemental application materials are for administrative purposes and will be provided to all accepted students AFTER the UK application deadline.

Program Costs

Costs and cancellation policies vary by program. Please see the "Fees and Policies" information page (the link is in the program header at the top of this website). Be sure to consider the associated UK costs, program specifications, and related travel expenses. 

NRES - Wind farmPassport & Visa Requirements

Participants must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the expected date of return to the U.S. The Wildcat Passport Acceptance Facility in the UK Student Center accepts U.S. passport applications. For more information about U.S. passport applications, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.
  • U.S. Passport holders are not required to obtain a visa for participation on this program. Non-U.S. passport holders must investigate the visa regulations of the Costa Rican Embassy as well as the associated regulations for their current U.S. student visa.
Health & Safety Abroad

All participants of this program will be enrolled in Travel Medical Insurance for the duration of the program. Participants wishing to travel before or after the official program dates are strongly encouraged to purchase additional coverage for the extended travel dates. Please see the UK Education Abroad Health & Safety website for more information. Note: it is suggested by the CDC, but not required, that students receive a Hep A and Typhoid vaccinations or booster shots prior to participating on this program.

All students will participate in UK pre-departure orientation activities. Students will often participate in orientation activities upon arrival in the host country as well. In addition to pre-departure orientations, students will have access to on-going orientation resources during and after their program to maximize the intercultural and intellectual learning potential at each phase of the education abroad experience. Students are strongly encouraged to independently research their host country. Participants should consider the history, current politics, social media outlets, tourism boards, etc. 

For More Information

For additional information about the program, please contact:

EA Peer Ambassadors, Education Abroad Resource Center, 315 Bradley Hall - Walk-ins are welcome Monday-Friday 9am - 5pm.

Ms. Geri Philpott, Natural Resources & Environmental Science Academic Coordinator at the University of Kentucky, Drs. Rob Paratley and Stephen Price, faculty in NRES, will be directing the program in Costa Rica.

Mr. John McCluskey, EA Advisor,

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Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2 2015 04/27/2015 ** Rolling Admission 07/27/2015 08/08/2015

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.