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PROGRAM DETAILSTerms: Fall, SpringCredits: 18 semester-hour creditsPrerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of ageApplication Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouragedFinancial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loansOVERVIEWThe program examines different development and resource management models that Costa Rica uses to protect the biodiversity of its ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. Students will examine the effects of globalization on development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water quality.Visits to cloud forests, dry forests, volcanoes, lowland rainforests, farms, and plantations offer opportunities to examine management schemes, identify benefits of protected areas, and determine which systems offer the best options for economic development, the maintenance of cultural norms, and the preservation of biodiversity.PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTSTake an extended field expedition to Nicaragua to compare and contrast development and resource-use issues: hike the volcanoes of Isla Ometepe; explore the rich cultural history of Granada; and study impacts of tourism in the regionVisit several national parks to investigate the pressures of ecotourism on small gateway communities and learn about tropical forest ecologyExplore the biodiversity and cultural significant of cloud forest habitats such as the Monteverde Cloud Forest ReserveDIRECTED RESEARCHThrough Directed Research (DR)—as opposed to basic, applied, or independent research—students conduct research on a specific topic that is part of the SFS Center’s long-term strategic research plan, which has been developed in partnership with local community stakeholders and clients.The course, taught by resident SFS faculty, provides students with the opportunity to apply the scientific process in a mentored field research project that addresses a local environmental issue. Through the DR project, students contribute to a growing body of scientific research that informs local conservation and resource management decisions.