Sustainable Development Studies

Costa Rica

offered by The School for Field Studies

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The School for Field Studies (SFS) semester and summer programs in Costa Rica provide the opportunity for students to examine the effects of globalization on classic development issues such as agriculture, biodiversity protection, economic development, urban sprawl, population growth, waste management, and water resources. Student research analyzes different development and resource management models that protect the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s ecosystems while promoting socioeconomic benefits for its people. SEMESTER PROGRAM The semester program focuses on evaluating the actual success of Costa Rica’s world-renowned conservation systems and developing alternative strategies for economic development and biodiversity conservation, such as land-use planning, organic agriculture, and conservation outside of protected areas. SUMMER PROGRAMS Each 4-credit summer session may be taken individually or in combination. Session I: Sustaining Tropical Ecosystems: Biodiversity, Conservation, & Development Student research will focus on examining the impacts of development on the environment and on society by understanding key historical and current aspects of sustainable development strategies in Costa Rica, coupled with knowledge of tropical ecosystem function and connectivity. Session II: Applied Research Techniques & Strategies Toward Sustainability The focus of this program is on developing relevant research questions that address these local issues related to sustainability. Students will be directly involved in designing and conducting field research on a topic of immediate relevance to local clients and proposing alternative approaches toward sustainable development in an effort to help address challenges to conservation goals.


  • Biology (General)
  • Tropical Biology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Management
  • Natural Sciences
  • Natural Resources
  • Anthropology
  • Sustainable Development
  • Latin American Studies
  • Accounting


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