The CIEE: Tropical Ecology and Conservation program in Monteverde, Costa Rica is designed for students with biology-related majors who seek intensive, tropical field and course work in Costa Rica.  All biology courses are taught in English.  Field trips involve hiking that may be strenuous.

“Overall this was an incredible program. I wish I could do it all over again! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes to go on outdoor adventures and plants and animals. This is a great program if you want to get out of the classroom and learn in the field. I loved having lectures on the beach or sitting on a log in the middle of the rainforest. The staff and all the students on the program were super nice and helpful. The independent projects were a great experience and the professors were very helpful.” - Raquel P. '19

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Heidi Dobson (Biology Department)

Fields of study:

Ecology, biology, environmental science


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement); two semesters of college-level biology and one additional semester of college-level ecology or environmental science is recommended.

Language Prerequisite:

None, but College-level Spanish is recommended.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


17 semester credits - Required Courses:
Tropical Diversity (4 credits)
Independent Research in Biology/Ecology (4 credits)
Tropical Community Ecology (4 credits)
Humans in the Tropics (2 credits)
Spanish Language (3 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 CIEE credit = 1 Whitman credit




Students live in a biological station adjacent to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, four people to one room.  One-month home stay with a family in rural Costa Rica. Students spend several extended periods, nearly 1.5 months in all, traveling with their professors throughout Costa Rica, exploring the country's various ecosystems.


Family style meals are taken at the biological station (vegetarian and vegan accommodated)  All meals are provided by the homestay family during the 1 month homestay.


August – November, February – May


CIEE General Scholarship and Grant Information

Program Link:

CIEE: Monteverde Tropical Ecology and Conservation