The SIT: Ecuador Comparative Ecology and Conservation program allows Whitman students with an interest in environmental studies and biology an opportunity to study in Quito, Ecuador. This program affords students the opportunity to study various ecosystems and to learn of conservation issues affecting those systems. Students on this program will participate in educational excursions to the Galápagos Islands, the highland Andes, the Amazon rainforest, and the cloud forest, as well as complete a month-long Independent Study Project.

“You learn about ecosystems that you actually visit, which is not only incredibly fun but solidifies your knowledge about these incredible places. I appreciated the integration of all the classes. Real world ecosystems are integrated with conservation practices, and scientific research methods are integrated with real world ecosystems, so it makes sense to integrate these classes. Finally, the independent study project is a type of learning that is unique, valuable, and memorable.” - Lia L. ‘17

Student Blog:

Hannah Alverson | Spring 2016

Fields of study:

Intensive Spanish, comparative ecology, conservation, and environmental studies courses


Minimum cumulative gpa of 2.8 (Whitman requirement); previous college-level coursework in environmental studies, biology, or ecology.  BIO 112 is recommended.

Language Prerequisite:

Four recent semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish;


16 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Conservation and Sustainability Practices in Ecuador (3 credits)
Comparative Tropical Ecology (3 credits)
Spanish Language for the Natural Sciences (3 credits)
Environmental Research Methods and Ethics (3 credits)
Independent Study Project (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 SIT credit = 1 Whitman credit




Eight-week homestay in Quito, a short homestay in rural cloud forest. Also hostels, field camps, reserve lodges, and boats.


During the homestay, students take meals with their host families. During the other periods, students are either provided with meals or given a stipend so that they may purchase their meals.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


September-December; February-May


Rolling admission - students are encouraged to apply early.


SIT Study Abroad Scholarships

Program Links:

SIT: Ecuador Comparative Ecology and Conservation