Return to the search form Return to your search results

CIEE Monteverde Tropical Ecology & Conservation

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer


Monteverde, Costa Rica




Overall 2.75 GPA & 2 semesters of college-level biology required, 1 additional college-level ecology or environmental science course & some college level Spanish recommended.

Application Due:

Summer: 3/10
Fall: 3/15
Spring: 10/15

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

The Monteverde Tropical Ecology program is designed to give biology and related majors a rich understanding of tropical ecology through hands-on exposure, direct experimentation, study of theory, the taxonomy of major groups and observation of empirical patterns. Conservation is stressed throughout. The program offers a combination of science courses taught in English, a Spanish language course at various levels, and travel to diverse eco-systems. The program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member. Participants join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit on this program.

Academic Program


Students follow a prescribed program. All students take a Spanish language course at beginning, intermediate or advanced level, courses in Tropical Diversity, Tropical Community Ecology and Humans in the Tropics, and they carry out an Independent Study project. Science courses are taught in English by faculty with substantial experience in the Neotropics from universities in the U.S., Europe or Costa Rica. Coursework incorporates extensive field trips to various ecosystems, including Bocas del Toro in Panama.
Students earn 17 sh for the semester.


Students take a condensed version of the semester program, including Tropical Biology, Humans in the Tropics, Spanish language at the appropriate level (2 s.h.), and the Independent Research.
Students earn 10 s.h. for the summer.

Program Dates


Mid-June – mid-August.


Mid-August – late November; early February – lateMay.

For More Information

Students are required to meet with the program adviser in the UI Study Abroad office before initiating an application. Program details are found at the CIEE portal. Summer program here; semester program here.


Monteverde is a small bilingual community up in the cloud forest that is home to the biological field station where students live and all classes are held (when not on excursion.) The Monteverde biological station has served as the base for study of the cloud forest by both visiting and Costa Rican biologists for over 25 years. This provides extensive data for the study of practical biological problems associated with agricultural development, eco-tourism and grassroots conservation efforts and for the formulation of research projects. Besides the biological and field study activities, there are a many local community events in the town of Monteverde that students can participate in.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a center for tropical ecology research in the Western Hemisphere. It provides a land bridge between North and South America and offers a great range of biodiversity and ecosystems in close proximity to each other. Twenty percent of the country is national parks and biological reserves.

Living Arrangements

Housing and meals are included in the program fee. For two months of the program students live at the Monteverde Field station in four person rooms with two bunk-beds, private baths and hot showers. Meals are taken family style – vegetarians and vegans are easily accommodated. At other times, students are traveling throughout the country to visit and study different regions; this includes camping and other rural housing.

One month of the program is home stay with a local Costa Rican family in the Monteverde or the Santa Elena regions. Placement is determined according to field research.

Travel Arrangements

Students make their own travel arrangements to arrive in Costa Rica by a designated date. Specific information will be provided in post-acceptance materials from CIEE .


Overall GPA 2.75; 2 semesters of college-level biology. One additional college-level course in ecology or environmental science is recommended; some college-level Spanish is recommended.


The Program Fee is charged on the U Bill and covers tuition, housing, meals, group excursions, orientation and other support services, an iNext travel card that provides insurance and other travel benefits, and a UI administrative fee.

The Semester fee Fall 2013 was $16,984 for students that are Iowa residents and $18,580 for non-residents.

The fee Summer 2013 was $8,338 for students that are Iowa residents and $9,668 for non-residents. Additional costs include round-trip airfare, books and supplies, and personal expenses.

The Iowa Regents mandatory International CISI insurance will also be collected on the U bill.

How to Apply

Before starting an application for this program, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and early application is advisable.

After meeting with your advisor, click here to begin the UI application.

Application Deadline

Application deadlines are March 10 for summer, March 15 for the fall, October 15 for the Spring.

Following acceptance, students receive arrival and other information from the Portland office, as well as a Program Handbook with comprehensive student information for Costa Rica.

All students attend a general TIPS orientation for UI Students Studying Abroad. Additional individualized meetings address specific topics, as well as billing and credit procedures at Iowa.

CIEE also conducts online orientations for its students.