SFS PANAMA: TROPICAL ISLAND BIODIVERSITY STUDIES
- Terms: Fall, Spring
- Credits: 18 semester-hour credits
- Prerequisites: One semester of college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science; 18 years of age
- Application Deadline: Rolling admissions. Early applications encouraged
- Financial Aid: All accepted students can apply for need-based scholarships, grants, and loans
Bocas del Toro, Panama is home to a stunning diversity of life, from underwater reef ecosystems to rich green rainforests, and the culture of Bocas is as unique as its environments. Go behind the scenes in this “paradise” and study the impacts of tourism and development on the archipelago. Take a look at local and national environmental policies, explore the island ecosystems, and interview residents as part of an in-depth field research project on sustainability issues.
- Snorkel in the waters of the archipelago to explore coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds as you study sea stars, turtles, rays, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish.
- Visit the Pacific coast and the mountains of Boquete: Explore the Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park, take a canopy walk through cloud forest, and tour a sustainable coffee farm.
- Spend a day in Ngäbe communities: Speak with local Indigenous leaders, visit a women’s co-op, and take a forest walk with a local guide.
SFS students live and study at the Center for Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies, once a beachfront hotel that sits among the slender palms and warm sands of Isla Colón lies the Center. You’ll take your classes over the waves of the Caribbean and among the surrounding rainforests and reefs. The laidback tourist hub of Bocas Town is a short taxi ride away, with access to shops, restaurants, and a vibrant culture that is as unique as the mix of people who live here.
- Climate change impacts
- Marine protected areas
- Rainforest biodiversity
- Tourism impacts
- Ecosystem health
- Community livelihoods and perceptions
- Species identification
- Underwater transects and quadrats
- Tourism impact assessment
- Scientific writing and communication
- Basic Spanish language
- Research design and implementation
- Data collection and analysis
- Research presentation
CONNECT WITH SFS
Visit the SFS website
Call the Admissions Hotline at 800.989.4418
Read updates from the field on the SFS Blog
Follow SFS on Instagram
Watch student videos on YouTube
Application Process for Other Approved Programs
This program is offered through one of our approved program partners. In order to participate you must apply through, and be approved, by both St. Thomas and the program.
- Attend a first-step session. Dates posted online at stthomas.edu/studyabroad.
- Schedule an advising meeting. This meeting will review:
- any questions you have about studying abroad, including program selection if you are considering multiple programs.
- the course approval process
- how to apply to Other Approved Programs
- Notify your study abroad advisor of final program selection.
- Complete all St. Thomas application materials by the St. Thomas application deadline.
- Complete program application via the program’s website by their deadline.
University of St. Thomas application deadlines:
October 1 for January Term and spring semester programs
March 15 for summer, fall semester and year-long programs.
Please note that some programs have deadlines earlier than St. Thomas.
St Thomas Criteria for Participation
- Minimum grade point average of 2.5.
- Students may not apply for, maintain an approved application, nor participate in a Study Abroad program while on academic or conduct probation. Any disciplinary records may be a consideration for approval to participate in an off-campus programs.
- View all eligibility requirements for study abroad through St. Thomas: stthomas.edu/studyabroad > Student Policies.
- Some programs have additional criteria.
Financial Aid Awards (grants, loans and scholarships) typically apply to semester study abroad. Visit stthomas.edu/financialaid for instructions.
The Office of Study Abroad, and other approved program partners, offers scholarships. Visit stthomas.edu/studyabroad, and the program’s website, for details.
For additional program information, contact the program partner.
For application procedures contact Study Abroad.
Office of Study Abroad
University of St. Thomas
MHC 212 (Mail 5026)
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1096 USA