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  • Locations: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Advisor: Katelyn Brown-Gomez Minimum GPA: 2.75
Class eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Open to Non-UNC students: UNC System Schools Only
Housing options: Homestay Program type: Faculty-Led
Language prerequisite: No Language of instruction: English
Program Description:
Location| Courses & Credits| Housing| Program Costs| Application Process | More Information|

UNC Environmental Studies in Galápagos (Summer)

The UNC Study Abroad Office will award up to 15 scholarships in an average amount of $5000 each in support of students studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador for the Summer 2019 program. See Program Costs below for more details. 

This program offers a rigorous academic learning opportunity in one of the world’s most important ecological sites: the Galapagos archipelago. The two courses will cover human and marine ecology in settings that have been crucial to the history of the ecological sciences, and where pressing conservation and ecology debates and science are currently taking place.

The special characteristics that have made the Galapagos so important to science since the 19th century will provide an ideal environmental laboratory for students in this program, while the increasing human pressure in the Galapagos will serve to illustrate the complex linkages between economic development and the environment.

Watch a YouTube video developed by summer 2018 participant Jintong Wu!


The Galapagos Islands are a living laboratory for the study of ecology, environmental change, and the conflicts between nature and society. Free of humans and predators for almost all of its history, these “Enchanted Islands” have developed some of the most unique life forms on the planet, highly adapted to their surroundings and living in ecological isolation from the rest of the world. Charles Darwin’s famous visit in 1835 and his subsequent development of the theory of natural selection brought attention to the islands. Since then, the importance of the islands has been recognized by a series of protections and designations: in 1959, the Galapagos National Park was formed, and UNESCO designated the Galapagos as a World Heritage Site in 1978, a designation to honor the “magnificent and unique” natural features of the Galapagos and to ensure their conservation for future generations. These islands were further deemed a Biosphere Reserve in 1987, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve was created in 2001. Today, the Galapagos Islands are in a period of rapid change and growing crisis.

Courses & Credits

All courses are taught in English. There is no option to take a language course in Spanish.

This two-course study abroad program will be based in Ecuador, in the Galapagos islands. At San Cristobal in the Galapagos archipelago, the students will follow an environment, ecology, and ecological methods curriculum that combines classroom, field, and lab learning. The program will consist of two courses plus Spanish language instruction.

For 2018, students will be awarded graded credit from UNC through the following courses co-taught with GAIAS/USFQ faculty.
  1. GEOG 110 - The Blue Planet: Earth Systems (3 credits) taught by Diego Riveros-Iregui (UNC) 
  2. ENVR 403/ENEC 403 - Environmental Chemistry (3 credits) taught by William Vizuete (UNC). 
For any students who study Spanish, they can practice Spanish with their host families and at GAIAS, on Isla San Cristobal in the Galapagos. The program will include field trips and shorter excursion to a variety of sites in the Galapagos, and classroom and field visits with people involved in local conservation and ecological issues such as fishermen, resource managers, and local scientists. These activities will be a part of formal course activities and will provide illustrations and/or demonstrations of course conceptual or factual content.

Courses in this program are UNC Graded Credit.
UNC Graded Credit Programs (often taught by UNC Faculty): No action required
  • These courses automatically show up on your Tar Heel Tracker and UNC Transcript.
  • You will receive a letter grade for those courses, and this does affect your GPA.
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Upon arrival in Quito students will stay in a hotel for a night. Then students travel as a group to the Galapagos and will enjoy living in home stays carefully selected by GAIAS. These host families will provide breakfast and laundry services.
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Program Costs

The UNC Study Abroad Office will award up to 15 scholarships in an average amount of $5000 each in support of students studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador for the Summer 2018 program.  Students interested in this financial assistance should complete the questionnaire for the Galapagos Summer Scholarship on the program application (available after December 1). 

Review the Budget Sheet posted above for detailed information on costs and fees. Costs vary per term and are subject to change.

Tuition and fees for the program are based on the cost of operating the program abroad and are subject to change due to exchange rate fluctuation. Tuition and fees will be charged to the participant’s UNC student account. Review the Budget Sheet for additional Cashier Billed Expenses and Out-of-Pocket Costs. The Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to budget carefully for their time abroad.

Getting Started: Funding Study Abroad
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Application Process

Complete the required UNC application by clicking “Apply Now” at the top of the page. If you have not done so already, create a profile to start your application.

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More Information

For information on requesting ARS accommodations (academic, health, and mobility concerns) for a study abroad program, contact the Advisor for Access.
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Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications