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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2022 10/15/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Program Type: Study Abroad
Provider: Direct Partner Field of Study: Cultural Studies, Ecology, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Photography, Spanish
Minimum GPA: 2.8 Class Standing: Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Advisor: Luis Santiago
Program Description:
Program Description | Eligibility | Academic Details | Housing
Program Dates | Financial Details | More Information

Program Description

The University
The Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) is a world-class academic and research institution offering hands-on academic programs for both international and Ecuadorian students on the Galapagos Islands.

Students select courses from one of four Academic Tracks in the biological and social sciences: (1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation, (2) Marine Ecology; (3) People, Politics and the Environment and (4) Sustainable Tourism. Each academic track consists of five intensive 3-credit courses taught in 3-week modules.

The first module takes place at USFQ’s main campus in Cumbayá valley, located just outside of Quito, followed by three modules that will take place in San Cristobal Island, Galápagos and then come back to the mainland where they will have an excursion to Tiputini research station in the Amazon Basin.


  • Degree-seeking student
  • At least sophomore standing at time of participation
  • Good judicial standing
  • 2.8+ GPA at time of application
  • Evolution and Marine tracks: at least one general biology and one ecology course at the college level
  • Marine track: students must have taken a prior biology class and will require DAN insurance for academic dives (included in program price)
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at time of participation

Academic Details

As a part of the program, each student will pay UNCW directly for their tuition and a program fee. The program fee varies depending on the academic track selected. GAIAS offers 4 academic tracks for students: (1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation, (2) Marine Ecology; (3) People, Politics and the Environment and (4) Sustainable Tourism. Students can take up to 2 classes from different academic tracks assuming that they meet any necessary prerequisites and spaces are available (an additional fee may apply). Students in all tracks also take a required Spanish conversation class (1 credit). Additionally, volunteer placements in the Galapagos are also available to interested students.

View Academic Tracks


Students stay with carefully screened host families in Cumbayá (Quito) for the first module and with host families in San Cristobal Island for the remainder of the semester. During overnight excursions students stay in hostels or hotels.

Program Dates

Academic Year Dates
Late August to Mid-May

Fall Semester Dates
Late August to Mid-December

Spring Semester Dates
Early January to Mid-May

Financial Details

Program Cost
Exchange and Study Abroad - With either option you will pay UNCW directly for tuition (either UNCW tuition for exchange students or USFQ tuition for study abroad students) and a program fee specific to the academic track (which includes administrative fees, housing, most meals, excursions, health insurance, and round trip airfare between Quito and the Galapagos). The differences between these two options are competitiveness of placement (exchange is competitive due to limited placements available, study abroad is not), and the amount of tuition charged.

*Please note that we cannot currently accept Exchange applicants for this program. All applicants will be processed as Study Abroad.*

With each option, there will be additional costs for international airfare, passport, and visa. Please meet with an advisor at the Office of International Programs to discuss which option is best for you.

Financial Aid and Scholarships
Federal and state financial aid may be applied towards this program. Even if you are normally ineligible for financial aid, you should submit a financial aid application (FAFSA). You may find that you are eligible for additional funding. 

UNCW students may also apply for a UNCW Education Abroad Grant and additional study abroad scholarships. Grant applications and additional information are available at

More Information