** 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.
Language of Instruction:
Field of Study:
Cultural Studies, Ecology, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Photography, Spanish
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.
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.
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.
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.