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  • Locations: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Otavalo, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Winter
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Winter
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2019 10/07/2018
Rolling Admission 01/05/2019 01/17/2019

** 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.

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Program Manager:
Stephanie LaCava
Language of Instruction:
Minimum G.P.A.:
Good Academic Standing
Number of credits per term:
Program Type:
Faculty Led
Program Director:
Eric Fortune
Non-Rutgers Students:
Service Learning:
Program Description:
The Program
  • The course features travel to four of the world’s most interesting habitats: Andean paramo, tropical cloud forests, Amazon basin rainforests, and the Galápagos islands
  • Learn how to describe evolutionary processes resulted in the differences seen in the biomes visited
  • Learn major challenges and forces that affect the conservation of habitats and species
  • Learn approaches and strategies for conservation
Your Host Country: Ecuador
 Although a small country in size, Ecuador offers diversity of species and habitats including the Amazon rainforest, the high altitudes of the Andes, and the coastal climate and famous Galapagos Islands.  Students will be exposed to the different habitats, species, and ways of life across the three diverse regions in Ecuador.  

Faculty Director Profiles:
Eric Fortune

Dr Eric Fortune is a biologist who has brought over 250 undergraduate students to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands for educational travel and research since 2002. Dr. Fortune received his PhD in Organismal Biology at the University of Chicago in 1995 and has a long-standing interest in the evolution of brains and behavior. Dr. Fortune has extensive research and travel experience in Ecuador, having awards from the National Science Foundation to study weakly electric fishes in the Amazon basin and the mechanisms of duet singing in wrens in Andean cloud forests. Further, Dr. Fortune and his family spent a year-long sabbatical in 2009-2010 based in Quito, and an additional 6 months in Ecuador in 2012.


The syllabus for this program can be accessed here. Please note this is a sample syllabus, all of its content is subject to change.

This course is an introduction to tropical biology and evolution held in Ecuador's Highlands, Rainforest, and in the Galapagos Islands.  The course will concentrate on using a hands-on approach to study the flora and fauna of these unique habitats. The course also addresses the history, politics, and culture of Ecuador, with emphasis on how these issues influence the management and sustainability of Ecuadorian natural resources.  

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

The itinerary includes explorations of the rainforests of the Amazon basin, cloud forests on the slopes of Antisana volcano, the highlands of the Andes mountains, and the Galápagos Islands. We will start in the capital city of Quito with a tour of the colonial sector and will also visit the historic town of Otavalo town and its traditional market. For our tours of the cloud and rainforests, we will head east in a tour bus from Quito across the Andes and down into the Amazon basin near Tena, Ecuador. For our visit to the Galápagos Islands, we will fly from Quito to spend 4 days in the Galapagos. The group will visit different islands to discover the differences in the flora and fauna. These excursions require that students be able to walk for up to 8km/5miles each day on uneven terrain in habitats that range from hot (35°C/95°F), wet lowland rainforest to cooler (10°C/50°F) highland habitats (2900masl/9500fasl). Students will also have optional opportunities to swim and snorkel (equipment provided) in the Galápagos Islands. 

Accommodations and Meals
All meals, lodging, and transportation are provided while in Ecuador. Accommodations will be in hotels while in the highlands, lodges/research stations in the rainforests, and a cruise ship while in the Galápagos Islands. Please note, dietary restrictions can not be accommodated on this trip. 

Financial Information

Proper financial planning is crucial as winter financial aid does not exist like it does for Fall, Spring or Summer. 
If planned properly students might consider applying for additional loans (federal or private) during the fall semester; possibly generating a refund check that you would use to pay the winter term bill. We advise you to talk to Financial Aid and our office about this process. We also suggest students attend one of our online financial advising sessions ASAP. Online advising sessions occur throughout the academic semester. Dates and registration information are available here:

There are limited winter scholarships available and are not guaranteed to all who apply. However we ask that you aren't discourage by this information.
With proper financial planning most students are able to fund their winter study abroad experience!

For more information about the Program Cost and additional Non-Billable Expenses for this program, please view the program budget sheet.

For more information about finances, including information about financial aid and tuition remission please visit the Finances section of our website.

As part of your preparation to apply for this study abroad program, please familiarize yourself with the Rutgers study abroad withdrawal policy.

Students are encouraged to start researching scholarship opportunities as early as possible. The winter term sees fewer scholarship opportunities outside of the Rutgers Global--Study Abroad scholarship and/or any opportunities through academic departments (if applicable). To get a sense of what scholarships exist, please visit our Scholarship Directory for a comprehensive list of study abroad scholarships.