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San Ramón Courses – 2022 Spring

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.

Academics

You will enroll in 12 to 18 credits per semester comprised of language courses plus electives in life and health sciences, and Latin American studies. Although enrollment in a language course is not a requirement of the program, it is strongly recommended as it will increase your understanding of Costa Rican culture and equip you with language and cross-cultural skills that will be of assistance in your day-to-day life abroad. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Click the course title to view course details and description.

Spanish Language Tracks

USAC offers intensive language courses grouped into tracks in which courses are taught sequentially (back to back) within one semester. If you have already taken the first course in a track, you do not have to take it again for credit, but you must audit it to be prepared for success at the next level. Language courses are small and typically have a maximum enrollment of 15 students each.

Track I: 8 credits

Prerequisite: None

  1. Elementary Spanish I
  2. Elementary Spanish II

Track II: 6 credits

Prerequisite: 2 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Intermediate Spanish I
  2. Intermediate Spanish II

Track III: 6 credits

Prerequisite: 4 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Spanish Composition I
  2. Spanish Composition II

Track IV: 6 credits

Prerequisite: 6 semesters of college Spanish

  1. Advanced Spanish I
  2. Advanced Spanish II

      Language Courses

      • Fall
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

        Elementary Spanish I is a four-credit language course offered to students who are enrolled in USAC and have not taken any Spanish courses at college-level before. This course is designed to help non-native speakers of Spanish to acquire basic communicative competence by providing the opportunities to develop the basic skills of a language: listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing. The main emphasis of this course is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

      • Fall
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 100-level 4 credits Taught in Spanish

        Elementary Spanish II is a four-credit language course offered to students who are enrolled in USAC and have taken one course of Spanish at college-level or its equivalent before. This course is designed to help non-native speakers of Spanish to acquire basic communicative competence. It provides opportunities for the development of the basic skills of a language: listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing. The main emphasis of this course is on communication and, therefore, class attendance is essential.

        Prerequisite: one semester of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Intermediate Spanish I is a three-credit course offered to students who have completed a year of college Spanish or its equivalent. In this course, the students will learn to narrate in the main time-frames, as well as to recognize the different uses of the subjunctive mood in the expression of different degrees of certainty, of wishes and of advices.

        Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Intermediate II is a course designed for students who have completed a year and a half of college Spanish or its equivalent and want to learn how to use the language with increasing syntactic complexity and grammatical accuracy, paying special attention to the change of time-frames, as well as the expression of hypothesis and different degrees of certainty.

        Prerequisite: three semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This is a third year couse for students who have completed two years of Spanish at the college level or their equivalent. Emphasis is placed in improving the students´ writing abilities with the analysis first, and the subsequent production of different types of texts. In addition, a number of grammatical topics are reviewed in order to enhance and improve learners´ grammatical competence. The extensive reading of a short novel will accompany and strengthen the formal instruction.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Composition II is designed for students with 5 semester of college level Spanish language Study. The focus of this course is to improve learners´ written abilities through the analysis first and the subsequent production of different types of texts. In addition, a number of grammatical topics will be reviewed in order to enhance and refine the learners´ grammatical competence.

        Prerequisite: five semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This advanced level course of Spanish has been designed for students who have completed three years of Spanish and although they may manage in completing daily tasks and interactions, they still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, this course offers the students the opportunity to enhance their vocabulary in specific and technical areas, and to improve their grammatical accuracy in oral and written production.

        Prerequisite: six semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 400-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Advanced Spanish II has been designed for students who have completed more than three years of Spanish and although they may manage in daily tasks and interactions, they still need to improve their control over different oral and written registers. In addition, this course will offer them the opportunity to enhance the coherence and cohesion of their production, and to improve their grammatical accuracy.

        Prerequisite: seven semesters of college Spanish

      Fall Semester

      Language and Literature Electives

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 1-3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 1-3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Optional three-credit course that complements the development of linguistic competences facilitated at the two/three-hundred level courses, focusing in the oral skills in particular.

        This course is taught at the beginner and intermediate levels.

        Beginner Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

        Intermediate Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course will provide students with the knowledge of the basic structures of the Spanish language, and the specialized medical vocabulary needed to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of health care situations. Moreover, an understanding and appreciation of cultural differences in the health perceptions of Spanish-speaking patients will be developed. This course is appropriate for all health-related disciplines, and requires some previous knowledge of Spanish.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Panoramic revision of Latin American literature as well as texts and authors which have influenced the cultural configuration between the 15th and 19th centuries. Study of the authors who have been outstanding in the productions developed throughout these last 400 years. Students will study the birth of the literary field relating to the continent as well as the elements that have given form to its idealologies. The contents are: letters, journals and diaries of the first conquistadors, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Andres Bello, Jose Marti, Ruben Dario, among others.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish.

      Cultural Studies

      • Fall
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish

        The Latin American Dances class is addressed to those students who enjoy dancing and want to learn how to relate traditional Latin American dances like “Cha chachá”, “Son”, “Bolero” “Merengue”, “Salsa”, “Guaracha”, “Cumbia” and so on. At the same time, the students have the chance to practice Spanish and become more acquainted with the Latin American culture.

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The course focuses on two large topics. The first one concerns the social and cultural foundations established by the ancient peoples that inhabited Latin America as well as the new societies and hybrid cultures that arouse after the arrival of European populations to this part of the world. The second topic encompasses contemporary issues such as the building of national identities, social and cultural “modernization” of urban and rural populations, and responses to global challenges. This course explores the tensions between continuity and change as cultural processes develop to shape Latin America today. It also looks at general trends and it provides opportunities to become acquainted with particular cases.

        300-level prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Spanish World Languages and Literatures 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Three field trips to different places in Costa Rica in order to illustrate topics that are studied in class, .such as contemporary society, education, the role of gender, traditions, religion, and other cultural manifestations. A fee of $200 is charged to help pay for transportation, entrance fees, guides, lodging and some meals. Concurrent enrollment in Latin America and its Cultures or previous completion of an equivalent culture course is required

        One day first trip to a sugar and a coffee plantation, a traditional sugar mill and a coffee processing plant in the area of San Ramón, Alajuela. One day second trip to San Lucas Island or Island of Lonely Men, a famous former Penitentiary of Costa Rica in The Gulf of Nicoya.Fishing, mangroves, congos, swimming, culture and nature. A three days, two nights trip to San José, the capital, and Cartago. National Theater and National Museum in San José. Basilica of Los Angeles in Cartago and Colonial Church and Religious Museum in Orosi Valley, Cartago.Visit to monuments and parks in San José. Two free nights for theater, cinema or dancing with a costa rican guide.

        Co-requisite: Latin America and Its Cultures

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English and Spanish
        Spring
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English and Spanish

        An introduction to a local cuisine in a hands-on kitchen environment. Authentic preparations of several local dishes will be taught. Correct cooking techniques are emphasized. Readings and lectures on local food customs and traditions will support and contextualize the cooking instruction. Students will learn about Latin American culture, and practice conversing and following instructions in the Spanish language.

        Dietary restrictions may not be accommodated.

        This course has an additional fee.

      Life and Health Science Studies

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 1-3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology 200-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

        This course is designed for undergraduate students who have not yet taken a biology lab course.

        This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

        Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

      • Fall
        Biology 400-level 1-3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology 400-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

        This course is designed for undergraduate students who have completed at least one Biology lab course. This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

        Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

        Prerequisite: one semester of college biology with lab

      • Fall
        Biology 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course explores the field of cell biology including the morphology and physiology of cell membranes, the cytoplasm, and organelles. Topics include techniques in cell biology, motility, cell division, cell-cell interactions, signal transduction and protein and membrane trafficking. Course materials present classic principles in cell biology including important historical contributions and will use experimentally based examples to aid student understanding of important concepts in cell biology.

        Prerequisite: introductory coursework in college-level biology and genetics or biochemistry

      • Fall
        Biology 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Students will explore the field of cell biology including the morphology and physiology of cell membranes, the cytoplasm, and organelles. Topics include techniques in cell biology, motility, cell division, cell-cell interactions, signal transduction and protein and membrane trafficking. Lab activities present classic principles in cell biology including important historical contributions and will use experimentally based examples to aid student understanding of important concepts in cell biology.

        Co-requisite: Cell Biology

      • Fall
        Political Science 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Environmental degradation is threatening the lives of many socially and economically vulnerable populations in the tropics. They are most susceptible to even the slightest change in the climate especially as their governments continue to implement short term policies to meet the demands of developed countries. Students will evaluate how economic and environmental policies intersect, analyze the role various actors play in policymaking, and examine the interests of various actors in the decision-making process. Students will survey the behaviors and interests of governments, private corporations, educational institutions, environmental non-governmental organizations.

        Prerequisite: introductory coursework in college-level political science or environmental policy

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences Health Ecology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences Health Ecology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course is directed towards the student who wants to deepen his/her knowledge of global health and how preventive and promotive work can be carried on from an international perspective. Provides an introduction to problems involved in assessing international health needs and designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating public health programs in international settings. Topics include: issues in global health; major health problems and concerns of developing vs. developed countries; international health organizations; international health care systems and health development assistance; development of population/demographic transition; the global economy and health; access to medical care; cultural differences; emerging crises in global health.

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 3 credits Taught in English

        The course of Natural History in Mesoamerica is designed to introduce students to the study of nature in a holistic manner to try to explain the causes of biological diversity that exists in Mesoamerica. The student will reinforce and build knowledge regarding the geological history, geography, climate, land use, biodiversity and natural history aspects, and proper, related to Mesoamerican biota.

        Prerequisite: two semesters of college biology with lab

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 1 credit Taught in English

        The course of Natural History in Mesoamerica is designed to introduce students to the study of nature in a holistic manner to try to explain the causes of biological diversity that exists in Mesoamerica. The student will reinforce and build knowledge regarding the geological history, geography, climate, land use, biodiversity and natural history aspects, and proper, related to Mesoamerican biota.

        Co-requisite: Natural History of Mesoamerica.

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        The diversity of the flora of Costa Rica and neoptropics has been the result of a series of geological processes and environmental factors that have interacted over millions of years. This is reflected, for example, the large number of tree species per hectare and the wide geographical distribution in altitude and latitude of many of these plants.

        This course provides an introduction to the principles and practice of biological systematics and classification (taxonomy). Emphasis is placed on acquiring the facility to use appropriate terminology in order to identify flowering plants, as well as to know the importance of plants in our daily lives as a source of economic resources in the form of wood, paper, fiber (cotton, flax, and hemp, among others), medicines, decorative and landscaping plants, and many other uses.

      • Fall
        Biology 400-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This laboratory is designed to provide students with practical experiences in plant identification while using tools of classification and identification. Students will gain experience in data accumulation, specimen collection and preparation, identification of major taxa, and use of identification resources.

        Co-requisite: Plant Taxonomy

        This course has an additional fee

      • Fall
        Environmental Science Sociology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        The central aim of this course is to explore the relationship between the environment, both natural and human built, and society. Students will analyze historical and contemporary ways of thinking about nature. Students will pay special attention to the historical and cultural factors that have led us to regard nature as separate from the self and society and the effects such perceptions may have had on the natural environment. We will also examine the potential influences the physical world has had in shaping civilizations, specifically here in Costa Rica and the states students come from. Furthermore, we will explore the possible growth of an environmental consciousness and will assess the value of both consciousness-raising and structural change as means for addressing the human-produced ecological problems.

        Environment and society is a liberal studies course that addresses the sociological dimensions of issues and problems in contemporary human societies. The thematic foci for all sections of the course are Environmental Consciousness, Technology and Its Impact, and Valuing the Diversity of the Human Experience. Social issues related to technology and its impact on various facets of human social organization and experience will be highlighted in the course. The relationship between human societies and the Costa Rican environment will also be emphasized. Students will develop several essential skills through their work for this course, such as critical thinking, critical reading, effective writing, and/or ethical reasoning.

      • Fall
        Environmental Science Sociology Women's Studies / Gender Studies 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This class is designed as an introduction to the challenging issues of women and the environment. As part of a larger course on Society and Climate Change, it will address the main aspects of how women interface with crucial environmental concerns such as water, energy, land use, and biodiversity conservation. Moreover, it aims to build a broad understanding of how women and their children adapt to the world’s changing climatic conditions. Finally, it looks at women as active organizers and participants in building a more sustainable society on local and international levels.

      • Fall
        Biology 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Tropical ecology is the relationship between plants and animals in a tropical environment. Tropical zones are distinguished because they occur in the latitudes that lay between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn. These tropical latitudes have distinct physical, climatic, and biotic characteristics. As a result, tropical ecosystems are among the most diverse in the world. Tropical ecosystems are very diverse and encompass rainforests, dry deciduous forests, highland forests, paramos, coastal areas, spiny forests, deserts, and other habitat types. Each one of these ecosystems has a unique species composition and ecological relationships among them. Thus, studying tropical ecology is essential to understand the modern ecology. Moreover, since 1980, 288 million hectares (21%) of tropical forest areas have been deforested, while the human population in tropical countries has nearly doubled. The study of tropical ecosystems cannot be detached from conservation. The best way to ensure that these ecosystems will be conserved is to provide future generations with the proper theoretical, practical, and critical skills related to these special ecosystems and their conservation. This course will introduce students to tropical ecosystems and their general characteristics, focusing on the ecological and evolutionary relationships found in tropics. Students will also learn about some of the tropical research done in Costa Rica and other regions. This class will also explore the unique characteristics of several of the ecosystems found within the tropics and compare species found in different tropical regions. Students will explore how tropical ecosystems impact the temperate regions and what is needed to conserve these ecosystems. The course will also have a strong experimental component and students will learn how to develop experiments to answer ecological questions and how to employ simple statistical analyses to test hypotheses.

      • Fall
        Biology 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study course consists of three field trips to different habitats (one day field trip and two overnight field trips). The objectives of these visits will be to better understand the topics covered in the lectures such as individual, population, and community level ecological processes, and adaptations to various environments. Through the field study portion of Tropical Ecology, the students will gain a greater appreciation for ecological adaptations, ecological succession, sustainability, the value of biodiversity, and long-term ecological research.

        Co-requisite: Tropical Ecology

        This course has an additional fee

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Exploration of the specific health needs of women, with emphasis on understanding and prevention of problems of women’s health.

      Spring Semester

      Language and Literature Electives

      • Fall
        Spanish 300-level 1-3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Spanish 300-level 1-3 credits Taught in Spanish

        Optional three-credit course that complements the development of linguistic competences facilitated at the two/three-hundred level courses, focusing in the oral skills in particular.

        This course is taught at the beginner and intermediate levels.

        Beginner Prerequisite: two semesters of college Spanish

        Intermediate Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        This course will provide students with the knowledge of the basic structures of the Spanish language, and the specialized medical vocabulary needed to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking patients in a variety of health care situations. Moreover, an understanding and appreciation of cultural differences in the health perceptions of Spanish-speaking patients will be developed. This course is appropriate for all health-related disciplines, and requires some previous knowledge of Spanish.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Spring
        Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        For the course, we will use an anthology put together by the professor that is organized to correspond to the sections that are being dealt with in the course: essays, narratives (stories and novels), poetry and dramatic works. All of the written material that is in the anthology will be dealt with in class. The text is, above all, mandatory for the students use. Each practice section and corresponding units comes accompanied by a study guide that is produced by the professor, in order to facilitate the written comprehension and interpretation. The anthology is a text prepared in such a way that the students underline, highlight or write notes in the margins.

        Prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      Cultural Studies

      • Fall
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Dance 100-level 1 credit Taught in Spanish

        The Latin American Dances class is addressed to those students who enjoy dancing and want to learn how to relate traditional Latin American dances like “Cha chachá”, “Son”, “Bolero” “Merengue”, “Salsa”, “Guaracha”, “Cumbia” and so on. At the same time, the students have the chance to practice Spanish and become more acquainted with the Latin American culture.

      • Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Fall
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 200-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Anthropology History Spanish 300-level 3 credits Taught in Spanish

        The course focuses on two large topics. The first one concerns the social and cultural foundations established by the ancient peoples that inhabited Latin America as well as the new societies and hybrid cultures that arouse after the arrival of European populations to this part of the world. The second topic encompasses contemporary issues such as the building of national identities, social and cultural “modernization” of urban and rural populations, and responses to global challenges. This course explores the tensions between continuity and change as cultural processes develop to shape Latin America today. It also looks at general trends and it provides opportunities to become acquainted with particular cases.

        300-level prerequisite: four semesters of college Spanish

      • Fall
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English and Spanish
        Spring
        Nutrition 200-level 1 credit Taught in English and Spanish

        An introduction to a local cuisine in a hands-on kitchen environment. Authentic preparations of several local dishes will be taught. Correct cooking techniques are emphasized. Readings and lectures on local food customs and traditions will support and contextualize the cooking instruction. Students will learn about Latin American culture, and practice conversing and following instructions in the Spanish language.

        Dietary restrictions may not be accommodated.

        This course has an additional fee.

      Life and Health Science Studies

      • Spring
        Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        The diversity of life forms is one of the greatest wonder and treasures of the world. This diversity is the product of millions of years of evolution, and can be thought in many different ways. One could start by viewing the overall perspective of evolutionary time and the radiation patterns from single ancestors. Another way of looking at it is to explore the characteristics of natural communities and intricate tapestry of relationships between life forms living in these communities. At the ecosystem level, we can look at the diversity of the biota and recognize different biomes. We can also view diversity globally and collectively by estimating the number of species and determining where species are concentrated. Finally, we can measure the amount of genetic variation within species to look at the genetic level diversity.

        The study of biodiversity (and all of its components) is a crosscutting issue because human activities have affected the diversity of life forms to the point where large numbers of species have gone extinct and the genetic diversity of many species has eroded. These treats continue have increase in magnitude and several studies predict that we are now experiencing a new era of mass extinctions due to negative anthropocentric activities. The conservation of biodiversity can be achieved only by: “characterizing it, saving it, and using it in a sustainable way”. To achieve this goal one must study life diversity, and quantify it in order to be able to monitor it and save it.

        Prerequisite: one semester of introductory level biology

      • Spring
        Biology 400-level 1 credit Taught in English

        Field biology is one of the most engaging areas of biology since it requires biologists to work at many levels: the organism, community, ecosystem, or landscape. Field biologists use nature as a laboratory and combine the principles of biology, the physical sciences, and mathematics to study the diversity and interactions of plants, animals and microorganisms in their natural environments. Thus, field biologists include ecologists, zoologists, botanists, population biologists, taxonomists, physiologists, wildlife and fisheries biologists, microbiologists and others. In this course the identification of the most important groups of the tropical biodiversity is very important. The field study will include work in fieldtrips to different localities to compare the diversity present in some of the tropical ecosystems.

        Co-requisite: Biological Diversity

        This course has an additional fee

      • Spring
        Biology Environmental Science 300-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Ecology studies the interaction of organisms with the biotic and abiotic environment; population biology studies the distribution and movement of organisms in the natural world. This should ideally act as a biology major capstone course for it incorporates many themes related to biology. Students will touch on many biological principles that they should already be familiar with. Students will gain an appreciation of ecological principles as they relate to the natural world.

        Prerequisite: general biology with laboratory

      • Spring
        Biology Environmental Science 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        This field study course consists of two field trips to different habitats. The objectives of these visits will be to better understand the topics covered in the lectures such as individual, population and community level ecological processes, and adaptations to various environments.

        Corequisite: Ecology and Population Biology

        This course has an additional fee.

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences Health Ecology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences Health Ecology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        This course is directed towards the student who wants to deepen his/her knowledge of global health and how preventive and promotive work can be carried on from an international perspective. Provides an introduction to problems involved in assessing international health needs and designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating public health programs in international settings. Topics include: issues in global health; major health problems and concerns of developing vs. developed countries; international health organizations; international health care systems and health development assistance; development of population/demographic transition; the global economy and health; access to medical care; cultural differences; emerging crises in global health.

      • Fall
        Biology 200-level 1-3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology 200-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

        This course is designed for undergraduate students who have not yet taken a biology lab course.

        This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

        Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

      • Fall
        Biology 400-level 1-3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Biology 400-level 1-3 credits Taught in English

        This course is designed for undergraduate students who have completed at least one Biology lab course. This research placement assumes that the student will take part in an ongoing project and duties will be closely supervised.

        Placements are available Asociación Ramonense para la Conservación del Ambient (ARCA), a local NGO that works with the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) and at Universidad de Costa Rica, the host University of San Ramón, Costa Rica.

        Prerequisite: one semester of college biology with lab

      • Spring
        Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Tropical Conservation Biology is the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. In this course, students will gain an understanding of evolutionary and ecological factors that shape patterns of tropical diversity. Topics covered include 1) the impacts of global warming, species invasions, and habitat destruction on biodiversity, 2) strategies developed to combat these threats, and 3) a consideration of key economic and ethical trade-offs.

      • Spring
        Biology 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        In this course students will learn about the main tropical marine ecosystems.

        Prerequisite: one semester of general biology

      • Spring
        Biology 300-level 1 credit Taught in English

        In this course students will visit marine ecosystems that they studied in theorical lessons. Students will be able to explore various marine ecosystems like: Coral reefs, rocky reefs, mangroves, and intertidal zones.

        Co-requisite: Tropical Marine Biology

      • Fall
        Community Health Sciences 400-level 3 credits Taught in English
        Spring
        Community Health Sciences 400-level 3 credits Taught in English

        Exploration of the specific health needs of women, with emphasis on understanding and prevention of problems of women’s health.

      To request a course syllabus: syllabus@usac.edu

      Field Studies

      Optional field studies are an excellent way to deepen your academic experience abroad. During your 1-credit field study course, you will participate in carefully planned excursions that allow you to explore the cultural, historical, and natural features of Costa Rica. These overnight field experiences, combined with required academic components such as readings, research, and written assignments, will increase your understanding of the sites and locales visited.

      As an experiential learning method, optional field studies complement the larger academic program and provide you with opportunities to learn in new ways, to gain hands-on experience, and to connect your classroom learning to the world around you.

      Optional field studies have an additional fee and are subject to meeting minimum enrollment requirements to run.

      Internships

      USAC in-person and virtual internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development. Whether onsite or virtually, you will work closely with a USAC Resident Director (RD), an internship coordinator, and a professional supervisor to gain valuable experience and skills that can be applied to your chosen career field. Internships are also a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica, deepen your cross-cultural understanding, and help you develop intercultural communication and language skills in an internationally focused organization or other professional work setting.

      Among the many benefits of an internship experience, USAC in-person and virtual internships help you

      • Learn about a career that matches your academic and personal interests
      • Gain practical, hands-on experience
      • Master highly sought-after soft skills such as time management, teamwork, and problem solving
      • Build a network of professional contacts
      • Improve your resume
      • Cultivate intercultural communication skills that are essential in a globalized workforce
      • Develop an understanding of the workplace norms, expectations, and culture of Costa Rica

      For eligibility requirements and application information, see the USAC internship page.

      For more information about placement options, see the San Ramón internship page.

      Quick Details

      2020-21 App. Cycle

      Spring: Open

      2021-22 App. Cycle

      Summer Session I (5 weeks): Open

      Summer Session II (4 weeks): Open

      Summer Session I&II (9 weeks): Open

      Fall/Yearlong: Open

      Spring: Open

      Eligibility

      Minimum GPA: 2.5

      Program Type

      Specialty

      Credits

      US Credit

      Program Capacity

      65 students

      Instruction

      English | Spanish

      Passport & Visa

      Passport & Visa Information