Ecology and Evolution of the Galapàgos Islands

Summer 2017

July 11 - August 10, 2017

Program Highlights

Embark on a biological expedition to Ecuador, follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, and explore the Galapagos Islands- one of the world's most unique and historic ecosystems.

All students are required to enroll in Biology 373. These credits (4) will be applicable to the CSB/SJU Biology major upper division requirement (five upper division lab classes). This course also has the EL flag (experiential learning). During our trip, there will be some traditional lecturing and testing but most class work will be carried out in the field setting. Students will write a scientific paper based on field research and keep a journal of their experiences throughout the trip. 

Program Description

Upon our arrival in Quito, we will familiarize ourselves with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) campus. An orientation and welcome lunch will welcome us to the country of Ecuador. The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS), a department of USFQ, develops our trip in terms to our specifications. 

Galapagos Islands

After flying the 600 miles from Quito to the islands, we will spend our time visiting 3-5 islands. Our studies/projects will focus on sea lion behavior, blue-footed booby ecology, intertidal ecosystems, geology and island hot spots, tortoise ecology and conservation, sea turtle ecology and conservation, among others. Opportunities abound and will include: snorkeling with sea lions, sea turtles, hiking with land tortoises, and many others. Class work will include traditional lectures, an independent, multi-day research study completed by each student, and field exploration related to topics introduced in the classroom. Writing assignments will include maintaining a daily field journal and producing at least one scientifically-structured paper based on your independent research. 

Course Description

Course Name: Ecology and Evolution of the Galapagos Islands

Course Number: BIOL 373

Credit Number: 4

Designation: Experiential Learning 

Program Costs

The estimated program fee is $7150 plus the cost of 4 CSB/SJU credits at the reduced summer tuition rate (approximately $573 per credit). 

This price includes:

  • Internal flights
  • Accommodations
  • Local transportation
  • Local guides and breakfasts/lunches while on the islands and in Quito
  • Admissions costs to museums and parks

The Program Fee does not include:

  • Roundtrip airfare (MSP-UIO)
  • Dinners in Quito and on the islands
  • Personal spending money
  • Any activities not included in the program


Students will stay in cabins with electricity, running water, toliets, and beds. The cabins will be screened to prevent bug entry. 


Dr. Kristina Timmerman of the Biology Department has led this program for several years, in addition to leading short-term programs to the Caribbean during spring break and the India semester program.