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  • Locations: Panama City, Panama
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Who Approved: Tulane applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2019 02/11/2019 02/21/2019 TBA TBA
Spring 2020 09/10/2019 09/27/2019 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: Spanish Major: Environmental Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies
Program Description:

SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Panama City, Panama


About the Program | Panama City, Panama Eligibility
Fields of Study | Academic Culture | Student Life | Housing | Helpful Links

About the Program

The SIT program model is one of experiential learning abroad. SIT has been providing immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates for more than 50 years. SIT programs are based on the experiential learning model, which merges hands-on learning with reflection. Programs combine classroom learning with time spent in the field observing, interacting with local stakeholders, and learning from local experts.
Site visits and other learning experiences are relevant to the program’s theme. A program focused on global health may include visits to hospitals, rural clinics, or refugee camps. A program focused on economy may include an internship with a local business or financial institution. Students studying climate change and natural resource management may spend extensive time in nature reserves and national parks.
This experiential approach gives you the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of a critical global issue. You may find yourself interviewing local community members in the local language (with the help of a translator, when necessary), observing wildlife in its natural habitat, practicing a local art form, or participating in a community project designed by local development experts.
On this program you will study in one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems in the world. You will engage in seven weeks of travel and field study in Panama and Costa Rica, hike the highland ecosystem and lowland rain forests while living in local communities, and spend 4 weeks living in Panama's vibrant capital city. 

Panama and Costa Rica

This program is based in the culturally and ecologically diverse country of Panama. Within the country, students will experience time in highland ecosystems and lowland rainforests, while also spending time living in Panama's vibrant capital city.


  • 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Completion of two semesters of Spanish at Tulane, including SPAN 2030 or higher, within the year prior to the start of the program with a B average or higher
  • Coursework with Latin American content recommended

Fields of Study
Environmental Studies, Environmental Biology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Tropical Ecology

Academic Culture
This program will provide students interested in the tropical ecology, environmental studies, marine ecosystems and biodiversity, Latin American Studies and other disciplines the opportunity to explore Panama and Costa Rica's diverse ecosystems. 
Major topics of study include: 

  • Tropical Forest Dynamics
  • Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Connectivity
  • Contemporary socio-environmental issues shaping the tropics

In addition to courses focusing on these topics, students will take an Environmental Research Methods and Ethics course to prepare you for your Independent Study Project. During the final four weeks of the program, you will conduct an Independent Study Project. 
Environmental Research Methods and Ethics
(ENVI3500 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
This course focuses on learning how to collect and systematize ecological data to understand ecosystem function and adaptation. Through field lectures, practice, and classroom learning, students learn and apply a range of ecological research methods. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to ecology and conservation and are guided through the World Learning / SIT Human Subjects Review process. By the end of the course students will have learned, applied, and collected data from a minimum of 20 field research methods.
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits / 120 hours)
The Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program's thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a formal research paper and oral presentation. Depending on student interest, research can be conducted in cloud forest highlands, coral reefs, lowland forests, mangroves, rural villages, indigenous communities, or other approved sites within Panama. Sample topic areas: community resource management; sustainable fisheries; coral reef organisms; mangrove health; sustainable agriculture; agroforestry; ecotourism for resource conservation; ethnobotany.

All credit taken on an approved Tulane Study Abroad Program comes back as elective credit. If you are planning to petition for Spanish major or minor credit, please carefully review the guidelines on the Department of Spanish and Portuguese website.

Helpful Links
SIT Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity Concentration