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Earth Science and Environmental Change in Ecuador

From snow-capped volcanoes to steamy tropical jungles, Ecuador is a small country with a very wide range of climates, landscapes, and cultures. Situated on the equator, the Andes divide the country into three distinct regions: the Amazon, the Coast, and the Cordillera (the spine of the Andes). Because of the unique topographic and climatic variations within Ecuador, this country is considered to be one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots. On this 12-day trip students will learn about the environment, landscapes, and cultures of Ecuador.

Photo of Cultural Excusion in Ecuador

This trip will place particular emphasis on sustainable human interaction with the environment and challenges posed by natural and man-made hazards, including climate change. Highlights on our itinerary include:

  • A visit to Ecuador’s capitol, Quito
  • Opportunity to see amazing birds in the pre-montane ‘cloud’ forest in Mindo
  • Visits to volcanic craters, a tropical glacier, and a geologically active stratovolcano, Cotopaxi
  • A home stay in an indigenous community in the high Andes
  • A 3-day visit to an Amazon eco-lodge: see primary rainforest by canoe, observe monkeys, caimans and tapirs, visit indigenous communities and learn to make chocolate
  • This trip will take place in the two weeks prior to the start of Fall semester classes. We expect the trip to be physically demanding, and students will spend long days outdoors at elevations ranging between 1,000 and 15,000 feet.

This study abroad program has multiple course options, and will feature a mix of undergraduate and graduate students.


ESCI 200-600 Introduction to Environmental Earth Science (4 credits)

Undergraduate course that is open to all majors and counts toward LAC requirements

Ecuador: A Microcosm of Global Environmental Change (3 credits)
This course is cross-listed at an undergraduate and graduate level. Students will earn 3 credits for either:


Spots are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students must have 24 UNC credit hours completed by the time of departure with a minimum GPA of 2.5, and a clean disciplinary record at UNC. ESCI 494 students should be Earth Sciences majors who have completed an introductory college lab science course.

Graduate Students

Graduate students must have earned a bachelor's degree.


Applications should be delivered to the Center for International Education in UC 2205 before the application deadline listed above. Programs may fill before the posted application deadline, so turn your application in as soon as you are ready to commit.

Completed Application

FLSA Earth Science in Ecuador Application which includes:

  • Extended Campus Registration Form
  • CIE Study Abroad Application
  • Disciplinary Verification Form
  • Medical Report, Authorization, and Release

create The Disciplinary Verification Form requires a signature from the Dean of Students Office that can be obtained in the University Center, Room 3030.


A nonrefundable $400 deposit (via credit card or a check written out to the University of Northern Colorado) is due at the time of application. This will be applied against your UNC tuition and fees as explained above in the Costs section. Your deposit will only be returned if you are not accepted for the course or if the course is cancelled.


Costs for the program are estimated and may change based on fluctuations in: currency exchange rates, prices on the ground, number of students who enroll, airline prices, and other international economic factors. You will have a chance to withdraw and receive a refund on your deposit if the UNC Billed Costs are revised upward or the program is canceled by the university. Other costs not billed by UNC depend greatly on market prices, personal spending habits, and available funds. Cost estimates listed here are meant to help you plan and prepare for the program as well as calculate eligibility for financial aid.

Deposits are non-refundable and signify your commitment to participate in the program. Once you commit to participate, UNC may begin to make logistical arrangements on your behalf that may include non-recoverable costs. UNC will attempt to recover funds expended or committed on your behalf if you decide to withdraw, but any non-recoverable costs to UNC (charged by airlines, third party vendors, tour operators, etc.) will be charged to you.

  • UNC Program Fees

    Deposit: Nonrefundable unless your application is denied or course is canceled


    Paid to UNC, due with application

    UNC Billed Costs: Includes tuition, housing, most excursions, most meals and administrative fees


    Paid to UNC, due with Fall semester tuition

    Total UNC Program Tuition and Fees



    error Billed Costs will be charged to your UNC student account according to the regular UNC billing schedule. Please be aware that the total billable amount due must be paid upon the receipt of the invoice.

  • Others Costs Not Billed by UNC

    Excursions (not covered)


    Meals not covered in program cost


    Estimate; will vary by person


    If students needs to obtain passport

    Total per Student