Office of Study Abroad and Outreach

Tropical Ecology: the Galapagos


Tropical Ecology: the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are well-known among scientists due to their connection with Charles Darwin and his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle.  Gain an appreciation of Darwin's influence on our understanding of evolution and biological diversity by studying it first-hand.  

Location(s)  Quito, Ecuador and San Cristóbal Island, the Galapagos
Term   Spring 2024
Credit   BIOL 479(G), 3 sh
Class Sessions Spring 2024, Waggoner Hall, TBA  
Travel Dates March 7-16, 2024
Housing   Hotel
Passport Required
Visa (for US citizens) Not required
GPA 2.5
Hours completed 12
Student Conduct
Good status
Grad credit Yes
Non-WIU   No
Pre-requisites BOT 200 (grade C or better) and ZOOL 200 (grade C or better) or permission of instructor
Student Year Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate

Entry Requirements

Passport required--must be valid until September 30, 2024. For information on how to apply for or renew a passport, see Passports 101 .
Current passport processing times are 10-13 weeks.  Plan accordingly to avoid issues obtaining your visa, airine tickets, and other necessary items for travel.  Failure to receive your passport in time can lead to postponement of your program.

Visa required if not a US citizen.  It is your responsibility to check the  Consulate of Ecuador in Chicago website for more information.  Visa costs not included in program cost.

Health Insurance

You must have international health insurance for the time you are on your program. One option is approved to meet this requirement:

Health Precautions

COVID-19 - You are REQUIRED to follow the policies of your host country, the CDC and TSA.  It is your responsibility to know and understand these policies.  If policies change before or during your Course, it is your responsibility to comply with the new policies.  Failure to do so can result in removal from your Course and/or the host country, financial consequences and academic consequences.

Walking/mobility/travel - Expect to walk 2-3 miles/day with sturdy footwear.  It is not consecutive but scheduled throughout the day, sometimes over uneven terrain, unpaved areas, and up/down flights of stairs.  You will be responsible for moving your own luggage.  To fully participate in all components of the travel experiences, you must know how to swim. 

Environmental - Average daytime temperatures are in the upper 80s for this time period.  Sun protection is strongly recommended.  Insects are plentiful; use of bug spray recommended.

Dietary - Some meals are included in the program cost. Contact Kim McDaniel  if you have food allergies or other dietary restrictions.

Vaccinations - No vaccinations are required for entry into Ecuador.  Up to date vaccination recommendations are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website .

Accessability - Accessability and accommodation are very different than than found in the United States.  Please contact Disability Resources for questions on the availability of accommodations for your specific situation.

PLEASE NOTE   It is your responsibility to request accommodation from DR; faculty and staff are not legally permitted to inquire about such needs.  Requests should be made as early as possible to allow sufficient time to arrange accommodations in your location.


Costs & Important Dates

Estimated Cost* $5,200-$5,650
Included in the program Roundtrip airfare from Chicago, in-country transportation including flights to/from Galapagos Islands, double occupancy lodging, entry fees to scheduled sites, Galapagos National Park tax and transit control card, some meals
Application Deadline October 31, 2023
Non-refundable Deposit $1,575 due December 8, 2023
Estimated Final payment* Balance due January 31, 2024

* Costs subject to change based on student enrollment and flight costs.

WIU reserves the right to adjust the cost or arrangements of this program due to insufficient enrollment or circumstances beyond the University's control.  For details about this or individual withdrawals, see Cancellations and Withdrawals .

Important Dates

Passport copy deadline:  January 15, 2024  Failure to meet this deadline will result in removal from the group flight and increased costs.

MANDATORY Pre-departure meeting: TBA, Spring 2024



Credit offered

BIOL 479 - Counts as an upper-division elective for Biology majors/minors

BIOL 479(G) - May count towards graduation requirements for Master's of Biology

Please check with your academic advisor for more information on how this Course fits your specific academic needs.


  • Understand principles of evolution (including natural selection), classification, endemism, island biogeography, ecology and conservation through discussions and lectures
  • Collect data on species richness on-site in Galapagos
  • Gain appreciation of Darwin's influence on topics of evolution and biological diversity
  • Immerse yourself in local culture


Class sessions

Active class participation, including contribution to discussions and attendance, is expected in all phases of the Course.  You are responsible for completing pre-departure assignments including readings and discussion participation, attendance and active participation during on-site visits, guest lectures and activities, and post-return assignments.  Questions about course content should be directed to Dr. Ranessa Cooper .

Student testimonials

Coming soon!






Contact Us

Kim McDaniel
Study Abroad Advisor

Horrabin Room 8


Advising appointments

Dr. Ranessa Cooper
Faculty leader

Waggoner Hall 205


Information Sessions

September 21, noon, Zoom
September 29, noon, Zoom
Registration required: Registration form

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