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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Faculty-led Minimum GPA: 2.5
Language of Instruction: English Faculty-led: Yes
Program Description:


Faculty-led programsBiodiversity of Belize | Faculty-led Program

BIOL 344: Biodiversity of Belize offers the opportunity to travel to and study in some of the most biologically rich ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere - the tropical rain forest and Barrier Reef of Belize. During this course, you will experience and observe the diversity of flora and fauna found within the Neotropics while spending time in a remote Maya Village, the world-renowned Bladen Nature Reserve, and South Water Caye. In addition to the rich biodiversity of the region, you will also be immersed in the diverse, rich cultural heritage of the country while learning about contemporary issues related to conservation and environmental protection. 

You will be immersed in the study of tropical ecology, carrying out field experiences in the tropical rainforest, freshwater rivers/streams, savannah, coastal mangroves, island, and Barrier Reef. The focus of course activities will be on identifying biodiversity (flora and fauna) and understanding ecological processes that are essential to the function of each ecosystem. In addition, we will also explore contemporary issues related to conservation and environmental protection in Belize, with a particular emphasis on the positive and negative impacts of ecotourism in the country. Learning experiences will include field exercises/activities, guided excursions, class presentations, and interactions with staff/educators/guides at each site. Assessments will include pre-trip course readings, a presentation, a daily field notebook, and a photo journal.

Check out the Biodiversity of Belize Faculty-led Program website for a daily itinerary, what to pack, more details about the leaders, and more!

You must be able to swim and should be comfortable in the water. You should be able to hike for an hour or two over uneven terrain in the heat (at a moderate pace, with plenty of water, and rest breaks). We may encounter brief periods of extreme weather conditions in terms of heat, humidity, and rain, so you must be able to handle this physically and mentally. 

Three 3-hour pre-trip class meetings will take place prior to departure. These will be scheduled for Saturday mornings in the month or two prior to departure. These classes are mandatory and will require readings and a passing grade on the pre-trip exam.

PLEASE NOTE: Participation in this program requires a valid passport through at least November 25, 2020. If you do not have a valid passport or your passport is set to expire before this date, please apply for a passport immediately if you hope to participate in this program. 

Belize: Tropical Education Center/Belize Zoo, BFREE in the Bladen Nature Reserve, Southwater Caye

May 11-25, 2020

BIOL 344 (3 credits) - counts for Goal Area 10
NOTE: BIOL 344 is currently going through the course approval process at WSU. It has been approved as a Goal Area 10 course, and the decision on its approval as an official WSU course will be determined in the fall 2019 semester. 

  • Introductory biology coursework (e.g. BIOL 241/242/104 preferred, but not mandatory)
  • Range from $4,200 - $4,900 depending on enrollment min/max.
  • The program cost includes: WSU tuition and fees for the 3-credit course, round trip airfare, transportation throughout the duration of the program, meals, lodging, admission & event fees for group educational activities, insurance for the duration of the program, and the Study Abroad administrative fee.
    The $500 confirmation deposit required as part of the program application is applied toward the final program cost.
Dr. Jennifer Cochran Biederman (

Kathy Jicinsky, Assistant Director of Study Abroad for Faculty-led Programs or (507) 457-5019
143 Maxwell

  • February 1, 2020: Final application deadline. Complete applications and a $500 confirmation deposit are due to be considered for this program. After being accepted, the $500 confirmation deposit is nonrefundable unless the program is cancelled. Students will be accepted for this program on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • February 11, 2020: If you are accepted for the program and withdraw after this date you are financially responsible for the full cost of the program regardless of participation.
    • NOTE: This deadline is 90 days prior to the start of the program. As detailed in the Cancellation, Financial, and Conduct Policies - faculty-led document students must review & electronically sign as part of the application for this program, students and families are strongly urged to consider purchasing travel cancellation insurance. The Center for Global Education does not endorse any particular travel insurance coverage, but quote comparisons can be found at Review closely what the cancellation insurance includes and what it does not include. Cancellation insurance should be purchased immediately after acceptance into the program for the insurance to be effective.
  • April 20, 2020: Full payment for the program is due by this date. If you can show you have summer financial aid to cover your outstanding balance for the program, you will be allowed to participate even with a balance as of April 20, 2019.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 02/01/2020 ** Rolling Admission 05/11/2020 05/24/2020

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.