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Programs : Brochure

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Program Information:


  • Study ecology and conservation in one of the most biologically unique locations on the planet
  • Explore Darwin's wonderland: the Galápagos Islands!
  • Obtain field-based experience in principles and practice of ecology and conservation biology
  • Visit the Bellavista Cloud Forest, a rare and endangered ecosystem, in Ecuador
  • Missed the info session? View the presentation here!


The program starts in Quito, Ecuador's capital where you will visit the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve. Then the group will fly to the Galapagos Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean, directly on the equator and approximately 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are rich in biodiversity and a showcase of evolution. Over the course of the program you will visit Floreana Island, Isabela Island, and Santa Cruz Island.   


Upon arrival, you will spend two nights in a hotel in Quito, Ecuador. You will then fly to the Galápagos Islands where you will stay in hotels or cabins on the beach. Most meals are provided. Itinerary and housing is subject to change.


Students arrange their own travel to Quito. Group flights are arranged for your transfer from Ecuador to the Galápagos Islands and back to the mainland. While in the Galápagos you will travel from island to island by speedboat.


Galapagos Tortoise snacking on grass
  • Course: EBIO 4460, Ecology & Evolution in the Galapagos Islands
  • Credits: 3 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: Counts toward EBIO lab credit and/or the 6 hours of 4000-level EBIO courses needed for the major
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course description

The program focuses on the connections between ecology, evolution, the history of science, and conservation in a place that forever links these foundational topics. This course is mostly field-based. You will engage in field observations and investigations on site, and maintain a field notebook. There are also pre-departure portions of this course, which will involve six two-hour meetings to prepare for the field-based experiential learning that will take place among selected islands of the Galápagos Archipelago. These campus-based meetings will begin in mid-October. 


This program will be led by Dr. Scott Taylor, an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dept. He teaches population genetics and ornithology and his research investigates the evolutionary genomics of avian hybridization and speciation. Dr. Taylor has travelled the globe studying birds, which included several months spent in Peru and Chile during his PhD studying blue-footed and Peruvian boobies. Dr. Taylor has also worked extensively as a naturalist and educator, introducing groups of all ages to the diversity of the natural world in locations including Antarctica, arctic Svalbard, Sierra Leone, Tierra del Fuego, Hawaii, and Galapagos. Dr. Taylor is an enthusiastic and dedicated scientist and educator and a passionate natural historian at heart.

See Dr. Taylor's Faculty Spotlight.


The day before traveling to the Galápagos Archipelago, you will visit the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, a unique ecosystem whose water supply comes entirely from condensing water vapor. 


This program occurs during winter break. However, the official university term is considered fall. You have class hours in the fall. This also means that the bill is due in September.




Students paddleboarding in the Galapagos

 : Galapagos Tortoise Snacking on Grass by Scott Taylor; Students Paddleboarding in the Galapagos by Scott Taylor.

Program Reviews:
Nathaniel Curtis Pinson, Winter 2017 Participant
It felt like we were getting to visit a lot of places most tourists coming to this region never get to see. The people, food, living accommodations, and activities were all amazing. I have no complaints about this trip at all.

Winter 2016 Participant
We hiked to the rim of 2 volcanoes, one being the second largest caldera in the world. We examined both the native, endemic, and invasive plant life, and how the composition changes as you pass from the north to the south side of an island, or as you summit a volcano and the elevation changes. We snorkeled with a plethora of marine wildlife including sea turtles, tropical fish, sting rays, sea lions, and little sharks. We visited lava tunnels on multiple islands and examined the different types of lava flows that create such structures. We learned about the rich evolutionary history of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise and observed multiple species on various islands. We observed marine iguanas displaying territorial mating behavior on all three islands (Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabela). We got to interact with a local farmer named Claudio that provides food for the entire human population on Floreana. There is an opportunity to explore and learn every day, because the trip is so short. Each day combines hands on learning, with active exploring, and it was the best way to learn.

Winter 2016 Participant
Taveling to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador for an EBIO course was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. We explored 3 of the islands and visited areas in which not even tourists could be found. We were greeted, taught, and shown around by the locals which allowed for a much more intimate connection to the place and the environment. We swam with sea turtles, hiked volcanoes and were even greeting by a group of whales - all while being able to observe and connect first hand with the biology and inter-connectedness of the place around us. What better place to learn about evolutionary biology than in Darwin's paradise?

Winter 2014 Participant
I learned a ton about the natural history of the Galapagos. Actually being there to see all of the unique animals was breathtaking and made my learning so much easier and better. It was very eye-opening to look at the world from such an evolutionary perspective. It was probably the most that I have ever learned in such a short period.

Nathaniel Curtis Pinson, Winter 2017 Participant
Swimming with sharks, sea turtles, sting rays. Hiking to the top of a volcano. Seeing killer wales, sea iguanas. One in a lifetime experience.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Winter 2017-2018 15-JUL-2017
Variable 03-JAN-2018 13-JAN-2018
NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.
Winter 2018-2019 01-MAY-2018
Variable TBA TBA
NOTE: NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.
Winter 2019-2020 01-OCT-2018 ** Variable TBA TBA

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.

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