The Galapagos semester program offers four academic tracks in the biological and social sciences, all taught in English. Each track consists of five intensive 3-credit courses taught in 2-week modules. Students start the program in Cumbayá at the USFQ main campus, and then spend the 3 modules of the semester on San Cristóbal Island, Galapagos, and finally return to the mainland for the final module. Here is an example: Galapagos class schedule for Spring 2020.pdf
Please note courses are subject to change. You can take up to two courses from different tracks, assuming you meet any necessary prerequisites and spaces are available (see Academic Tracks). You have to take a required Spanish conversation class (1 credit) at the beginner, intermediate or advanced levels at the beginning of the program. Volunteer placements (non-credit) in San Cristóbal are also available to interested students.
Course Descriptions and Syllabi
The Galapagos semester program offers four academic tracks in the biological and social sciences, all taught in English.
The Marine Ecology track combines course and fieldwork studying marine conservation and the social aspects of marine management.
EVOLUTION, ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Students in the Evolution, Ecology and Conservation track examine and study Ecuador's diverse ecosystems.
PEOPLE, POLITICS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The People, Politics and Environment track explores the various economic, cultural and social issues that affect relationships between humans and their environment.
The sustainable tourism track addresses the importance of sustainability and the impact on the economy, the environment and society, as well as the global community.
Review USFQ’s website for more information regarding the program.
To review the course offerings, please contact this program's advisor (located in the tab labeled 'Contact') for assistance.
General Education Information for UAlbany Students
Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.
Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students
Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.
All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. There is no credit or grade conversion for this program; USFQ credits and letter grades are equal to SUNY credits and letter grades except that SUNY uses an 'E' to denote a failing grade rather than an 'F.'
You will stay with carefully screened host families in Cumbayá (Quito) and in San Cristobal Island. During overnight excursions students stay in hostels or hotels.
As part of the host family stay, you will be provided breakfast and dinner. Lunch will be on your own. What better way to experience Ecuador than eating their food?
Estimate of Costs
Ecuador USFQ-Galapagos EXCHANGE
Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.
Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.
Minimum Sophomore standing; Minimum 3.0 GPA. You must have taken at least one college level general biology or ecology course.
Marine Track Students require diving certification and insurance if planning to SCUBA dive (academic dives included in program) - snorkeling would be the substitute for uninsured and non-certified students.
Students must have yellow fever vaccine regardless of the track they choose.
You will visit USFQ's Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon, the Ecuadorian highlands, a cloud forest, and the coast. In the Galapagos, you will visit various sites as part of your coursework. Note: All students are required to receive a yellow fever vaccine to participate.
In addition to the courses offered in the Galapagos Semester Program, you have the option of participating in service learning projects. You can select one of USFQ’s partner NGOs or community development agencies to do service learning. If you participate in learning service projects, you will also take the 3 credit course: Organization, Development, Environment volunteer.
You can find more information on the Service Learning Opportunities HERE.
Student Clubs and Organizations
USFQ offers a number of student clubs in a variety of interest areas including theatre, tango, salsa, chess, ecology, cycling and many others! If you cannot find what interest you, you can always start a new club!
Global Dragons: As an International student at USFQ, you have the option of becoming involved in the Global Dragons program. This opportunity allows you to become connected to USFQ degree-seeking students to gain an introduction to USFQ, meet local friends, and share in Ecuadorian customs and social events.
Most financial aid and academic awards will apply to semester programs.
External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.
More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.
Speak with an Advisor
About the City
With a rich pre-Colombian history, Ecuador's capital was founded on the ruins of an Incan city but offers everything a modern traveler might need. Quito is a capital city in the Andes squeezed between mountain peaks. Quito is home to one of the largest, least-altered and best preserved historic centers in Latin America. Quito’s formal name is Francisco de Quito due to its Spanish and Incan origin. Quito is also the 2nd most populated city in Ecuador so if you are interested in meeting a whole bunch of people and students, you should go here!
The campus of Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Galapagos (which includes the local programs, GAIAS, and the GSC) is located in the island of San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos, in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which has a population of approximately 6,000 people, most of whom make their living principally of artisanal (small scale) fishing and tourism. In San Cristobal, water temperature averages 22-23 Cª / 71-73 Fº, although it can range from 19Cº - 26 Cº / 66Fº - 78 Fº. Other islands (such as Española) have lower water temperatures depending on the time of year.
On San Cristobal, students are surrounded by some of the most unique wildlife species on the planet. On this island alone, they will have the opportunity to observe Chatham Mockingbirds, Blue Footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, Frigate birds, Pintail Ducks, Gallinules, Pelicans, Giant Tortoises, Sea Tortoises, Crabs, Sea Lions, and various other sea and land birds, including some species of the famous Darwin finches.
Nature PBS created a documentary about the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, located in the Yasuní Biosphere, one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Click here to view the documentary.
A valid passport is required to participate in this program. As your program is longer than 90 days, you will likely apply for a VISA which will take a few weeks to process and will have an extra cost. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.
Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:
- Spring program: July
- Fall program: December
Academic Year 2023-2024
08/4/2023 to 05/04/2024
08/04/2023 to 12/02/2023
01/06/2024 to 05/04/2024
Here is an example of the Spring 2024 Academic Calendar:
|Dates: January 8 - May 3, 2024
|Application deadline: September 25, 2023 *subject to change
|January 3 and January 4
||Online Orientations *(subject to change)
||Campus tour/SIM cards distributed for phones
|January 8 to January 12
||Spanish class 2pm-5pm
||Galapagos Semester Program Orientation
||Tiputini Orientation *(subject to change)
||Quito City Tour
||International Students Orientation *(subject to change)
||Module 1 starts
||Last day of course change (module 3) with no fees
||Last day of course changes (modules 4, 5) with no fees
||Module 2 starts
||Students travel to Galapagos *(subject to change)
||Module 3 starts
|March 18 to March 24
||Module 4 starts
||Module 5 starts
||Last day of classes
||All students travel to Quito
||End of the Program, Farewell lunch and Recommended departure date
About the Program
La Universidad de San Francisco USFQ is considered the best University of Ecuador. Each year, USFQ campuses vibrate with 8,393 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 80 nationalities and countries (including 500 indigenous students and 1,000 international students), 967 teachers and staff, and 10 colleges and academic schools.
Founded in 1988, USFQ is an Ecuadorian University of Liberal Arts, Private and Non-Profit. USFQ seek excellence both in the academy and in research and creativity. USFQ’s success is due to the support of a team of highly qualified and committed teachers, researchers and staff, a broad and rigorous curriculum, and the development of adequate resources and facilities.
Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The fall semester pre-departure orientation will be conducted in late April/early May, and in late November/early December for the spring term abroad.
Upon arrival at USFQ, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by International Office of your host university.
UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.
USFQ's International Office staff serve as an experienced resource for resolving issues that you may encounter in while abroad.