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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Subjects Available: Biology, Business, Geography, Marine Studies, Marketing, Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Oceanography, Service Learning, Spanish, Sustainability Minimum Class Standing: Sophomore
Minimum GPA: 2.8 Program Open to Visiting Students: Yes!
Credit Load: 12-16 per semester Exchange Program: Yes!
Faculty-Led: No Research Opportunity: Yes!
Internship Opportunity: Service Learning or other volunteer opportunities are available Volunteer Opportunity: Yes!
Language of Instruction: English Language Requirement: No
Partner University: University San Francisco de Quito Program Advisor: Stokes, Jay
COVID re-opening status: re-opening review in progress
Program Description:
San Cristóbal is the fifth largest and easternmost island of the Galapagos. It is comprised of three or four fused volcanoes, all extinct. San Cristóbal is the island with perfect harmony and balance of life, and very unhurried. Located on the island of San Cristobal, the USFQ Galapagos campus offers international students the opportunity to study in one of the most pristine natural laboratories in the world.

Academic Program

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.
  • ECL 0335 Techniques of Marine Research I
  • ECL 0322 Techniques of Marine Research II
  • ECL 0327 Marine Life
  • ECL 0396 Marine Ecology
  • ECL 0324 Marine Ecosystems Based Management
  • Choice of classes from other tracks
Students in the Evolution, Ecology and Conserva­tion track examine and study Ecuador's diverse ecosystems.
  • ECL 0440 Tropical Ecology
  • ECL 0390 Quantitative Field Ecology
  • ECL 0320 Phylogenetic and Molecular Evolution
  • BIO 0309 Island Biogeography
  • BIO 0420 Native and Introduced Plants of the Galapagos
  • REC 031 7 Geographical Information Systems
  • Choice of classes from other tracks
The People, Politics and Environment track explores the various economic, cultural and social issues that affect relationships between humans and their environment.
  • REC 0315 Wildlife Conservation Biology
  • REC 0316 Strategic Planning for Natural Resource Management
  • REC 0320 Global Climate Change
  • ECL 063 7 Political Ecology
  • ANT 0385 Island Socio Ecosystem
  • Choice of classes from other tracks
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.
  • TUR 0303 Introduction to Sustainable Tourism
  • TUR 0304 Destination Marketing
  • REC 0315 Wildlife Conservation Biology
  • REC 0316 Strategic Planning for Natural Resource Management
  • ANT 0385 Island Socio Ecosystem

Review USFQ’s website for more information regarding course offerings.

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. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. 



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 - Academic year 2019-20

More Information

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.


Academic Requirements

Minimum Sophomore standing; 2.8 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).


Experiential Learning

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.
There are Service Learning Opportunities in the following areas:
  • Conservation
  • Pest Control
  • Reforestation
  • Sustainable Agriculture
  • Waste Management
  • Introduced Species Control
  • Health Care
  • Provide support in Day Care Centers, Elementary or High Schools
  • Teach English to the Community

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!

EcuaBuddies Programs: As an International student at USFQ, you have the option of becoming involved in the EcuaBuddies 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.


Funding Opportunities

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. Quiot 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. 

Travel Documents

A valid passport is required to participate in this program. You do NOT need a temporary resident visa to participate in the semester long program. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program. Some nationalities are required to have a visa to enter Ecuador, you can find more information in this link: Visa updates USFQ spring 2020


Application Availability

Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:
  • Spring program: July
  • Fall program: December

Program Dates

Fall 2019

08/09/2019 to 12/07/2019

Spring 2020

01/03/2020 to 05/01/2020


About the Program

La Universidad de San Francisco USFQ is considered the best University of Ecuador and # 57 in Latin America. 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.

Program Orientations

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 the Saturday before the end of Spring UAlbany classes 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.

Support Services

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.

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.