Galapagos Program (USFQ)

Follow the steps of Charles Darwin and discover the vast number of endemic species on the Galapagos Islands.

USFQ's Galapagos Campus is located on the island of San Cristóbal and offers students the opportunity to study in one of the most pristine natural laboratories in the world. The Galapagos Extension program offers students a unique opportunity to study evolution, ecology and conservation, marine ecology as well as sociopolitical and environmental issues hands-on. 

Key information


Galapagos and Quito

San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador




Fall, Winter

Program type


Application information

Application status



2021-2022 applications

Winter 2022  
First come first considered for remaining spaces until September 25, 2021

University-specific additional requirements

One academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below. 

2022-2023 applications

Open November 1, 2021

Info Session

Info Session from Oct. 1 2021

Student experience

Study Abroad at USFQ

Program details

Students select courses from one of three (or four) Academic Tracks in the biological and social sciences:

(1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation
(2) Marine Ecology
(3) People, Politics and the Environment

(4) Sustainable Tourism

Each academic track consists of four or five intensive 3-credit courses taught in 3-week modules (worth 12 or 15 credits in total). For details about modules, click here
The first module takes place near Quito in the main USFQ campus at Cumbayá. The middle three modules take place on San Cristobal Island, Galápagos.The final module returns to the mainland and also includes another excursion.

Students can take up to two courses from different tracks, assuming they meet any necessary prerequisites and spaces are available (see Academic Tracks). Students in all tracks also take a required Spanish conversation class (1 credit). Volunteer placements (non-credit) in San Cristobal are also available to interested students.

The first semester runs from mid-August to mid-December and the second semester runs from early January to May. 

The Galapagos Program runs one 3 week module at a time for a total of 5 over the semester. The first module will take place on the main campus in Quito, the middle 3 modules will be in the Galapagos, and the last module will be back on the mainland and will include another excursion to the Tiputini Biodiversity station in the Amazon. 

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider.

    1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation track: US$12,450
    2) Marine Ecology track: US$14,400
    3) People, Politics and the Environment track: US$12,450

    4) Sustainable Tourism track: US$12,450

    These fees include housing, most meals, orientation, the flight from Quito to San Cristobal and all of the field trips and excursions that are part of the program. 

    Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations etc in your budget planning.

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

Students stay with carefully screened host families in Cumbayá (Quito) for the first and last modules and with host families in San Cristobal Island for the remainder of the semester. During overnight excursions students stay in hostels or hotels. For details click here and go to the accommodation tab. 

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8. 

The Galapagos Program is offered entirely in English. 

An academic reference is required for a complete application.


For FAQs please click here

Please note that a yellow fever vaccination is required. 

Since this program is mostly located in less developed areas, students must have a flexible and adventurous attitude and understand that services (internet, phone, student services) will not be to the same standard as they have at home. 

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The advisor for the program is: Tara Jorgensen.

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.