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



2023-2024 applications

Winter 2024 only

First come first considered for remaining of spaces until August 21, 2023

University-specific additional requirements

No academic reference required - see the Eligibility section below.

2024-2025 applications

Open November 1, 2023

Student experience

Study Abroad at USFQ

Hibah Faheem

Info Session

Info Session from Oct. 1 2021

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$13,600
    2. Marine Ecology track: US$15,700
    3. People, Politics and the Environment track: US$13,600
    4. Sustainable Tourism track: US$13,600

    The track fee includes housing and most meals, on-site orientation with lunch, a Quito city tour, academic excursions in the mainland and Galápagos, and round-trip ticket Quito-Galápagos.

    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 several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, 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 3.0. 

The Galapagos Program is offered entirely in English.


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. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program 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

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The advisor for the program is: Veronica V. Cardoso

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 global learning 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 Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.