UGalapagos Fall Courses

The University of Miami partners with  the University of San Francisco Quito, Galapagos Extension  by offering a Fall semester of courses (17 credits; 16 in BIL)  taught on Quito, the Amazon and Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.  The program offers a unique opportunity for hands-on field trips and research experiences coupled with strong conceptual background in Ecology and Evolution. Students take one course at a time, allowing them the opportunity to focus on one specific topic and get to know their professors well.  The courses are designed for students to design and execute experiments based on the theory from each course, in the Amazon, Andes, Cloud Forest and the Galapagos. 

Students live with families both in the mainland, and in Galapagos, to immerse in the culture and offer the opportunity of learning Spanish to interested students.

Direct program questions to Dr. Kathleen Sealey, Director of UGalapagosBio
Direct application questions to Nina Castro Assistant Director, Study Abroad Office

You will register in the courses at the host institution, USFQ (Universidad de San Francisco Quito) and with the University of Miami faculty teaching in UGalapagos

Tropical Ecology
3 credits
Equivalent to UM's BIL 335

This lecture and field course offers a rare chance to examine and understand three major tropical ecosystems. The course will analyze the fundamental theories that explain the structure and dynamics of plant and animal populations and communities in tropical ecosystems, both in ecological and evolutionary time. We will study the different types of terrestrial and aquatic tropical ecosystems, and we will examine the main methods to sample and describe populations and communities in theory and in practice. Moreover, we will analyze the diverse Ecuadorian ecosystems (e.g. tropical rain forest, páramo, dry forest), their fauna, flora, cultures, protected areas and the main environmental issues affecting them. Students spend a week in the Amazon at the Tipituni Research Station, and have field trips to the Andes and the cloud forest ecosystems.

Bil 385 W, Naturalist Writing  in the Galapagos
1 credit (WRI), Floria Uy, Ph.D.

Students travel on a long-week trip to different islands, which we call island-hopping. During this trip, students learn to keep a journal using Grinnel's system for naturalists, the standard method of museum expeditions . The purpose of this exercise is to write field experiences and observations of wildlife, description of different habitats and a species catalogue. Therefore, we will keep a naturalist journal, with a similar observation method from the one Charles Darwin used when he visited the Galapagos Islands.

Island Biogeography  
  3 credits, Juan Guayasamin, Ph.D
Equivalent to UM's BIL 226/227 or Bil 290 or Bil 390

Islands are among the most exciting scenarios for understanding the ecological, geographical, and evolutionary processes that shape biodiversity. Island biogeography theory explains species distributions in archipelagos, but it can also be applied to any system that behaves as an island —naturally or artificially isolated habitats/ecosystems. In this course, students will receive an introduction to the field of biogeography and then will learn about the particularities of island biogeography and how to apply this theory into the context of the Galapagos. 

BIL 575, Behavioral Ecology of the Galapagos
3 credits  (WRI),  William Searcy, Ph.D.

The course will cover the evolutionary analysis of animal behavior emphasizing Galapagos examples. Topics to be covered will include animal communication, sexual selection, mating systems, cooperation, and anti-predator behavior. Fieldwork, lecture, and discussion will be incorporated

BIL 432, Ecology and Evolution in the Galapagos
3 credits, Ken Feeley, Ph.D.

Evolutionary and ecological processes mediate the biological diversity and interactions we find in nature. In this module, students will learn the basic principles of island ecology and natural selection by understanding the dynamics of organisms in their environment.  The classroom sessions will consist of interactive lectures and discussions of theory. We will also design and perform hands-on field experiments to understand the underlying selection forces that shape the unique species of the Galapagos Islands.


16 BIL credits
Ecology core requirement
13 additional credits in upper level course and laboratory course requirements.
Three BIL lab/field course requirements and four WRI requirements:
  •       BIL Elective, Writing About Nature in the Galapagos
  •       BIL Elective, Herpetology of the Galapagos
  •       BIL Elective, Behavioral Ecology of the Galapagos
  •       BIL Elective, Ecology and Evolution in the Galapagos


Tuition costs are standard UM tuition and if you have financial aid, it applies. The program fee for the semester is comparable to UM room, board and semester living costs; it covers housing, 12 meals a week, hotels, flights between Quito and San Cristobal and costs of excursions that are required for classes.  The most recent budget sheet for costs is at

Need-bases scholarships are available to help defray costs.

For more information on Biology's UGalapagos program, courses and enrollment
Email the Director of the UGalapagos Program, Floria Uy

For more information on applications, visas, travel and isues dealing with study abroad
Phone (305)284-6471, Nina Castro, Associate Director, Study Abroad Office
Web: (htpp://