courses header 1

Programs
and Field
Courses

Spending a semester
abroad in the field

courses header 2

Programs
and Field
Courses

Spending a semester
abroad in the field

courses header 3

Programs
and Field
Courses

Spending a semester
abroad in the field

Background

If you are contemplating a career in tropical research — or just want to enrich your undergrad learning experience — there’s no better way to do this than by diving into a field course in Panama with the Smithsonian. Field courses take student to forest canopies, coral reefs and every habitat in between for a unique, once-in-a-lifetime formal education opportunity. To join a field course, find out if one is offered by STRI or your university—or encourage your professor to contact STRI to organize a course.  

Organize a field course

STRI’s Office of Academic Programs hosts more than a dozen field course from top universities around the world. If you are a university professor and would like to propose a field course for your students, please fill out this form that outlines the proposed course’s subject matter, number of participants, and required facilities and resources. Please contact us directly if you have any questions or need additional guidance.

Field Courses

Gigante Field Course

Gigante field course (STRI)

STRI’s longest-running field course has launched the careers of numerous accomplished biologists from Panama.  This two-week course is named for the Gigante Peninusla, which is part of the Barro Colorado Nature Monument in the Panama Canal. The course takes students into the field and includes mentorship by STRI scientists who provide detailed overviews of our terrestrial and marine research programs.

The STRI-McGill field semester

McGill Panama Field Study Semester: A step towards graduate studies

The STRI-McGill field semester is a student-exchange program for undergraduate university students in Panama to gain academic experience in tropical biology and to improve their English skills.

Threeseas Field Course

Three Seas Field Course (Northeastern University)

This semester-long course is hosted mainly at the Bocas Del Toro Research Station on Panama’s Caribbean coast. Held twice a year — once for undergrads and once for graduate students — the course is one component of Northeastern University’s Three Seas Program, which includes immersion in the diverse marine environments of the U.S. Northeast, the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean. 

Princeton University

Princeton University field course

This 12-week course for Princeton undergrads is designed to introduce students to some of the most amazing ecosystems on Earth, and explore their natural history, ecology and conservation. Based at STRI’s Schoolhouse in Gamboa, Panama, the course takes students to hot and humid lowland tropical forests, chilly and misty montane forests and Panama’s Caribbean and Pacific research stations

Universities Field Courses

Other Universities field courses

  • Marquette University
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University Wisconsin - Green Bay
  • Harvard University
  • Arizona State University
  • Yale University
  • East Carolina University
  • University of California, Riverside
  • Butler University

Programs

Neo Program

Neo Program (University of McGill)

One of STRI’s longest-running academic partnerships is with Canada’s McGill University, which launched the Neotropical Environment Option for Master’s and Ph.D. students in 2001. The NEO program is a research-based graduate program aimed at students interested in environmental issues relevant to the New World tropics. The program includes core courses in both Panama and Montreal, with a research component in Panama or elsewhere in Latin America. With the support of the Canadian Government, McGill University (and partners including STRI) was granted a six-year award through 2020 to train graduate students in a multidisciplinary program in Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Sustainability (BESS), which, for the duration of the grant, will be in parallel to the NEO program.

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