Expand your horizons
Expand your horizons
The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a nonprofit consortium of over 50 universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa, and Australia. Founded in 1963, OTS has a mission to provide leadership in education, research and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. To this end, graduate and undergraduate field courses are offered in the pure and applied areas of the natural sciences in Costa Rica, Mexico, and South Africa. In addition, OTS operates four research stations in varied tropical ecosystems. Three of them in Costa Rica: La Selva in the Caribbean lowland rain forest, Palo Verde in the Pacific lowland dry forest, and Las Cruces in a mid-elevation rain forest on Costa Rica's southern Pacific slope. One in South Africa: Skukuza . OTS also coordinates and facilitates research, provides environmental education programs, and works with local agencies on issues of conservation, natural resource management and land use practices.
Programs are collaboratively offered by Duke University and OTS.
The Duke role in the Program is to enroll students, collect tuition and fees, and award credit for successful completion of the Program. The OTS role in the Program is to operate the Program, in its entirety, including preparing the students for travel to Costa Rica or South Africa and on the ground in Costa Rica or South Africa.
All undergraduate OTS programs offer course credit from Duke University. Through close cooperation with Duke, OTS applies its long history of excellence in graduate education to create an exciting and rigorous program for undergraduates interested in tropical field ecology and conservation. Students who attend OTS undergraduate programs enroll at Duke University, with the exception of NSF-funded REU and NAPIRE programs.
For the semester programs in Costa Rica and South Africa, students enroll in a total of 4 courses. For the summer programs in Costa Rica and South Africa, students enroll in one course. Course credit is provided by Duke University. Upon completion of their course(s), OTS students receive a Duke transcript. REU and NAPIRE programs do not receive credits.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or “REU”, and the Native American Pacific Islander Research Experience, or “NAPIRE” programs are a summer internship program designed to provide qualified students with an intensive research experience. Each student works with one mentor to develop an 8-9 week project that addresses the research interests of the student and mentor alike. REU and NAPIRE mentors are experienced field ecologists that will help you conduct research projects at La Selva or at Las Cruces Research Stations. This is an excellent opportunity to become part of one of the foremost tropical research communities in the world. Accepted students have all travel expenses covered and also receive a generous stipend.
First of all, don’t limit your imagination to just one OTS program. Depending on their time and interests, each year a few of our students participate in more than one OTS undergraduate program.