Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Programs

Is an OTS Program right for you?

Our programs offer you a comprehensive introduction to field biology, conservation policy and global health in a tremendous diversity of habitats. Instead of exploring nature and conservation issues via field trips and exercises, you will live in the forests, savannahs and communities that you are studying. In addition to the diversity of sites and ecosystems you visit, our courses expose you to a diversity of people, perspectives and approaches. Few experiences will give you better insight to the complexity, challenge, and excitement of doing science and applying the scientific process to the understanding of real ecosystems and their components.

Few experiences allow you to gain direct exposure to the pressing problems in resource management, conservation and human health confronting developing nations. In addition, our courses offer a variety of opportunities to gain language skills, engage in cultural exchange via travel or homestays, and/or explore the history of your host country as a socioeconomic context for understanding current-day issues in ecology, conservation and health.


Learn more about OTS from students on our Field Notes Blog

Administrative FAQs

What is the Organization for Tropical Studies ?

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.

What is the relationship between OTS and Duke University?

Duke University offers four programs in collaboration with OTS. Duke awards credit for the successful completion of these programs, and OTS reviews student applications for admission, prepares students for travel, and operates the programs in country. In cooperation with Duke, OTS has been able to apply its long history of excellence in graduate education to create truly exciting and rigorous programs for undergraduate students interested in biology, global health, and field ecology and conservation.

Can you tell me more about the courses and academic credit?

For the OTS/Duke University semester programs in Costa Rica and South Africa, students enroll in four courses. For the summer program in Costa Rica and South Africa, students enroll in one course. Academic credit is provided by Duke University.

For the OTS/University of Hawaii at Hilo summer program, students enroll in two courses. Academic credit is provided by University of Hawaii at Hilo

What about the REU and NAPIRE programs?

These are summer internship programs designed to provide qualified students with an intensive research experience.

How will I know which program is right for me?

Depending on their time and interests, each year a few of our students participate in more than one OTS undergraduate program.