Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Galapagos Semester Program

Program Details

Program Location Quito and San Cristobal Island, Ecuador
Sponsor Purdue
Program Type Exchange
Duration Semester
Upcoming Program Dates
To Be Announced
Current Program Dates
Spring 2024 01/06/24 to 05/04/24
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice


Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Galapagos Semester Program

Imagine yourself exploring the Galápagos islands as part of your classes. Swimming with sea lions, snorkeling, and getting to know the local culture are just a few of the amazing experiences USFQ Galapagos Semester (GAIAS) students get to have each semester.

Located on the island of San Cristobal, the USFQ Galápagos campus offers international students the opportunity to study in one of the most pristine natural laboratories in the world.

This program begins with six weeks in Quito, Ecuador, followed by nine weeks in the Galápagos. 

General Program Dates:

  • Fall:August to December 
  • Spring:January to May


For more program information, please visit the program website.


Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Galapagos Semester Program

The program is open to Purdue students in good standing who have completed at least two semesters of university study by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity, and a desire to experience another culture. In addition:

  • Students must have completed at least one general biology or one ecology course at the college level.
  • Marine track students will be required to obtain open water certification and DAN diving insurance for USFQ-sponsored academic dives. Students without open water certification or diving insurance will only be permitted to snorkel during excursions.
  • Students must have the yellow fever vaccine.


GPA Requirement: 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: none

Purdue Credit

Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Engineering] [College of Liberal Arts] [College of Science]
Specifically from: BIOL (SCI)

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.

Academic Program

Students will pick an academic track and must take the courses within that track.

Each academic track consists of 5 intensive 3 US credit courses taught in 3-week modules. The first and second modules take place at USFQ’s main campus in Cumbayá valley, located just outside of Quito. The remaining three modules take place on San Cristobal Island, Galápagos. Classes are taught in English.

Tracks may include:

  • Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation
  • Marine Ecology *
  • People, Politics, and the Environment

Please note courses are subject to change.

Students in all tracks are required to take a Spanish conversation class at either the basic, intermediate, or advanced level at the beginning of the program (1 credit). Volunteer placements (non-credit) in San Cristobal are also available to interested students.

For more course information, click here and look for course options tab.
Engineering majors -please note while this program has approval for engineering, many of the courses offered on the Galapagos program are not engineering-related. While you may be able to find an elective or two, if you are searching for engineering classes in Ecuador, consider USFQ's main campus in Quito. Click here for more information. 
*This track carries an additional fee, see costs below


Depending on your program track, you will visit the Ecuadorian highlands, the coast, or the cloud forest during the first module. All students also visit USFQ’s Tiputini Biodiversity Station for 5 days in the Amazon basin in the mainland modules.

In the Galápagos Islands, students will experience hands-on classes where they will visit some of the most amazing places within the islands as part of their coursework.

Depending on the location, hikes can be:

  • Moderate (most of the hikes of the Galápagos Semester Program)
    A moderate hike is generally suitable for novice hikers who want a bit of a challenge. The terrain will involve a moderate incline and may have some steeper sections. Generally, 3 to 5 miles.
  • Moderately Strenuous: Moderately Strenuous hikes will generally be challenging for an unconditioned person. The terrain will involve a steady and often steep incline. Generally, 5 to 8 miles. These hikes will be expected in the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, where students will be hiking every day during their stay.
  • Strenuous: Strenuous hikes will challenge most hikers. The hike will generally be longer and steeper but may be deemed "Strenuous" because of the elevation gain. Generally, 5 to 8 miles on a 10 feet elevation above sea level. This can be expected only in the Tropical Ecology class and Wildlife Conservation Biology class.


Students stay with carefully screened host families in both Cumbayá (Quito) and in San Cristobal Island (Galápagos). Otherwise, for overnight excursions, students will stay at hotels or at UFSQ’s Tiputini Biodiversity Station.

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

Students will pay their normal Purdue tuition, in addition to a comprehensive program fee.

The comprehensive program track fee includes on-site orientation and Quito city tour, academic excursions, housing in a homestay with two meals a day, Ecuadorian sim card with a plan and round-trip airfare between Quito-Galápagos. 

Please note students choosing the Marine Biology Track will incur an additional $2,000 fee. 

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Fall 2023

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue
You will pay Purdue Tuition Check Tuition
Program Fee $13,000.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month) $32.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare $1,200.00
Books and Supplies $200.00
Meals $1,000.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 - $1,500.00
Travel Documents (passport, photos) $175.00

Financial Aid

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents (typically an essay, transcripts, 1-2 recommendations, and copy of passport) before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline. To ensure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
Fall Semester Mar 1
Spring Semester Sep 1

Returnees Information

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Galapagos Semester Program

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.

For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email studyabroad@purdue.edu.