Organization for Tropical Studies

The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is a consortium of over 60 institutions that provides diverse international opportunities for students and faculty to study, work, and conduct research in tropical countries.

Since its founding in 1963, OTS has become recognized the world over for excellence in research and education at the undergraduate and graduate level in a wide range of topics including ecology, botany, entomology, international medicine, and public health, with an emphasis on emerging issues of tropical regions.

Each year, OTS trains more than 400 undergraduates, graduates, and professionals in rigorous, hands-on, inquiry-based field courses. OTS holds courses and facilitates research through its three state-of-the-art research stations in Costa Rica and also conducts courses in Peru, Brazil, Guyana, and South Africa.

“I took the Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach course in summer 2013. The course focused on hypothesis-testing approach in field-based tropical biology. It was a great experience carrying out small projects in different neotropical ecosystems across Costa Rica. And, it is amazing to become a part of the rich network of researchers associated with OTS.”

-Shivani Jadeja, SBS Graduate Student

Course Credits

Credits earned through Duke University's OTS summer program are transferable to UNL by departmental validation. Please see "earning credit" page on UNL Education Abroad site for more information.


This program is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing who have completed at least two semesters of college-level biology. It is recommended that students also possess a basic understanding of the Spanish language for the Global Health Program in Costa Rica.

Program Highlights

  • Get out into the field and gain first-hand experience studying Tropical Biology in Costa Rica
  • Immerse yourself in Costa Rica's stunning diversity of ecosystems, including mangrove swamps, rain forests, and cloud forests
  • Study, research, and live at world-renowned research stations in Costa Rica's national parks and private reserves

Apply at Education Abroad