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  • Locations: Galapagos, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Global Seminar Sprg
  • Restrictions: SPU applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Sponsor: SPU Faculty-led Areas of Study: Biology
Program Type: Field Study, Study Abroad Housing Type: Cabin on Ship, Hostel/Hotel
Minimum GPA: 2.8 Number of Credits: 5
Program Description:

Galapagos header edit

Tropical Biology in the Galapagos Islands 
Spring Global Seminar
The next Galapagos seminar will take place in June 2019

Program Overview

In the Galapagos Islands Tropical Biology Global Seminar, students will study the natural history of the Galapagos Islands through readings, discussions, as well as field instruction and observations related to the geology, oceanography, and biology of this unique location. Offered alternately with the Tropical Biology Global Seminar in Belize, this is an intensive program in which students learn to identify common species, and study their ecology and behavior. In addition, students learn about the history of the islands and their inhabitants.

"The sound of the bell rang through the boat as Daphne Major, one of the Galápagos Islands, came into view. We peered over the top of our books recognizing how the sketch of this rocky island was nothing compared to the beauty that was before us. It was here that Charles Darwin studied his finches, and four different currents meet to create the most diverse ecosystem on our planet. We were experiencing the heart of science in the Galápagos Islands.

After spending nine days living in the Galápagos Islands on our tour boat, we were less seasick, more tan, and full of insight about the natural history of this place. As 13 biology majors, we came to spend winter break off the coast of Ecuador to study the diversity of life on the islands." 

Read the rest of the article about the Galapagos program in etc Magazine.

Browse the Photo GalleryCheck-out more photos from past Galapagos programs

Galápagos 2017 by Alia Zieg on YouTube


Students will earn 5-credits upon successful completion of this Global Seminar. The credits earned on this program will be applied to the spring quarter transcript and are part of regular spring quarter tuition.

BIO 3303 (Evolutionary Ecology of Galapagos Islands) (5 credits)
Prerequisite: Usually BIO 2102 and 2103, although consultation with the instructor is encouraged. Provides selected field study topics offered at Biology Department's discretion. Course topics can change to focus on current topics. May be repeated up to 6 credits. Please note that this course is typically limited to students who are majoring in the biological sciences. 

This course surveys the natural history and evolutionary ecology of the Galapagos Islands and is comprised of two components: an on-campus component and the experience abroad component. The class will meet 5 times during the academic quarter preceding the trip to discuss readings from textbooks and to discuss journal articles focusing on species or ecosystems that will be encountered during the trip. The purpose of doing these readings is to (1) initiate discussion and awareness of the many biological components of the Galápagos that will likely be encountered and (2) provide additional practice working through the primary literature.

In addition to the on-campus component of the class conducted prior to the trip, the class will conclude with a final examination administered while abroad. This exam will cover key concepts from the readings on campus, from observations in the field, and from on-site lectures.

This trip to the Galápagos is a fantastic opportunity to observe and study organisms in their natural environment. Through hiking, snorkeling, and touring the Galápagos, students will explore, first-hand, the biology of this historically important and wonderfully diverse tropical ecosystem. Student responsibilities during the travel portion of the class include participating in the activities, being attentive during any lecture components, and keeping a daily journal of experience.


2019 Program Dates
Tentative program dates: June 2019

Tentative Itinerary:
Week 1: Quito, Puerto Ayora
Week 2: Galapagos Islands: Garrapatero, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Espanola, South Plazas, Santa Fe, North Seymour, Las Bachas, Genovesa, Bartolome, Sullivan Bay (Santiago)

**Please note that this program runs every other year

Housing and meals

Students will be staying in a hotel or guest house in Quito, Ecuador for a few nights at the beginning and completion of the program. Breakfast and some meals will be included. For approximately 8 days, the group (maximum 14 students) will be traveling and exploring the Galapagos Islands on a fully-equipped chartered boat, living in twin-bedded cabins. The boat is fully staffed and a professional guide will be accompanying the group. All meals will be included during this portion of the program.   




2017 Program Costs:
Estimated Program Fee:  Credits:
$5,800 + $300 Confirmation Payment (Administrative fee)  5
Included in Program Fee:
  • Round trip Airfare from Seattle to Ecuador and from Ecuador to the Galapagos
  • All ground transportation
  • Shared rooms in Quito, Ecuador and on private yacht while in the Galapagos Islands
  • Most meals
  • Guided tours and snorkeling equipment
  • Entrance fees to required field trips
  • Excursions and activities
  • Medical Insurance for duration of program

Estimated expenses not included in program fee:
  • Some meals - approximately $75
  • Personal expenses (souvenirs, snacks) - varies
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance (optional, but recommended) -cost varies
*Costs are estimated and may be adjusted in response to unanticipated price changes or foreign currency fluctuations.

Tuition for this program (5 credits) will be charged as part of your normal SPRING quarter credit load.

Students on the Galapagos islands Tropical Biology study abroad program may be eligible for financial aid, including SPU scholarships and grants, state, and federal aid. Check with Student Financial Services to determine your exact eligibility before applying.

Booking Flights

Participants on this program will be traveling on a group flight from Seattle to Quito, Ecuador. If you wish to return to a city other than Seattle, it may be possible to arrange a different flight home. Individual return flights are dependent on availability and cannot be guaranteed. If we are able to change your flight, a $50 change fee and any additional airfare cost will be applied to your student account. It is important to note that once we purchase your flight, the fares are non-refundable and you will be responsible for costs incurred on your behalf according to the terms of the Study Away Financial Contract.

Once accepted to the program, you will be asked to complete a flight information form and we will begin to book flights. You MUST have a valid passport for flight bookings, so if you do not already have a passport, please apply now!



ERic Long

Eric Long
Professor of Biology
Phone: 206-378-5059
Office: Eaton 204​

Education: BS, Wheaton College, 1998; MS, University of North Dakota, 2001; PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2005. At SPU since 2006.Eric Long came to SPU from Pennsylvania, where he was born, raised, and went to graduate school, studying wildlife ecology at Penn State University. Since an early age, he has been fascinated with wildlife and sought to combine a love of nature with a passion for education.

At SPU, Dr. Long teaches upper-division courses in ecology, conservation biology, forest ecology, tropical ecology, biostatistics, and vertebrate biology, as well as sections of the introductory biology sequence. His current research focuses on population ecology of black-tailed deer on Blakely Island, Washington, where SPU maintains a field station. He was elected by the SPU student body as Professor of the Year in 2009.

If Dr. Long is not in the lecture hall, there is a good chance he is in his favorite classroom of all: the outdoors. Numerous courses of his are taught at SPU’s field station or abroad, including Winter Break courses in Belize and the Galapagos Islands. Dr. Long is a wildlife ecologist who studies the behavior, ecology, and conservation of vertebrates. He says, “The tropical biology trip to the Galapagos is a fantastic opportunity for students to observe and study organisms in their natural environment. Through hiking, snorkeling, and touring the Galapagos, students have a chance to explore, first-hand, the biology of this historically important and wonderfully diverse tropical ecosystem.”

Ferrer Ryan

Ryan Ferrer
Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: 206-281-2513
Office: Eaton 106

Research areas: Chemical Ecology
Courses taught: General Biology, Bioscience

Education: BS, Pepperdine University, 2000; PhD, UCLA, 2007. At SPU since 2007.Research in Ryan Ferrer’s lab examines the roles that chemical defense and chemical communication (smell and taste) play in shaping animal behavior and ecological interactions.

His students have pursued research questions in freshwater streams and ponds, the rocky shores of Puget Sound, and understory habitat of local forests, and have included a wide array of organisms, including algae, fungi, arthropods, mollusks, echinoderms, and vertebrates.
For more information, contact the Study Abroad Office




This program is currently not accepting applications.