About the University
Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) - Galapagos Campus
USFQ was founded in 1988 with the mission to provide Ecuador with a private institution that meets superior educational standards. USFQ has a student population of around 8,500, including over 1,000 international students. USFQ’s main scientific stations include “GAIAS” in the Galapagos Islands and the “Tiputini Biodiversity Station” in the Amazon Rainforest.
Students attending the Galapagos campus spend the first module (3 weeks) in Quito and the remaining 4 modules (12 weeks) on San Cristobal Island. The Galapagos program features small class sizes, research opportunities, field trips and hands-on learning activities.
About the Galapagos Islands
The USFQ Galapagos Campus is located in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. It has a population of approximately 6,000 people, most of whom make their living principally from artisan crafts (small scale), fishing and tourism. In San Cristobal, water temperatures average 71-73 Fº and students are surrounded by some of the most unique wildlife species on the planet. On this island alone, you will have the opportunity to observe Chatham Mockingbirds, Blue Footed Boobies, Masked Boobies, Frigate birds, Pintail Ducks, Gallinules, Pelicans, Giant Tortoises, Sea Tortoises, Crabs, Sea Lions, and various other sea and land birds, including some species of the famous Darwin finches.
Ecuador is roughly the size of Nevada and features four main geographical regions: the Pacific coastline in the west, the highlands of the Andes through the center, the Amazon rain forest in the east, and the Galápagos Islands off the western coast. Ecuador utilizes American currency, so students can use US dollars throughout the country with no exchange required.
Students select courses from one of four Academic Tracks in the biological and social sciences: (1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation, (2) Marine Ecology; (3) People, Politics and the Environment and (4) Sustainable Tourism. Each academic track consists of five intensive 3-credit courses taught in 3-week modules. The first module takes place near Quito in the main USFQ campus at Cumbayá. The remaining four modules take place on San Cristobal Island, Galápagos. All courses are taught in English. Students also have the option to participate in a service learning project through a local NGO or community development agency.
Fall semester: August to December
Spring Semester: January to May
Students stay with carefully screened host families in Cumbayá (Quito) for the first module and with host families in San Cristobal Island for the remainder of the semester. During overnight excursions students stay in hostels or hotels.