Study Abroad in the Galapagos Islands

Program Information

Based on San Cristóbal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago, this program gives students the chance to study in a region renowned for its extraordinary number of endemic species and designated by UNESCO as both a World Heritage site and a Biosphere Reserve.

San Cristóbal is the fifth biggest and easternmost island in the archipelago, encompassing 215 square miles.

Pacific students will have an orientation program, and complete their first class in Quito during the initial 3-week segment of the program, during which they will be introduced to the diversity of landscapes on the Ecuador mainland. Several trips are scheduled for this time period, including travel to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon jungle, the Institute Santiago de Quito Riobamba in the Ecuadorian highlands, Mitad del Mundo, Cotopaxi, Otavalo, and a tour of Quito. The balance of the program will be at the Galapagos Academic Institute for Arts and Sciences on San Cristóbal.

Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Science

The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) is an academic and research facility established by the University of San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) on the island of San Cristóbal in 2002.

GAIAS is located directly on the bay at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The building consists of classrooms, a library, computer lab with wireless access, offices and a kitchen. In addition to serving as the main facilities for the international students, GAIAS is also used as a community college and cultural center for Galapagos residents. Immediately adjacent to GAIAS is the Galapagos National Park Visitors Center, a striking facility built with assistance from the government of Spain that presents a history of the Galapagos.


GAIAS currently offers three semester-long programs for international students, each of which is taught in English. The programs are 1) Evolution, Ecology and Conservation in the Galapagos, 2) Marine Ecology and 3) People, Politics and the Environment in the Galapagos. Enrollment in each program is limited to 25 students. The curriculum is focused on the ecology of the Galapagos.

Courses typically combine lectures with extensive time spent outdoors, visiting sites relevant to the material and experiencing the Galapagos firsthand. Students are expected to be well prepared for lectures, with discussion of the assigned readings common. Assessment is usually based on a midterm, a final, papers, and homework assignments.

Housing and Meals

All students from abroad are housed in home stays during their stay (breakfast and dinner are included in the program).


Minimum GPA : 2.8

Language : Must have completed level 102* of college Spanish.

Courses : Completion of one general biology course and one general ecology course.

Must have attended Pacific University full-time for at least one semester.

Important Dates

  • Advising Appointment : During Fall Semester
  • Application Deadline : February 10

Program Dates :

  • Fall: 3rd week of August until 3rd week of December
  • Spring: early January to 3rd week of May

More Information

GAIAS Website