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Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS)
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Dates &
Click here to view
Restrictions: OU applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Program Type: University Exchange
Minimum GPA: 3.0 Study Abroad Adviser: Alex Spellis
 University Name:
University of San Francisco de Quito
 Language Category:
Language Category B
Program Description:

Brochure Header - Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences

Program Highlights

  • Location: The Universidad de San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is in Cumbaya, Ecuador, 8 miles from Quito. The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin located along the equator in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1000 km (600 miles) off the west coast of Ecuador.See the map below for more info!
  • Academics: Students will take classes in Spanish and/or English. See more below!
  • Cost: This is a University Exchange program. You will also pay Program fees directly to the Host Institution, as well as on-site costs (housing, meals, etc) to the University or local entities. See below for more information on cost!
  • HousingStudents stay with host families. More info below!
This program is ideal for students majoring or minoring in Spanish or Biology!


GAIAS offers full-semester programs in English to national and international students.  Students partaking in semester programs have the opportunity to choose between Marine Ecology; Evolution, Ecology and Conservation; and People Politics and the Environment.  It is possible for students to take courses from all three programs as long as there is no date//time conflict with other classes.  During the students´ first month in Ecuador, they will take classes at USFQ's main campus in Cumbayá and will visit the Tiputini Biodiversity Station (TBS) in the Amazon Basin and USFQ´s highland campus in Riobamba (Instituto Santiago de Quito (ISQ).  The remaining three months taking place on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos where students will visit various sites including a 4-day cruise throughout the archipelago.  Please visit the above link for detailed, updated information on all programs.

The majority of the courses at USFQ are worth 3 credits and the USFQ credits are a 1-1 match to OU's credits.  For more information about credit and course equivalencies for this program, please review the following:  University of San Francisco de Quito - Course Equivalency Information  as well as Credit Equivalency Policy for Spanish Section of MLLL

Academic Calendar

  • First semester: August to December
  • Second semester: January to May
  • Students may attend for one semester or one academic year. (Academic Calendar here)

Money Matters

This is a University Exchange program, meaning you pay OU tuition/fees. You will also pay Mainland & Galapagos trips, National Park fees directly to the Host Institution, as well as on-site costs (housing with a local family, meals, etc) to the University or local entities ( approximately $12,000 per semester ). See GAIAS Budget Estimate.

There are number of scholarships available for study abroad students. Below is a partial list to get you started!


In Quito students stay with carefully screened host families.  There are no dormitories on the Quito campus and students will be responsible for finding their own transportation to and from the university. Living with a family will expose the student to traditional family life and culture, as well as provide the necessary environment for speaking practice.  In the Galapagos students stay in hotels and with host families.

Program Requirements

  • 3.0 Combined Retained GPA
  • Passport (valid through six months after return from study abroad)
  • For students applying to the Evolution, Ecology & Conservation in Galapagos and Marine Ecology programs: Completion of at least one course in general biology and one course in ecology.
    For students applying to the People, Politics and the Environment in the Galapagos program: At least 2 Spanish language classes; An intermediate-level of Spanish is highly recommended, but not required.
  • 2 Recommendation Letters from any OU professors
  • Host University Application   
  • Visa

Get Started
Start by attending a Study Abroad 101 information session to learn the basics about study abroad as well as your next steps. Then, schedule an appointment with the study abroad adviser listed at the top of this page to move on to Phase 2!'

Past Student Experience
OU Education Abroad Pinterest Board: Advice for study Abroad

OU Education Abroad Pinterest Board: Latin America

View Galapagos in a larger map

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Academic Year 2014-2015 02/21/2014 
03/07/2014 TBA TBA
Fall 2014 02/21/2014 
03/07/2014 TBA TBA
Spring 2015 09/12/2014 09/26/2014 TBA TBA

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