Outside Magazine highlighted the Environmental Science and Policy Program and Southern Oregon University as number twenty in their "top forty universities to learn, live, work, and play."

Join SOU & EF Tours for our Costa Rican Summer 2018 Field Course

La Selva2Manuel Antonio

 Environment & Culture in Costa Rica
(ES 409, 6 credits)


Faculty:  Dr. Vincent Smith (smithv3@sou.edu, 541-552-6802) and Dr. Alissa Arp 

Emphasis:  Sustainable Development and Tropical Ecology

Who: Course and 11 day adventure open to SOU Students and Community Members (as non-admitted students) 

When:  Within 3 days of July 26 (Tour Company sets exact date in April)

Where: Places visited during the 11 day trip include San José, Arenal region, Los Chiles, Monteverde, Central Pacific Coast, Sarchí

Course Structure:  Enrolled students will attend 4 hours of on-campus orientation.  Orientation will cover both trip logistics as well as specific environmental coursework.  Students will also be asked to utilize provided online resources to prepare for the topics that will be covered in the course.  The course will then culminate with 11 days in Costa Rica.

Cost:  The combined cost of the trip is approximately $5,000 depending on room type and residency (standard room trip fee: $3,749), six credits of resident tuition ($990).  

Download This Detailed Itinerary

How to Enroll:

Step1:  Learn more about our itinerary and register by visiting efcst.com/1997307VU, (877) 485-4184 (April 15 Deadline)

Step 2: Enroll in the mandatory six credit course during summer term enrollment.  SOU students will register for a summer course as usual.  Community members may register for the course in spring term at https://inside.sou.edu/enrollment/nonadmit.html.  Course cost will be determined by residency status.  Residents of Oregon will pay $990.24 for the six credit course.  

Step 3:  All students registered for the EF Tour by April 15th will begin receiving course materials beginning in May.  Course materials will include updated logistcs, course syllabus, and course readings.  

Step 4:  In July of 2018, you will be invited to attend two 2-hour class sessions to prepare you for the tropical ecology and sustainable development materials we will be discussing on our trip.  You will also be given access to an online learning platform (Moodle) where additional readings and learning materials will be available.

Step 5:  We will travel together to San Jose, Costa Rica for an 11 day adventure.  Hotel accomodations will be rustic as we will largely be staying in rural areas.  Your trip fee will have paid for all of your expenses except tips and souvenier money.  Should you decide to stay in Costa Rica beyond our course or choose to join us in San Jose via an airport other than Medford, you will be able to arrange this with EF Tours.

Step 6:  Shortly after our trip to Costa Rica, we will meet again in Ashland for shared food, stories, and pictures.  We hope that what you will learn will change you forever.

See you Soon!

cosat rica flyer


More on the Environmental Science & Policy Program:


Geographic Setting of the Rogue Valley

Our field-oriented curriculum takes advantage of the unique environmental setting of our region and provides opportunities to work with local agencies. Southern Oregon, with its Klamath and Cascade Mountains and interior valleys, is an ideal location for studying and experiencing a variety of environmental issues, including water resources, endangered species, timber, natural hazards, and urban growth issues.

The Environmental Science and Policy Program encourages and gives academic credit for work experiences with governmental entities, local agencies and businesses that provide a wide variety of real-world applications of the concepts learned in the classroom. These experiences are carried in defined practicum and internship opportunities which include work in on- or off-campus settings. Opportunities include working with the USDA, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service (Crater Lake and others), local watershed councils, Jackson County, local city and county planning departments, state and federal agencies, and local environmental organizations.

Whether you are a student trying to find out more information or looking to engage a student intern, following the links below to find out how the Environmental Science and Policy program’s practicum and internship process works:

Student Information Page

Employer Information Page

Here is a list of previous practicum and internship experiences of ES students.

Project Type Cooperating Agency/Organization


Air quality

Jackson County Health Department
Jackson County and local cities
Jackson County and local cities
Jackson County GIS Services


Climate modeling
Land use planning
Mapping (GIS)


Coho inventory, recovery

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Rogue Valley Council of Governments
City of Medford
City of Ashland, WISE Project
Bureau of Land Management, Rogue River National Forest
Ashland Parks and Recreation

Poplar trees, water reclamation
Wetlands investigation
Noxious weed removal
North Mountain Park stewardship


Environmental education

Bear Creek Watershed Council Education Partners
Oregon Stewardship
Ashland Parks and Recreation
Rogue Valley Farm to School

Environmental education
North Mountain Park


Ground water data analysis

Jackson County, WISE Project
Jackson County and Oregon Geology and Mineral Industries
SOU, Jackson County
SOU, local schools, local cities
Ashland Parks and Recreation

Geology field mapping
Sediment analysis
Earthquake public awareness
Geology of North Mountain Park

Water Resources

Rural and urban surface water quality

Jackson County and local cities
Rogue Valley Council of Governments
Rogue River Watershed Council
Rogue Valley Sewer Services

Water quality data analysis
Watershed protection
Watershed analysis field work


Urban growth, agriculture

Rogue Valley Council of Governments
SOU, Jackson County
Rogue Valley Farm to School
Rogue Valley Food System Network

Urban growth issues support
GIS projects