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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description
Please note: this program has been cancelled for Summer 2020.


Panama Wildlife

Panama Group

Quick Facts

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information. Note: Non-ASU students should consult these instructions before applying.


 Cloud Forest Hike

Location Details

This course will be located primarily at a Biological Field Station operated by the globally renowned Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in the town of Gamboa, and approximately 45 car minutes northwest of Panama City. Gamboa is adjacent to the Soberanía National Park, an immense, easily accessible, well preserved, highly diverse, and beautiful tropical lowland rainforest in which most of the learning and all of the student course projects will be carried out. The location is an ideal balance between a secure, amenable setting and direct access to prime rainforest locations including the famous Barro Colorado Island Research Station in Lake Gatún. Field experiences will be abundant, daily, and extensive. They are a central and expansive aspect of this course. Day trips to Panama City, Barro Colorado Island, the Panama Canal, an indigenous village, and other surrounding areas and habitats will round out experiences of Panamanian nature and culture.

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Payment and Withdrawal Policies

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • 2.5 GPA
  • Students must have completed with a C or better an introductory biology course series, either BIO 181-182 or BIO 281-282 or equivalent
  • **This program requires a notarized copy of your passport. Please be aware that you will need a current passport upon confirming and will need to bring your passport into the ASU Study Abroad Office in order to receive a notary stamp.  If you are an on-line student, we will be in contact with you in order to complete this process via post.  If you are currently on the waiting list for this program and do not have a passport, please note that you may need to apply for one upon acceptance via express application and express delivery.  Please contact the International Coordinator for this program should you have any questions.


This four credit academic program  consists of daily on-site lectures by faculty and local experts (including ASU and STRI scientists) as well as topic-oriented excursions to experience and develop an understanding of the local habitat, flora, fauna, and culture. Students will take a scientific curiosity, develop it into a testable hypothesis, and then design and conduct an experiment to explore the hypothesis. View the course syllabus here

Students will analyze data and present their research orally and in the form of written report. This experience will likely be the only one during their undergraduate tenure where they take their own idea and work it all the way through to an end product. 

  • BIO 494 Tropical Biology Research (4 credits)


Faculty Director

Juergen Liebig
Associate Professor
School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University

Pierre Deviche 
School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University



Netted Spider


Program Housing

The main location for the Tropical Biology course is Gamboa, Panama, where STRI operates the Gamboa Field Station. The facility is a secure, relatively small field station with hostel-style  accommodations, three prepared meals per day, air conditioning, and WiFi access. Furthermore, the facility provides a lecture room and field laboratory space to plan and support research projects. The adjacent 22,000-hectare Soberania National Park is a protected area containing a wide variety of forest and freshwater habitats. One night will be spent exploring the flora and fauna of Barro Colorado Island, reachable by using a STRI-operated ferry in the Lake Gatún segment of the Panama Canal.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus. The Experimental Tropical Biology in Panama Program will require a great deal of walking on uneven and wet surfaces.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Panama, the law only mandates access to new or remodeled public buildings for persons with disabilities, which is being enforced for new construction. While some public buses and buildings do accommodate wheelchairs, many do not.

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in Panama, discrimination can and does occur and students may find local police to lack meaningful response to incidents.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. For example, in Panama, some women travelers may experience harassment in the form of cat calling and other forms of objectification by local men. Students are encouraged to travel in groups and in mixed company whenever possible.

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Summer 2020 is $4,595.

Program Fee includes: ASU tuition for 4 credits, housing, transportation, 3 meals per day, entrance fees for all group activities while in Panama, ASU faculty support, and international health insurance.  Not included: Airfare to and from Panama, passport, ASU student fees, books and materials, and personal expenses.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program cost sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

This program does not allow for much time that can be spent in non-program activities. However, prior to or after the program, participants can opt to travel, sight-see or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food, and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program


Dates & Deadlines

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.