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Universidad San Francisco de Quito Galapagos Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS)

In 2002, USFQ established The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS), a world-class academic and research institution offering hands-on academic programs for international and Ecuadorian students alike. GAIAS has become one of most important educational and research entities in the Galapagos, developing relationships with universities from around the world as well as with national and international govermental and non-governmental organizations working for the conservation and sustainable development of the Galapagos.

The Galapagos Islands is an archipelago located along the equator in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 600 miles off the west coast of Ecuador and has a population of around 30,000 people. The Islands´ fame is attributed to its vast number and variety of endemic species, as well as to Charles Darwin´s visit to the Islands during the Voyage of the Beagle in 1835. It was this visit to the Galapagos Islands that inspired his theory of evolution by natural selection. Ninety-seven percent of the land surface of the Galapagos Islands has been designated a National Park, and the Galapagos Marine Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site in 2001, has been described as the most attractive diver destination in the world.

Full-semester programs are offered in English to students in the biological and social sciences. Five intensive 3-credit courses are taught in three-week modules. Students will first study at the USFQ's main campus in Quito and then spend the remainder of the semester at the GAIAS campus on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos. While on mainland Ecuador, students will visit the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Basin and highland campus in Riobamba. In the Galapagos, students will visit various sites and take a 4-day cruise throughout the archipelago including the Charles Darwin Station.

CCU is a designated exchange partner of GAIAS, which means students may be eligible to attend as an exchange student and pay CCU tuition rates.  Exchange programs are run on a reciprocal basis and CCU is allowed a specific number of exchange slots that varies by year.

Universidad San Francisco de Quito - GAIAS: Quick Facts
Location: San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Student Population: 250 students
Who can Apply: All undergraduate Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Academic Requirements: Minimum 3.0 GPA required for admission
Language Requirements: None
Courses Taught in English:

Students attending GAIAS have the opportunity to choose classes in the following areas of study: Marine Ecology; Evolution, Ecology and Conservation; People, Politics and the Environment; Mountain and Galapagos Studies.  These courses are offered in English. Course descriptions can be found below. 

Tuition:  For more information, please contact Lori Patterson at lori@coastal.edu

While at GAIAS, students stay in hotels or with host families.  While on the mainland, students stay with host families in Quito and in comfortable cabins in Tiputini. 

Projected Budget: See USFQ-GAIAS Budget
Additional Information: Visit University’s website





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Contact Us

Ms. Lori Patterson, M.P.S.
Study Abroad Advisor
Singleton Building 119

Additional Links

Application Deadline 

Applications for Fall 2014 study abroad should be submitted to OIPS before March 14, 2014. To learn more about the application process, click here.