University of Technology Sydney

MAJ09430 Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a fascinating Central American country renowned for its biological diversity and ecotourism, with pristine beaches, volcanoes, jungles and cool mountain valleys. It lies between Nicaragua and Panama towards the end of the Central American isthmus before the start of the South American continent at Colombia and is bounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean and the other by the Caribbean Sea. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José. Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies and in 2012 was ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, for environmental sustainability. In 2012, it became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting. In 2009, the New Economics Foundation ranked Costa Rica as the ‘greenest’ country in the world. By 2021 it plans to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and other protected areas, equivalent to the largest percentage of protected areas of any particular country in the world. The climate is tropical all year round, though the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region. The 'summer' or dry season goes from December to April, and 'winter' or rainy season goes from May to November, during which time, it rains constantly in some regions. Costa Rica is the most economically stable and peaceful country in Central America and its national constitution does not allow for a national army.


San José

The University of Costa Rica (in Spanish, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)) is a public, secular university in the Republic of Costa Rica, in Central America. It was established in 1843 under the name Universidad de Santo Tomás. In 1940, it was restructured and re-named the Universidad de Costa Rica. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, is located in San Pedro Montes de Oca, in the province of San José. It is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious institution of higher learning in Costa Rica. It is also the most important research university in the country, and Central America in general, and is one of the top universities in Latin America. Across its six campuses, the University of Costa Rica has a student population of approximately 45,000. The University of Costa Rica is ranked number 23 in Latin American university rankings by QS. The school calendar runs from late February to December. The university has seven campuses (six regional). The UCR is divided into six major academic areas: Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Letters, Basic Sciences, Engineering (all branches), Health (including nursing, health technologies, pharmacy and nutrition) and Social Sciences. The University also manages 26 research institutes, including the Center for Research on Sustainable Development (CIEDES), Institute of Investigations in Engineering (INII), Research Center on Mathematics and Metha-mathematics (CIMM), Research Center on Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA), and Center on Space Research (CINESPA).

Semester dates

  • Semester 1: first week of March to last week of June
  • Semester 2: first week of August to last week of November

Completion requirements

CBK90484  Spanish Language and Culture  32cp
977914  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 1: Costa Rica  24cp
977915  In-country Study and Fieldwork Project 2: Costa Rica  24cp
Total  96cp