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Education Abroad, U.Va.

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Programs : Brochure
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January Term: UVA in Belize
Belize City, Belize (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: January
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets January
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty led, Field Study/ Experiential
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Martha Sadler
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Biology, Environmental Sciences
Program Description:
JTerm Belize Lead

UVA in Belize


This January Term program introduces students to some of the varied organisms and ecosystems of Belize, including fresh water, marine and terrestrial examples. Special emphasis will be placed on the interactions of the components and on the conservation of the specific ecosystems. Study and field work will focus on 5 major sites in Belize; 3 chosen for their ecological uniqueness and 2 because of their cultural value as well as their ecological characteristics and conservation potential. We will integrate basic knowledge, underlying principles, major concepts, implications and applications at each site.

This will be an intensive two week program. Field trips, lab work, discussions with local biologists/ecologists and conservation workers, and group independent projects will accompany the lectures and reading for each site. During the course students will be asked to make comparisons between various parameters they studied and measured at each site. Students will submit a final assignment in which they will draw conclusions as to the status of each ecosystem and suggest ways that conservation practices might improve or maintain their health and productivity.

Students will also have the opportunity to gain insights into the Mayan and Belizean history and culture through visits to Mayan ruins and interactions with resident experts. Whenever possible talks by indigenous people will be woven into discussions about the natural history, ecology, local medical practices, and conservation of the area.

Location IconLocation

The program will travel throughout Belize for 14 days. Itinerary details are available in the program handbook. During the travels there will be visits to the Mayan ruins in Belize.

Mayan Ruins JTerm Belize Howling Monkey

Courses IconCourses

Participants will earn three UVA credits upon successful completion of the January Term UVA in Belize program. Students may elect to receive Biology or Environmental Sciences credit for the program as a part of the application process. The course will fulfill upper level requirements for Biology and Environmental Sciences majors. Non-majors may use the course for general upper level elective hours or for additional biology credits required by some professional or graduate programs.

Course Objectives:

  • Introduce students to some of the major types of ecosystems in Belize, including representative organisms and their interactions, as a model for the study of tropical ecology and conservation
  • Learn how to draw comparisons between the different organisms, ecosystems, and conservation practices
  • Utilize small group research projects as a way to study in depth some aspect of ecology
  • Introduce and/or improve observational skills, field techniques, record keeping and data reporting skills
  • Instill in students a desire to learn more about tropical biology/ecology/conservation
  • Expose students to the biology, culture and social perspectives of a region and country different from their own

Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Belize (BIOL 3665/EVSC 3665; 3 credits)

Students must have completed Introductory Biology or the equivalent, or have instructor permission.

Faculty IconFaculty

Fred Diehl |
Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biology

David Smith |
Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Environmental Sciences

They will be assisted by additional faculty or advanced graduate students. All of the staff members have extensive research/teaching experience in tropical biology.


Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Housing and most group meals are included in the program costs. Housing will be provided at local camps, nature centers, and hotels. Meals will be available at these sites or in nearby locales. Students with special dietary needs should make any necessary arrangements with the program directors.

Cost and Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid.

Tobacco Caye

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will NOT need a visa to participate in this program. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

Tropical diseases, malaria in particular, are a concern. For more information, check out the
CDC website

Students considering attending the Belize program should also review the UVA International Travel Clinic website for important information and appointment deadlines.

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.

This program is currently not accepting applications.