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Programs : Brochure
This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
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:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January 2018 01-OCT-2017
10-OCT-2017 28-DEC-2017 11-JAN-2018
NOTE: If accepted to this program, you must commit to or decline participation by October 15

Indicates that deadline has passed
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:

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.


Howler Monkey

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.

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

Tobacco Caye

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.

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.


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.


Mayan Ruins

The program costs and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page.

Accessibility Statement
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.

Travel Health 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.

Passport and Visa Information
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.

The Belize program will be lead by Fred Diehl,, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Biology, and David Smith,, Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Environmental Sciences, at the University of Virginia. They will be assisted by additional faculty or advanced graduate students. All of the staff members have extensive research/teaching experience in tropical biology.


Stilt Houses

This program is currently not accepting applications.