Costa Rica

Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management at EARTH

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Quick Information

Location EARTH University
Academic Date Program Planned to Run Again Fall 2022 –
Credit Hours 14
Requirements 2.75 MU GPA at time of application; Good academic standing. Successful completion of MU Spanish 1200 or equivalent. An interview will be conducted to determine Spanish language competency prior to final acceptance into the program. Open to all MU students.
Estimated cost $10,950 (doesn't include airfare)
Contact Shanon Dickerson, Director of Study Abroad

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester: Due by March 1
Spring Semester: Due by October 1

Academic Study Abroad Dates

Fall Semester: August – November
Spring Semester: January – April

The semester study abroad program in Costa Rica offers a wonderful opportunity to become totally immersed in the Latin American culture and way of life. Students experience the rain forest first-hand and study at a world-class international college specializing in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. Earth has over 8,000 acres of property, most of which is dedicated to rain forests, reserves, commercial agricultural activities, livestock production and academic farms.

Read Zoe's Story

With approximately 400 full-time students from throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa, Earth offers a unique, student-centered experiential-learning system where hands-on experience is stressed, theoretical and practical-based knowledge are developed, and skills in sustainable agriculture, natural resource management and agricultural business are learned.


Located on the Caribbean lowlands, EARTH is about 1.5 hours from San José, the bustling capital city of Costa Rica. Well-known for its biodiversity, landscape and coffee, Costa Rica offers opportunities to explore cloud forest, rain forest, beaches, waterfalls and volcanoes. Enjoy a cup of Arabica coffee from beans grown in volcanic soil, explore the museums and shops of San José, and be on the look-out for poison dart frogs, quetzals, howler monkeys, sloths and kinkajous in the rainforest!

Accommodation and Meals

Students will reside in EARTH University dormitories. Rooms will be shared, and each student will be placed with a roommate from a different country. Students share cleaning responsibilities, both for their own rooms and shared areas (including bathrooms). In keeping with EARTH’s low environmental impact philosophy, the accommodation has “no frills.” Dormitories are not air-conditioned and have no hot water; though this does take some adjustment, it is very typical for Costa Rica. All housing costs are included in the program fee.

All meals are included in the program fee, though students should reserve some of their own funds for occasional restaurant/other dining. Meals are served at the EARTH cafeteria and include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most meals include rice, beans, and vegetables/fruit. Lunches and dinners include a choice of meat or vegetarian options.

Program Travel

Students will arrange their own round-trip travel to San José and will be provided with all suggested flight dates and arrival times.  For budgeting purposes, estimates are provided below.  Students who wish to have the cost of their flight billed directly to their MU accounts should contact the Director of Study Abroad, as this can be arranged through MU’s preferred travel agency. Transportation from the San José airport to the EARTH campus will be provided. Once on the EARTH campus, all program-related travel is included in the program fee.


Starting fall 2019, students can attend EARTH for one term and receive a total of 14 MU credits. Eleven credits will transfer directly from EARTH. The additional 3 credits will be awarded by MU.

Students will be enrolled in 11 credits of AFNR _0590, an International Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources “placeholder” course. At the conclusion of the program, final grades are issued by EARTH University. These credits transfer back to MU on an S/U basis.

In order to determine how EARTH credits will transfer back to MU, students should complete a Course Proposal for Study Abroad with assistance from the CAFNR Director of Study Abroad. Once this is completed, students will work with their advisors to determine how the credits will count toward their individual graduation plans.

Starting fall 2019, participants will also be enrolled in 3 hours of AFNR 2190: International Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to supplement the 11 credits transferred directly from EARTH. Assignments for AFNR 2190 will be distributed to participants prior to departure and will be due shortly after returning to the U.S. Grades for AFNR 2190 are issued on an A-F basis.

Learning is very hands-on at EARTH and students are required to take two work experience course modules.  This allows students to fully immerse themselves in the tropical experience.

Instruction is in Spanish; however, most EARTH faculty speak some English. At a minimum, students must have successfully completed MU’s Spanish 1200 and have the option to enroll in additional language training at EARTH at their own cost.

Please be aware that there will be a mandatory orientation class meeting prior to departure. Participants will be notified of the class meeting details via email.

Estimated Cost

Non-refundable deposit: $350
Missouri Resident Tuition (3 credits):
*Non-resident students will also be billed non-resident fees
CAFNR supplemental course fees: $163
IT Fees: $197
Program Fees: $9,098
Intl Center Fees: $245
Total cost estimate without airfare: (includes accommodation and meals) $10,950
Airfare estimate: $800-$1,000
Additional meals estimate: $500
Additional misc. estimate: $500