Field Study Semester



Photo: Dr. Catherine Potvin

For complete and up to date information, please visit the Field study in Panama webpage:

Teaching staff members:

Catherine Potvin, Department of Biology
Oliver Coomes, Department of Geography (2018)
Thom Meredith, Department of Geography (2017)
Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert, Department of History (2017)
Caroline Begg, Department of Plant Science (2018)

The program specifically addresses issues relevant to the understanding of the Latin America Neotropical environment. It is a joint venture between McGill University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama.

Enrolment of McGill students will be limited to 26 students by housing capacity.  The courses will also be made available to 3 or 4 Panamanian students. Courses will be taught in English, but Spanish will be essential for communication.

Three courses, for a total of 9 credits, will provide formal training. Field trips and transdisciplinary approaches will be structuring elements of these courses.

  • BIOL 553  Neotropical Environments
  • AGRI 550 Sustained Tropical Agriculture
  • GEOG 498 HUmans in Tropical Environments

In addition, hands-on experience in an internship setting will be gained through the 'Research in Panama' course (ENVR 451, 6 credits), an independent studies project organized around multidisciplinary environmental issues. The nature of these projects will center on practical environmental problems/questions important for Panama. Students will form teams of 2-3 that will work with Panamanian institutions (NGO, governmental or research)

Of the 15 credits taken, biology students may apply as many as 12 credits toward the Biology Major/Faculty program (depending on their particular independent study)

Pre-requisites for the Field Study Semester in Panama are: Spanish Language Elementary HISP 218, or equivalent, and Principles of Statistics  MATH 203, or equivalent.

The cost of the program is $5,500 CDN (subject to change). This amount does not include airfare, tuition, insurance or meals (unless travelling), tuition, insurance or living expenses. Students have reported requiring approximately an additional $2,000 in total for food, clothing, travel, etc. Once accepted into the program, students must pay a NON REFUNDABLE $1,000 deposit. The remaining balance must be paid by early October.

Application instructions can be found online at:

For further information, see the website at:

For information contact:
Martine Dolmière
Faculty of Science,
Dawson Hall, Room 408