Costa Rica Field School - Global Justice, Peace and Development

The course will explore processes of peace and development in a developing country through exploration of a variety of relevant topics such as sustainability, gender, social justice and global health. While in the field, students will visit ecological sites, Indigenous reserves, an international health center, development projects, and NGOs. The programming in Costa Rica will be facilitated by the United Nations mandated University for Peace.  The Field School will consist of two weeks of of seminars on the U of Guelph campus, followed by 12 days in Costa Rica, and finishing up back in Guelph a week of presentations in the community.

Preference will be given to students who are majoring in International Development Studies, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Information Session

Tuesday, Nov. 6

4:00 - 5:00 pm

MCKN 317

Field School Details

Instructor: Dr. Candace Johnson, Political Science

Offered: Summer 2019

Prerequisite: 7.5 credits or permission of the instructor, 70% cumulative average,

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Johnson or Allison Broadbent, Study Abroad Manager.

Program Dates

May - June, 2019

Tentative dates:
May 6-17                      Daily classes (Monday-Friday) on University of Guelph campus
May 20- June 1            Field component of course in Costa Rica
June 3-7                       Presentations to community


Students will be registered in 1.0 credits at the third year level.  See the bottom of this page for the tentative course outline.

Costa Rica is a country that demonstrates many of the same tendencies and struggles that exist in other Latin American countries: problems of poverty, exploitation through resource extraction and commodity exportation, gender injustice, endemic racism, marginalization of indigenous peoples, and migration. Yet it also defies regional patterns: it abolished its military in 1948; it is committed to environmental sustainability; it has a functional universal health system; and demonstrates a number of significant, progressive policies.  This course will examine the historical and contemporary contexts of these contradictions.  Students will visit a variety of sites in Costa Rica to learn about the country’s ongoing political and development struggles, as well as its commitments to progress and exceptionality.

The field portion of the course in Costa Rica will be facilitated by the University for Peace.  UPEACE was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations to provide an educational framework for the largest challenge faced by humanity - ensuring a secure and equitable world for ourselves and future generations. It is the first and only university in the world entirely devoted to teaching, learning and research about how human beings can live in harmony, both with one another and with their environment.  


Students should budget for the following:

  • Round-trip airfare to Costa Rica
  • Tuition and fees at the University of Guelph for 1.0 credits
  • The Costa Rica Field School fee: approximately $3000 which covers the following in Costa Rica - 13 nights accommodation, airport pick-up, some meals, transportation for field trips. Amount is subject to change based on fluctuating exchange rate.
  • Mandatory travel health and emergency insurance through the company Guard Me ($1.65 / day)
  • ​Personal expenses (food, additional personal travel, etc) 


Students applying for the program must have completed a total of 7.5 undergraduate credits by the time the program begins in May 2019 (or permission from the instructor), and must have a 70% cumulative average. (Students with a 67 - 69% cumulative average may be considered if there are extenuating circumstances that affected their marks which are described on their application.)

Preference will be given to students who are majoring in International Development Studies, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.  A maximum of 20 students will be accepted to the program. 

Apply to the Costa Rica Field School

Students interested in applying to the Costa Rica Field School must apply using an online application. To receive access to the online application you must first attend a Study Abroad Information Session through the Centre for International Programs. You will then receive access to the online application by early December.

Application deadline: January 25, 2019