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*Universidad Yachay Tech

Urcuqui, Ecuador

IntroductionAcademicsLocation CostsDatesApplication



The "From the Amazon to the Galapagos" program at Universidad Yachay Tech is uniquely designed for students studying biology and geology, with hands-on teaching integrated with scientific research and cultural engagement. The program is taught on the university's Andes campus, and includes extensive research in the rainforests of Ecuador, the high Andean páramo ecosystem, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. On this program, you will experience:

  • Ecuadorian culture and the warmth of its people.
  • Three weeks in the Amazon with local communities, learning about their lifestyle, culture and challenges.
  • Three weeks of hands-on research on the Galapagos Islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.
  • Tropical diversity through bird watching, tree canopy climbing, canoeing, night walks and other activities.
  • Hiking to active volcanoes, crater lakes, páramos and rainforests.
  • Interacting with local students and faculty, contributing to their research and community outreach projects.

Universidad Yachay Tech is a public higher education institution founded in March 2014. Its aim is to position Ecuador as a center of innovation and technological excellence in Latin America.


Participants on this program will learn about:

  • The geological origin of the Galapagos Islands (hotspots, volcanoes, crater lakes, lava tubes, etc.).
  • What biodiversity is and why the tropics are so diverse.
  • The rarity and endemism patterns of the flora and fauna of Ecuador.
  • Community assembly, phylogenetics and maintenance of the hyperbiodiversity of the Amazon forest.
  • Island biogeography, including speciation and adaptation on insular systems and continental, island-like systems.
  • Geology, volcanism and tectonic evolution of the northern Andes and their influence on biodiversity and climatic patterns.
  • How mapping complex geology of a region helps to define interactions within society, the economy and the environment.
  • Current threats and conservation challenges of Ecuador's ecosystem in the face of global changes.


STEM course options
Yachay Tech courseMU equivalency
Field geologyGEOL elective 3000+
VolcanologyGEOL elective 3000+
Island biogeographyGEOG PSC 3000+ (similar to courses in the physical/environmental emphasis area
Junior/senior biology elective with lab
Tropical biodiversityJunior/senior biology elective with lab
Spanish language course

You have the option to participate in a three-week intensive Spanish language program in Cuenca, Ecuador, before the regular semester starts.

Note: This course is required if you have beginner-level Spanish proficiency. If you have successfully completed SPAN 2160, you are not required to participate in the intensive Spanish language program.

Academic credit

For each semester of academic work completed abroad, you may earn 12 to 15 credit hours. Course credit transfers to MU, but your grades will not appear on your MU transcript and are not figured into your GPA. Although you are guaranteed to receive credit for successfully completed courses, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval for how the courses you take might fulfill specific degree requirements.


Yachay Tech is located in the Andean highlands of Ecuador, approximately three hours north of Quito. The campus is about two kilometers from the small, peaceful town of Urcuqui and is surrounded by largely agricultural terrain, with a strong local indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian culture.

Fun fact: "Yachay" is a Quechua word that means knowledge.


Program budget

Additional expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial aid information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarships toward program costs.

Dates and deadlines

Term Application deadline Program start Program end
Spring 2019 09/30/2018 02/04/2019 05/20/2019
Fall 2019 02/22/2019
Spring 2020 09/20/2019 02/03/2020 05/18/2020
Fall 2020 02/15/2020


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you start an application for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the International Center study abroad adviser listed in the program snapshot if you have any questions.
  2. Start an application using the button below if you are an MU student.
    • Non-MU students should visit our page for non-MU participants for more information about the application process.
    • Once you have started an application, you can return to it later by logging in to myStudyAbroad (see the button at the top of the page).
  3. Complete and submit your application.

Note: If you do not have an MU PawPrint, please review our instructions for Non-MU (visiting) students.

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