Study Abroad Office

Biodiversity in the Land of the Makushis Study Abroad in Guyana



Location: Rupununi River, Guyana
Courses: 3 Credit Hours in BIO 4905X Undergraduate Research in Biology or BIO 6905X Graduate Research in Biology
Program Dates: 31 December, 2013 - 18 January, 2014
Professor: Dr. Godfrey Bourne, Associate Professor of Evolutionary and Tropical Ecology at UMSL

Read about past participant Brian's research and experience here.

Application Deadline:
October 7, 2013

Course Description: Each student will be conducting visual and auditory censuses of animal and plant species in Guyana to produce a PowerPoint-generated poster. Students' individual research project will be developed in consultation with Dr. Bourne and will be executed at Karanambu Trust in the Rupununi savannas. Students must employ species diversity indices and natural history information to make sense of their discoveries. Examples of productive areas for exploration are animal community structure and diversity in microecosystems―pools in bromeliads and heliconia (lobster claw) bracts, ant-plant and ant-hopper  interactions, plant communities, lichen communities, and the usual, dragonfly, butterfly, ant, fish, lizard, frog, bird communities. *

This program is not for everyone. Participants must be relatively healthy—expect living in close quarters, biting insects, encounters with spiders, snakes, mud, travel in motorized boats, some physical exertion, fascinating biodiversity, and bragging rights.

Participants must have a digital camera and laptop computer.

Non-UMSL participants are welcome to apply!

Detailed program description and itinerary available!

Read a professional review of the location and program!

Students will stay in primitive accommodations (i.e., living in huts in the rainforest, cold showers with black-water from a spring, using flushing outhouses, etc.).


Estimated Costs*

Tuition (3 credits, 2013-2014 rates) $947.40 (ug) or $1,227.30 (gr)
Program Fee $1,700
Airfare $1,150
Meals & Personal Expenses


Total $3,897.40 or $4,177.30

*Based on 2013-2014 rates. Subject to change. Non-credit Program Fee: $2540

Program Fee includes: • airport exit tax from Guyana • primitive accommodations (see housing information) • all meals • overland trip to savanna ecosystem (Karanambu) on the Rupununi River.

Not included in the fees: • airfare • personal expenses • passport costs

Important Dates:

Application and Deposit Deadline: October 7, 2013
Acceptance Documents Deadline: TBA
Remaining Program Fee Deadline: TBA
Online Orientation Completion: November 1, 2013
Mandatory In-Person Oriention: 2-4pm November 8, 2013

For Additional Information:
Dr. Godfrey Bourne, Associate Professor of Evolutionary and Tropical Ecology
( 314-516-6674)
Nate Daugherty, Study Abroad Coordinator (, 314-516-6497)

Application Process:
1. UMSL Study Abroad Application Form
2. Non-refundable** $500 program fee deposit (due at time of application). The program fees are payable by check or money order payable to UMSL.
3. Scholarship application and scholarship essay (UMSL students only)
4. Non-UMSL applicants are required to submit a $100 application fee. The application fee is payable by check or money order to 'UMSL'.
5. Non-UMSL students must also submit a letter of recommendation and transcript

UMSL tuition will be billed to your student account.


Flight Information: Students must book and pay for their own flights soon after being accepted into the program. Estimated at $1150, students should book a round-trip coach flight from STL to MIA to GEO flying out on January 2, 2013 and returning on January 19, 2013.

Flight details: American Airlines AA 2515 St. Louis (STL) to Miami (MIA) & AA 2007 Miami (MIA) to St. Louis (STL) Caribbean Airlines BW 483/1415 Miami (MIA) to Georgetown (GEO), one stop in Trinidad (POS) flight then becomes BW 1415; and GEO to POS on BW 1414/484,. change plane in Trinidad to BW 484 to Miami

Interview/Mandatory Orientation:
In October, all students must set up interviews with Dr. Bourne by calling 314-709-9134. In addition, all students are required to complete the online orientation for the program as well as an in-person group orientation, organized by the Program Coordinator. More information, including the fall orientation date, will be announced shortly after your acceptance.

* UMSL reserves the right to revise the program fee if there are fluctuations in the exchange rate. Participants are responsible for any increase in rates.
**Deposit will be refunded only if you are not selected to participate in the program.

What students are saying about the Guyana Study Abroad Program:
"It's an outstanding opportunity to immerse yourself into a safe tropical environment and unique local cultures." 2011 Participant

"There's no doubt that anyone could have a bad time at CEIBA...unless they happen to hug a cashew tree..." 2011 Participant