Basic General Information

Basic academic information

  • Each semester program consists of 4 topical courses and a Spanish class, for a total of 15 credits.
  • For Fall Semester programs registration in the courses is automatic. All participants in a given program are required to take all five program courses in their chosen track.
  • For Spring Semester program students are require to take two core courses and choose three additional courses out of five options.
  • A Spanish placement test will be given at the beginning of the term in order to determine the student’s level of proficiency.
  • Typical style of education at ICDS is a seminar or workshop format during which case studies are analyzed and discussed. Class sessions are participatory.
  • Grades will be based on class participation, assignments, mid-term and final exams or projects/papers.
  • Attendance, punctuality, and keeping up with the class readings constitute a large part of class participation grades.

Program terms

Fall Semester: Early Sept – Late Nov
Spring Semester: Mid Jan – Mid April
Spring Quarter: Mid March – Early June
Summer term: Various options within May and July

Language of instruction: English and Spanish

Spanish courses are conducted entirely in Spanish by highly experienced Central American professors. Core courses in ICDS programs are taught primarily in English, with the option for students –especially those with a high intermediate to advanced proficiency in the language– to complete the required reading and written class assignments in Spanish. This gives ICDS´s programs a bilingual character which, along with the homestays with local families, provides students with an excellent opportunity for complete language immersion.

Housing in Costa Rica

In order to give students the advantage of complete cultural and language immersion, ICDS offers homestays with carefully chosen Costa Rican families.

ICDS has a strong connection with many families living in areas close to the ULatina campus, who are willing and qualified to host international students, according to ICDS’s strict requirements.

ICDS’s Homestay Coordinator is highly experienced in the selection of host families and the placement of students with an appropriately matched family, according to what the student has indicated as his/her preferences in the housing application, as well as monitoring the student-family relationship throughout the program. The homestay cost includes a completely furnished private room, two meals per day, laundry service, in addition to the experience of being a member of a local family during the period of the student’s stay.

Application deadlines

Fall: March 30
Spring semester: October 15
Spring quarter: January 30
Summer: March 30

Application procedure

Admission to the program is on a rolling basis, and enrollment is limited. Applications may be accepted after the deadlines above on a space-available basis. There is a non-refundable application fee of $500 for students from universities with no institutional agreements with ICDS. Please contact ICDS at for payment instructions.

To apply: Please fill out and submit the on-line preliminary application form found on this page ( ICDS will confirm and then send you the official application form via e-mail.

Besides your official application, please send two academic letters of recommendation (signed hard copies) and your college transcripts to ICDS at:
International Center for Development Studies (ICDS)
P.O. Box 1412-1000
San José, Costa Rica

Notice: Students from universities holding agreements for academic collaboration (MOUs) with ICDS must also submit the completed application form, letters of recommendation, and transcripts through the Study Abroad Office or the designated office at their home university.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum GPA 2.75
  • Last term Sophomore/Junior/Senior standing
  • Language requirement: preferably, at least one year of basic Spanish