Leopard sitting on a tree branch

Belize: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation

  1. Program Details

    Discover Belize's diverse ecosystems while studying wildlife management and conservation at the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic.

    This program is administered by the College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences' Office of International Programs. Applications are processed by the Learning Abroad Center.

    Location Multiple locations, Belize
    Term May Session (Spring Semester)
    Housing Hotel
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  2. About Belize: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation

    Discover the rich diversity of Belize while working in collaboration with the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. Be introduced to the major ecosystems in Belize, the plant and animal organisms inhabiting these areas, and the strategies employed by biologists and environmental resource managers. Learn from and with the staff through hands on labs and excursions. During this section of the program labs will include everything from spay and neuter to a VIP behind the scenes tour of the Belize Zoo. Visit an Iguana Project and Baboon Sanctuary. From bird examination, including Scarlet Macaw health checks, to baboon rehabilitation and crocodile capture, you will experience all parts of wildlife medicine and conservation in central Belize.

    Travel to coastal Placencia where you will have the opportunity to get your PADI scuba dive certification, so novice divers are welcome! While here, experience the incredible marine life up close, while attending daily lectures on marine animal zoology and physiology.

    End your Central American experience with an excursion to neighboring Guatemala, where you will visit the ARCAS Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation center. 

    Check out the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic Facebook page here

    Click here to see captioned photos from last year’s program!

    COVID-19 Modifications 

    The program will comply with local public health recommendations as well as recommended standards of the University of Minnesota. This may include modifications to the program calendar, weekly schedule, classroom environment, course delivery, housing arrangements, transportation policies, and/or in-country travel restrictions. Below are some of the current program specific changes, but know that these modifications could change at anytime as we get more information:

    • Excursion destinations/plans may be modified to comply with health guidelines.
    • When instructed to do so, students will be required to wear a mask. No exceptions will be made.
    • Enrollment on this program will be capped at 16 students in order to allow for better distancing within the group.

    Application Deadline

    January 1, 2021

    Please note there is limited space available on this program, and we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

    Program Dates

    Depart from Minneapolis-Saint Paul: May 15, 2021
    Arrive in Belize: May 15, 2021
    Depart from Belize: May 29, 2021

    These dates are subject to change.


    You will earn 3 credits for CFAN 3510.

    This is an embedded course with on-campus class time during spring semester prior to departure. You must register for this course, and complete the study abroad application. Registration costs/financial aid are tired to Spring term. 

    Pre-departure classes will be held on Fridays, starting March 20th, from 3:00-3:50 p.m. on the St. Paul campus.

    Students interested in animal science, wildlife conservation, and sustainability will benefit from this experience, however, the program is open to learners from all disciplines. 

    For complete information, see the 2018 course syllabus.

    Program Leader

    Melissa Palmer is an assistant professor of Animal Physiology in the Department of Animal Science. She teaches Human and Animal Physiology with corresponding laboratory component, Biotechnology, People and the Environment and Orientation to Animal Science.


    Participate in a number of excursions including  the Green Iguana Project, a baboon sanctuary, Belize Zoo, Belize Wildlife Refuge Center, and to coastal Placencia.

    Program Fee


    Cost of Participation Forthcoming 

    The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, airport transfers, in-country program related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. 

    The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences offers grants for study abroad programs; learn more here. Students can learn about financial aid and scholarships through the Learning Abroad Center here

    Programs operated by the CFANS Office of International Programs follow the Learning Abroad Center Cancellation Policy. Before you apply to, or confirm your participation on this program, review the cancellation policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.

    If you are registered for less than 13-credits or if you are a non-UofM student or a UofM graduate student, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee.  Notify the Learning Abroad Center if this applies to you.  

    More Information

    Contact the CFANS Office of International Programs at ipglobal@umn.edu.

  3. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term May Session 2021 (Spring on campus course)
    Program Name Belize: Wildlife Medicine and Conservation
    Track Name Belize: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation
    Country Belize


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.

    Non-University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for this program.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.


    When you submit your online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

    • First Step session
    • University of Minnesota Student Release and Waiver Form

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist.

    Next Steps

    1. You will receive an automated email message indicating your application was received.
    2. Follow the instructions on your application checklist to submit the Student Release and Waiver Form.
    3. Your application is not considered complete until the form has been received and you have completed the First Step module. Your completed application will be forwarded to the program leader in the sponsoring college/department for review.
    4. The program leader will notify the Learning Abroad Center of acceptance decisions. If accepted, you will be notified via email and assigned a confirmation checklist, which includes:
      • Health Information Form
      • Confirmation and Payment Agreement
      • Online Health & Safety Orientation
    5. Login to the online application to review the confirmation checklist and submit the required items.
    6. Once you submit all items, your participation will be confirmed and your student account will be billed for the program deposit.
    7. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application and submit a Cancel Request. You must also notify your program leader of your cancellation.