This program explores tropical coastal ecosystems in Belize and the conservation challenges of anthropogenic stressors on ecosystems. This program provides students with an opportunity to use the scientific method to answer questions in marine ecology.
Ecosystems visited include coral reefs in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. We will survey fishes, corals and other invertebrates, and vegetated coastal habitats. In these ecosystems, students will study community composition and ecosystem health.
In addition to scientific exploration, students have opportunities for night snorkeling and to snorkel with sharks. Students will also explore the tropical forest and the history and culture of the ancient Maya on foot and horseback. Students visit the protected archeological site of Xunantunich and explore unarchived remains of Mayan culture.
This program is open to all undergraduate students, including students who do not attend George Mason University.
Undergraduate students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25.
Students will choose one 3-credit course during the application process.
- BIOL 440 - Field Biology
- EVPP 490 - Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy
- INTS 399 - Study Abroad
- EVPP 505 - Selected Topics in Environmental Science
July 18 - July 31, 2022
July 18 Arrive in Belize and transfer to Billy Hawk Caye.
July 19 Explore coastal ecosystems of Billy Hawk Caye.
July 20 Explore coastal ecosystems of Billy Hawk Caye.
July 21 Explore coastal ecosystems of Billy Hawk Caye.
July 22 Transfer to San Ignacio.
July 23 Explore ancient Mayan sites and the tropical forest near San Ignacio.
July 24 Visit Xunantunich and Tropical Education Center. Night zoo tour
July 25 Travel to Ambergris Caye.
July 26 Explore coastal ecosystems of Ambergris Caye.
July 27 Explore coastal ecosystems of Ambergris Caye.
July 28 Explore coastal ecosystems of Ambergris Caye.
July 29 Explore coastal ecosystems of Ambergris Caye.
July 30 Explore coastal ecosystems of Ambergris Caye.
July 31 Depart Belize and return to United States.
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2022: Coming Soon!
Summer 2021: $4,600
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.
- Application Deposit
- Tuition and mandatory fees
- Pre-Departure Orientation
- Accommodations (dormitory-style housing in field stations, some camping in tents, jungle lodges and inns)
- Almost all meals
- Park fees and archaeological access permits
- Guided tours and field excursions as described in itinerary
- In-country transportation
- International emergency medical insurance.
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email.
- Passport and visa fees
- COVID-19 testing
- Snorkeling equipment (mask, fins, snorkel)
- Some meals
- Personal spending
- Required textbooks and/or course materials.
The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights. When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment).
$200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
The final balance is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule
. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit.
- You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
- George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.
In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility.
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO. Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program.
If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must:
- Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in MasonAbroad.gmu.edu.
* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/eligibility.
The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at MasonLed@gmu.edu
to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at Military@gmu.edu
Withdrawal and Refund Policy:
All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students on this program are welcome to apply:
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Additional Requirements for Non-Mason Applicants:
Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.