IFSA Universidad Nacional Partnership

Heredia, Costa Rica


Fall, Spring, Year
Language of Instruction


Language Prerequisite

4 semesters of university level or equivalent
What does this mean?

Finance Options
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Fall: April 1
  • Spring: November 1

YEAR OPTIONS: Students interested in calendar or academic year-long options should contact IFSA-Butler for deadlines, fees and more.

Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:

About Universidad Nacional Partnership

Nestled between mountains, Heredia offers a unique Latin American experience. You'll find great academic opportunities at top-ranked Universidad Nacional, all within the reach of ecological sites, national parks, beautiful beaches, and nearby hiking trails. So, sit back and enjoy a fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee as you embrace the Pura Vida.


Universidad Nacional Partnership Benefits

  • Universidad Nacional combines excellent academics with extensive opportunities to get involved in campus life and the surrounding community
  • Join an exciting, diverse student body in smaller class sizes at an innovative university
  • Take advantage of special concentrations that focus on teacher education and environmental studies
  • You may cross-enroll in a variety of departments and take classes with Costa Rican students
  • Academic tutors available throughout the semester
  • Great program for ecology and environmental studies majors
  • Live and learn in one of the safest countries in Central America, a place with a small town feel and an outstanding natural environment
  • Great location to increase Spanish proficiency, and immerse in the local culture

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
Round out your classroom experience with hands-on opportunities like internships, directed research, student teaching, community-based learning or volunteering, and cultural excursions.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at Universidad Nacional Partnership


Looking for specific classes? Explore CHART, our exclusive class database — if the Universidad Nacional Program is pre-approved at your institution, you’ll find classes recently taken by other IFSA students.

This program combines the best of integrated campus life with familiarity of small discussion-based program combine the following IFSA exclusive courses with those directly-enrolled at UNA alongside local students. All coursework is in Spanish

Advanced Spanish (4 U.S. semester credits): This intensive Spanish class is specially designed for IFSA students and is mandatory. The course is offered at two advanced levels, and placement is determined by an assessment during the orientation in Costa Rica. The class is taught intensively at four hours per week throughout the semester. 

Ecology and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica (3 U.S. semester credits): The course will address aspects of the history of ecology, as well as conceptual components of the ecosystems and the ways they interact with the environment. This requires an approach to ecology as interdisciplinary science enabling understanding of its importance in the recovery, preservation, and protection of the environment. This course is specifically designed for IFSA students and is integrated with Costa Rican students; however, it is dependent on minimum enrollment.  

Note that if you have native or near—native Spanish reading and writing skills and would like to be considered for exemption from the Advanced level Spanish course, please speak with your Program Advisor.

Universidad Nacional:

As an IFSA student, you will enroll in undergraduate courses for which you are qualified and space is available. While course descriptions may be found online, course syllabi may not be available until the beginning of your semester. Click here for the on line course catalog and follow these steps:

  • Click on a departmental link ("leer más) in which you would like to look for courses.
  • Next, click on "descargar plan" to download a PDF of the course listings in the Carrera
  • You will see a tentative list of courses that may be offered during the year.

*Please note that UNA's online course listings are not often comprehensive. If a particular department or course you are looking for is not listed, contact your program advisor for assistance.

If course descriptions or syllabi are not available online, contact your IFSA program advisor. Provide the following information in your request, and keep in mind this may take up to a month to obtain.

  • University department/facultad
  • Course title
  • Course number (if available)
Special Curriculum Options
Ecology and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica:
Students build their courseload with the Advanced Spanish program course, the Ecology and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica course, and 2-3 related courses at Universidad Nacional. Possible courses may include: Clean Technologies, Drawing and Interpreting Environmental Plans, Environmental Policy and Legislation, Environmental Economics, Food Security, Forest Hydrology, Fundamentals of Energy, Plant Illnesses, and Plantation Management.
Development of Education and Education Models: This UNA-based course contrasts theory with classroom practice developed in the Costa Rican educational system. It also seeks to encourage in students the development of attitudes and values surrounding ethical, environmental, political, social, cultural and gender issues, consistent with the vision developed by educators themselves that serves to fight for equality, solidarity and other promoters of a more just society. Students build their courseload with the Advanced Spanish program course and 3 integrated courses at Universidad Nacional's prestigious School of Education and other departments. An optional non-credit workshop preparing students for the ACTFL test is available.
Course Restrictions
  • All courses are conducted in Spanish by UNA faculty members. Students who place into a lower-advanced Spanish level may not be eligible for more advanced coursework.
  • You may only take 1 course from Estudios Generales and 1 course from Escuela de Arte.
  • Licenciatura-level courses, such as those located in Estudios Latinoamericanos (IDELA), are only available to students with an extremely high level of Spanish and currently hold senior status at their U.S. institution.
  • The Escuela de Literatura may limit enrollment in literature courses to students with very good command of the language, have received high grades in previous Spanish courses, and who place into a higher level of Spanish during orientation.
  • Nivel 1 corresponds with first-year courses; Nivel 2 corresponds to second-year courses, etc.
  • I Ciclo (primer ciclo) is a U.S. spring semester (January to July); II Ciclo (segundo ciclo) is a U.S. fall semester (July to December)
  • Anual refers to full-year courses.
  • When the word Latina appears alone in a course title, it means classic, not Latino ethnicity. This applies mostly to literature courses.
In addition to the formal Spanish class, IFSA organizes tutoring sessions for students throughout the semester or year. These may be scheduled at various times during the week, when students meet with the tutor on an individual basis. Please speak with the IFSA resident staff if you would like the assistance of a tutor.
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost
Subjects offered at Universidad Nacional Partnership
Accounting Agriculture Anatomy/Physiology Animal Science Art History Athletic Training Biochemistry Biology Botany/Plant Science Business Chemical Engineering Chemistry Community Studies Computer Science Computer/Software Engineering Cultural Studies Dance Early Childhood Education Earth Science Ecology Economics Education Studies Elementary Education Engineering, General Environmental Engineering Environmental Health Environmental Science/Studies European History Film/Cinema Studies Finance Fine Arts Forestry French Genetics Geography Geology Graphic Design Health Education Health Promotion History Human Resources Human Rights Human Services Human and Child Development Indigenous Studies Information Technology Intelligence/Security Studies International Studies/Affairs/Relations Kinesiology/Exercise Science Latin American Studies Law/Legal Studies Linguistics Literature Marine Science/Oceanography Marketing Mathematics Microbiology Music Music Education Music Performance Natural Resource Management Organizational Management Painting Peace/Conflict Studies Philosophy Physical Education Physics Policy Studies/Public Policy Political Science Population Studies/Demography Psychology Public Relations Secondary Education Social Justice Social Work Sociology Spanish Sports and Recreation Management Statistics Student Teaching Studio Art Sustainability Studies Teaching English as a Second Language Theater/Drama Urban Studies Veterinary Studies/Science Women and Gender Studies World History Zoology

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
Host Family
Most meals included
The Universidad Nacional Partnership program includes three meals per day.

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Program Advisor

Jennifer McKibben's headshot

Jennifer McKibben

Assistant Director of Student Services. Program Advisor for IFSAOnline, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, Mexico, Peru, and Scotland

317-940-4264 jmckibben@ifsa-butler.org Read Full Bio   Schedule Time to Talk

Resident Director

Rodney Vargas's headshot

Rodney Vargas

Resident Director, Costa Rica

Read Full Bio  

Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Spring 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
Early February 2021
Program End Date
Mid-June 2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Coming Soon
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs

Fall 2020

Program Dates

Program Start Date
July 16, 2020
Program End Date
November 14, 20120

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Books & Supplies
Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs