Scholarships and Fellowships

OTS Scholarships

OTS is committed to providing opportunities to all eligible students interested in participating in our programs. We make every effort possible to ensure that financial obstacles are not the primary reason a qualified student cannot participate in one of our programs. We make scholarship applications available to students upon acceptance into an OTS program. We have a limited amount of scholarship funds available so, the earlier you apply, the better your chances of receiving an award. If you have questions, please contact the Enrollment Management team at undergraduate@tropicalstudies.org.

External Scholarships and Opportunities

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. The Gilman Scholarship is open to U.S. citizens and undergraduate students, who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university, in order to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. They award grants of up to $5,000 for traditionally underrepresented students in education abroad as well as students in the sciences, and nontraditional study abroad locations.

Fund for Education Abroad: The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) invests in promising students with financial need who wish to study abroad. Scholarships range from $1,250 – $10,000. The student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the United States, the study abroad program must be eligible for credit at the student’s home institution, and the program must be at least 4 weeks in country. FEA encourages first generation, minority, and community college students to apply.

Additional Funding Sources:

OTS offers a variety of partial need-based scholarships to enable graduate students to participate in our graduate courses. Interested students should apply to the OTS graduate course of their choosing and include an additional statement indicating resources available and details of financial need. We will provide you information on what funds may be available, with priority given to students from member institutions.

Applicants need not specify a particular fund among the following named funds established through the generosity of our donors.

  • Jay Savage and Rebecca Papendick Scholarship Fund
  • Donald E. Stone Memorial Graduate Scholarship Endowment
  • Joan Slatkin Barton Scholarship Fund
  • The Rowe Family Scholarship Fund
  • The Andrew Starrett Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • The Luis Diego Gomez Scholarship Endowment in Tropical Biology
  • Barbara Hoshizaki Memorial Scholarship for Ferns and Plant Systematics

OTS offers graduate research fellowships for work primarily in its Costa Rica field stations. (The Bossuyt and Hovore-Horn Fellowships are exceptions explained below). OTS fellowships are open to graduate students enrolled in degree programs at OTS member institutions and to OTS graduate course alumni. Deadlines for proposal reception are March 1st and October 1st.

Questions can be directed to Guiselle Castro (guiselle.castro@tropicalstudies.org)

General Information for Fellowship Applications:

  • Awards are intended to assist thesis-related field research in tropical biology and similar fields.
  • Pilot awards for exploratory research are available in amounts up to a maximum of $2,600 in 2019. This amount is intended to cover up to 30 days at OTS field stations plus up to $170 toward OTS services to obtain research/export permits.
  • Thesis research fellowships are available in amounts up to a maximum of $5,200 in 2019. This amount is intended to cover up to 60 days at OTS field stations plus up to $340 toward OTS services to obtain research/export permits.
  • OTS graduate research funds are limited. Most awards will be restricted to OTS field stations in Costa Rica (La Selva, Palo Verde, and Las Cruces), with the exception of one annual fellowship for research in Peru; and the Hovore-Horn Entomology awards which may be used in any Latin American country. Proposals for research at other sites will not be considered.
  • Only one research award may be held at a time.
  • The Hovore-Horn Entomology funds are intended for Latin American entomology students, for small amounts ranging from $500 to $1,500. (see full description below)
  • The Francis J. Bossuyt Fellowship is prioritized for research at Cocha Cashu, Peru (see full description below).
  • Awards for research in Costa Rica are intended primarily to cover station fees at OTS field stations which will be charged at the full standard rate, currently overnight $81 (2019) and day visit $41 (2019). Research and export permits obtained through OTS services can be included in your budget, to a maximum of $170 for pilot and $340 for thesis awards. Researchers must find outside resources to cover international and local travel expenses. Research equipment, materials and supplies will not be covered. Salaries or stipends for the investigator or assistants are not allowed, but researchers may request for station fees to cover one field assistant if safety concerns warrant this consideration.
  • Applicants need not specify the award for which they are applying, with the exception of the Francis J. Bossuyt Fellowship or the Hovore-Horn Entomological fellowships.
  • Completed proposals must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for funding. Proposals may be submitted in English or Spanish.
  • Notification of decisions will be about two months after each deadline; please plan accordingly.
  • Successful applicants must complete the proposed research within the original time frame of the project approved for funding, usually within one year of the award.

Proposal Guidelines

Submit the following items, typed in 12-point font. Items 2-9 should be no more than seven pages for research fellowship awards and no more than four pages for pilot awards. All pages must be numbered. Items 1-11 must be submitted by email to guiselle.castro@tropicalstudies.org. Letter of endorsement from thesis advisor should be sent directly by your recommender by email to guiselle.castro@tropicalstudies.org. Proposals that are incomplete or do not comply with guidelines will not be processed.

  1. Fellowship Cover Sheet OTS Fellowship Cover Sheet (Download)
  2. Project abstract
  3. Project objectives
  4. Project methods
  5. Project significance
  6. Project schedule and expected outputs
  7. Project budget
  8. Budget justification
  9. Literature cited
  10. Name, address, telephone, fax, and email of four people who can comment on the scientific merit of the proposal
  11. Curriculum vita of applicant
  12. Letter of endorsement from thesis advisor

Direct English or Spanish proposals/questions to:

Graduate Program, OTS, Costa Rica Office
Apartado Postal 676-2050 San Pedro, Costa Rica
Tel: (506) 2524-0607 • Fax: (506) 2524-0608
E-mail: guiselle.castro@tropicalstudies.org

Graduate Endowed Fellowships

When you apply for a fellowship, it is not necessary to indicate for which fellowship you are applying, with two exceptions (Hovore-Horn and Francis J. Bossuyt).

  • Donald & Beverly Stone Fellowships: The Donald and Beverly Stone Fellowship was created to honor Donald and Beverly Stone for their more than 20 years of service with the Organization for Tropical Studies. Don served as the Executive Director and Bev as the Administrative Assistant from 1976 to 1996 and during that time built OTS from a small organization to a large consortium of over 50 universities. The Donald and Beverly Stone Graduate Fellowship was established by OTS alumni and friends to recognize Don and Bev for the tremendous advances that they helped promote in the fields of tropical biology.
  • Francis J. Bossuyt Fellowship: The Francis Bossuyt fellowship was created as a memorial to the life of Francis Bossuyt (1969-2000). At the time of his untimely death, Francis had been collecting his final year of data for his dissertation on Titi monkeys at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park in Peru. In recognizing Francis’ love for the Titi Monkeys and for field-oriented research, the Bossuyt family established this graduate fellowship with the following order of priority funding: 1) on animal behavior (preference for Callicebus) in Cocha Cashu and the surrounding areas, 2) on other subjects in Cocha Cashu, 3) by Peruvian students working in tropical ecosystems in Peru, and 4) at other locations in the tropics.
  • William L. Brown Fellowship: The William Brown Fellowship was created by the family and friends of William Brown, a distinguished entomologist at Cornell University, who conducted research at the La Selva Research Station.
  • David and Deborah Clark Fellowship: A fellowship established by the JiJi Foundation in recognition of the pioneering work undertaken by Drs. Deborah and David Clark at the OTS La Selva Research Station.
  • Rexford Daubenmire Fellowship: The Daubenmire fellowship was created in memory of Rexford Daubenmire (1909-1995) by his wife Jean Daubenmire. Dr. Daubenmire was a widely-recognized expert in plant ecology and professor of botany at the University of Idaho and Washington State University.
  • Dole Food Fellowship: The fellowship is funded by Dole Food Company in Costa Rica. Dole Food produces more than 150 products, including bananas and pineapples, marketed worldwide. Dole is a long-time supporter of OTS.
  • Emily P. Foster Fellowship: The Emily Foster fellowship was created by the family and friends of Emily Foster (1967-1994) as a memorial to her life. Emily treasured the beauty and wonder of the Costa Rican biodiversity and the generosity of the Costa Rican people. Emily worked in Costa Rica for a number of years before her untimely death.
  • Glaxo Centro America Fellowships: This fellowship was established by Glaxo Centro América. Now part of GlaxoSmithKline, an international pharmaceutical company with offices throughout Latin America, Glaxo Centro America recognized the importance of providing research support for Latin American graduate students.
  • Hovore-Horn Fellowship: The Hovore-Horn research fellowships in entomology are available exclusively to Latin American students for work in any Latin American country. Funded through an endowment established in 2005 by biologist Frank T. Hovore in honor of his parents, Alice and Andre Horn, this fellowship also honors Frank himself, who succumbed to a heart attack in September 2006 while doing what he loved, collecting beetles in Ecuador. Awards will usually range from $500 to $1,000 and may not exceed $1,500.
  • Henry Leigh Fellowship: A research fellowship established in loving memory of W. Henry Leigh, to be awarded annually to the most qualified graduate student applicant from throughout the United States.
  • Lillian and Murray Slatkin Fellowship: A research fellowship established by Joan Slatkin Barton in honor of her parents. Ms. Barton was a member of the OTS Board of Visitors from 1994 until 2003.
  • Christian and Betty Thompson Fellowship: A research fellowship established by F. Christian and Betty Thompson of Kingstowne, Virginia.
  • Christiane and Christopher Tyson Fellowship: A research fellowship established by Christiane and Christopher Tyson for U.S. and Latin American graduate students. Christiane and Christopher Tyson have been involved with the OTS Board of Visitors since 2001.
  • (Other designation) Thomas Bishop Memorial Binocular Endowment: Thomas Bishop Memorial Binocular Endowment: These funds are available for purchases of binoculars and similar equipment to assist researchers in their work. Please inquire about these funds.

An endowment is a donation made for the perpetual benefit of OTS. The principal remains intact and money earned from investing the principal is used for a specific purpose as designated by the donor. The Board of Directors determines an amount of accumulated earnings to be spent each year, with the remaining interest and principal invested for future growth. The OTS fellowship program, education program, and the field stations provide opportunities for supporting an existing endowment or establishing a new named endowment. Please contact Jim Boyle, our Vice President of Philanthropy (james.boyle@tropicalstudies.org) if you are interested in learning more.