The Grupo de Kansas program in San José, Costa Rica offers students the opportunity to directly enroll in classes at the Universidad de Costa Rica, one of the top 20 universities in all of Latin America (QS University Rankings), and the top research institution in Central America. 

All students start their program in Costa Rica with a month-long onsite orientation that provides a well-structured introduction to the country and its culture and history, and experience Costa Rican culture and history firsthand by living with host families and participating in cultural activities and excursions. 

Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure and services. The capital of San José is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. It lies in the Central Valley on a plain surrounded by large forested mountain ranges, some of which include active volcanoes, green savannahs, and working coffee plantations. 

Program Website

Course Description

The program is divided into three parts: Early Start Program, On-site Orientation and Courses at UCR. 

All Grupo de Kansas ISEP students will participate in the On-Site Orientation and Courses at UCR. The Early Start Program is required for students with 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (B1 level) and optional for students with 5 or more semesters (B2 level or above). Many students with 5 or more semesters of Spanish still choose to participate in the Early Start Program to improve language skills and spend an extra month in Costa Rica. 

Early Start Program 

The Early Start Program is a one-month intensive Spanish course designed for students to strengthen their language skills prior to the beginning of the semester. Students will take a language placement test and are placed into an appropriate intensive Spanish language course with other international students. Students will receive 3 credits of SPAN 270 or SPAN 371, dependent upon language level. One excursion is included in the Early Start Program.

On-site Orientation

The On-site Orientation is a month-long course especially for Grupo de Kansas students. It is designed to introduce students to Costa Rican history and culture, and prepare students for rigorous coursework in a foreign language, with an emphasis on academic writing skills in Spanish. During this orientation course, students will also participate in excursions such as an art museum, Central Market, and the National Theater in San José, as well as to a volcano and waterfall, with an overnight excursion to a beach on the Pacific shore. Students will earn 3 hours of credit of SPAN 370 Hispanic Language, Culture, and Civilization for this orientation course. 

UCR Orientation Syllabus

Courses at UCR

Students will enroll in courses at UCR with local students, taught by local faculty. Students can get an idea of the courses offered at UCR during fall and spring semesters by looking at the course schedules below. All courses and grades are issued in U.S. credit equivalencies and posted to a University of Kansas transcript. A normal course load per semester is 12-18 hours, which is four to six classes.

Important Enrollment Information

UCR Fall 2019 Course Schedule

UCR Spring 2019 Course Schedule

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Universidad de Costa Rica

Enroll in classes at the Universidad de Costa Rica, one of the top 20 universities in all of Latin America (QS University Rankings), the top research institution in Central America,...


(in Spanish)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies:

    Latin American and Caribbean Studies Latin American Studies

  • Biology:

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Botany/Plant Biology Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • Business:

    Accounting Business Communications Business Management Economics Finance International Business/Trade/Commerce Marketing

  • Communication:

    Digital Communication and Media Journalism Mass Communication/Media Studies

  • Computer and Information Sciences

  • Education

  • Engineering

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures:

    Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Linguistics Spanish Language and Literature

  • Health Sciences:

    Nursing Science Public Health

  • History

  • Human Services:

    Public Administration Social Work

  • International/Global Studies:

    International Relations and Affairs Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences


  • Natural Resources/Conservation:

    Environmental Science Forestry Sustainability Studies

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies


  • Physical Sciences:

    Astronomy Chemistry Geology/Earth Science Physics

  • Psychology

  • Social Sciences:

    Anthropology Cartography/GIS Geography Political Science and Government Sociology

  • Visual and Performing Arts:

    Acting Art History Dance Design and Visual Communications Drama and Theatre Arts Film Studies Graphic Design

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 3 or higher
  • LPR Required
  • LPR Writing Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Reading Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Listening Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Speaking Score: B1 - Intermediate High
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Other Academic Conditions

Course offerings vary from semester to semester and it is not possible to guarantee that a course will be offered during a particular semester. Students should consult the sample course schedules above and have eight to ten courses in a wide variety of departments approved by their home institution prior to arrival in San José. Use the UCR-KU Course Equivalency Log to see how courses students have taken in the past transferred back to U.S. credits at the University of Kansas (KU). This document can be used as a guide for home institutions when pre-approving courses. 

Spanish language and literature students should plan on taking one to two Spanish language/literature courses and the rest from other departments, due to the intensive reading and writing requirements for Spanish literature courses at UCR. 

Students are eligible to take most courses in a variety of departments at UCR, provided they meet the required pre-requisites. Courses in majors with few students and very specific prerequisites, such as photography, art, and music have very limited space in their studios and non-UCR students usually are not able to enroll in these courses. 

Enrollment in graduate courses at UCR is limited to graduate students and requires the permission of the professor.

Costa Rica follows the Southern Hemisphere academic calendar. Students who want to study in Costa Rica for a year may want to consider studying a consecutive (Northern Hemisphere) spring and fall term. Students may also study for a full Northern Hemisphere academic year, but need to know that housing is not provided from mid-December to the end of January because of UCR's summer break. Students could use this time to return to their home country, travel, or volunteer at a national park. Sometimes it is possible to stay with the host family during the break, but it can't be guaranteed.

Semester & Prices

Select a semester to calculate the price. Semesters are named according to host university's calendar.

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Universidad de Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica



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ISEP Application Fee US$100

ISEP Acceptance Fee US$425


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