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How to Apply

Important Things To Know

  • SFS has rolling admissions, so there is no application deadline. Be sure to check with your home school for their requirements and deadlines. SFS is currently accepting applications for all Summer 2016, Fall 2016, and Spring 2017 programs.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in an SFS program.
  • You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing on your home campus.
  • We recommend that students complete one semester of college prior to the start of the program, but gap-year students are welcome to apply, provided they fulfill the prerequisites.
  • Recent college graduates and international students are welcome to apply.
  • Any Session I summer course (Bhutan excluded) can be paired with any Session II course to gain field experience in two countries and ecosystems. Please contact SFS Admissions with questions about pairing summer sessions in different countries.



Please review the following admission prerequisites and policies to confirm eligibility. If you have questions about whether a course you have taken fulfills SFS prerequisites, please contact an SFS Admissions Counselor.

  • One college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science course (or related coursework, as assessed by SFS) with a grade of C or better prior to the start of an SFS semester program
  • There are no course prerequisites for summer programs.
  • For SFS semester programs in Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru, your program experience will be enhanced if you have at least one semester of college-level Spanish (or three years of high school Spanish).
  • Students are encouraged, but not required, to have taken coursework in statistics, anthropology, international development, and economics.
  • Applicants for semester programs should have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 at minimum (2.6 for summer programs). Students with GPAs slightly below this mark are still encouraged to apply.


Before You Apply

  • Check with your home school for their requirements and deadlines.
  • Please make sure you hold a valid passport that will not expire until at least six months after your planned return home. Apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible. It's best not to wait until after acceptance to SFS to apply or renew, because this can cause delays in processing visas and making flight arrangements for some programs.
  • Before you begin filling out your application, we suggest that you collect the following information. If you are under 18 years of age, you must have a parent or guardian sign your application.
    • Names of the individuals who will complete your SFS reference forms
    • Courses you intend to use to fulfill SFS prerequisite requirements (if applicable)
    • Credit card information (for application fee)



We're here to help. Please review the information on this page carefully, as most frequently asked questions are addressed here! If you still cannot find the answer you are looking for, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

When contacting SFS Admissions, please include your full name, the program you are interested in, and the session to which you plan to apply.


Application Steps

A complete application to SFS includes:

  1. Online Application Form and Essay Responses
  2. $50 Application Fee (Paid upon submission of online application)
  3. SFS Academic Reference
  4. SFS Character Reference
  5. Official Transcript
  6. Participation Approval Form and Transcript Request Form


Applicants will have a checklist in their online acount to track the status of submitted application materials. Application items can be submitted in any order and do not need to be submitted all together. Keep in mind: applicants will not have a record in our database until they have submitted the Online Application Form and Essay Reponses, so the checklist will not show forms that have been received prior to application submission. Any materials that students send in before applying online will be kept on file and processed when the Online Application Form is submitted.


Online Application Form and Essay Responses

We encourage you to apply online. SFS is currently accepting applications for all Summer 2016, Fall 2016, and Spring 2017 programs. Please use the 2016-2017 application to apply to all programs. If you are unable to use the online application form, please contact SFS Admissions.


Application Fee

Pay non-refundable, application fee of $50 (credit card number required for online application). This fee cannot be waived. If paying by check, please make it payable to "The School for Field Studies" and send to:

Joan Cluster
The School Field Studies
100 Cummings Center, Suite 534-G
Beverly, MA 01915



SFS requires two (2) references: an SFS Academic Reference and an SFS Character Reference. When you submit the Online Reference Request Form, your references will be automatically notified and asked to complete SFS reference forms electronically. Supplementary letters of recommendation are welcome, but at minimum, both individuals providing references must complete the official SFS reference forms.

Click Here to Access the Online Reference Request Form

NOTE: Use this form to request an Academic and Character Reference – only one submission is required.

Please contact the SFS Admissions Office if you have questions regarding your reference selection or any technical issues using the online form.

  • SFS Academic Reference should be completed by a teacher, professor or academic advisor who is well acquainted with your current academic performance.
  • SFS Character Reference should be completed by someone who knows you well, such as an academic source, a job supervisor, volunteer advisor, athletic coach, etc. It is not appropriate for this reference to be completed by a relative, peer, or family friend.


Official Transcript

Request current, official transcripts from all schools attended. It is not necessary for college students to submit high school transcripts after a full academic year of college coursework has been completed.

Many colleges and universities now issue official transcripts electronically. If your university offers this option, you may request for your electronic official transcript to be sent to If this is not an option for you, please have your official transcript sent via mail to SFS.


Participation Approval Form

Obtain approval from your institution's study abroad office. The Participation Approval Form is not part of the online process. All students must submit a completed Transcript Request Form (Page 3). This form provides the necessary information about where to send an official SFS transcript after completion of an SFS program.

Participation Approval Form

  • Students who will earn direct credit for their SFS program will receive one official SFS transcript at the address provided on the Transcript Request Form. An unofficial copy will be sent to your permanent home address as provided on the SFS Application.
  • Students who will earn University of Minnesota credit for their SFS program will receive one official transcript at the address provided on the Transcript Request Form 2-4 weeks following the conclusion of the program.


Send supporting documents (Transcripts, Participation Approval Form, References if not completed online) to:

The School for Field Studies
100 Cummings Center, Suite 534-G
Beverly, MA 01915

P: 800.989.4418
F: 978.922.3835

After You Apply

Once an application is received, you will be contacted by email with information about any missing materials. If your application is incomplete, it is your responsibility to follow up on any missing materials. SFS is unable to begin the application review process until all necessary materials are received. To expedite the completion of your application, we suggest that you submit all of your application materials together.

Once your application is complete, we will contact qualified candidates to schedule a short, informal phone interview. Admissions decisions are generally available within two to four weeks of completing your application. You should apply early to allow sufficient time for your application to be processed.

Please note that final acceptance to all programs is contingent upon medical approval. You will also be sent information on completing the Medical Approval Process and the Financial Aid Application after acceptance. If you would like to check the status of your application materials received by SFS, please click the My SFS link to log in to your account.