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Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC)

QERC - Quetzal Education Research Center

The Quetzal Education Research Center (QERC) offers an intentional living-learning community focused on sustainability studies and research. From their website: QERC “brings students and researchers from around the world, including the host country, to engage dialogue and research focused on the tropical cloud forest and its floral and faunal community for the purpose of sustainability. QERC works to integrate local people with research scientists, educators, and students from around the world in the effort to merge good conservation practice and economic viability in the local community.” Housed in San Gerardo De Dota, you'll live with your peers and professors and have access to a library, kitchen, and common areas. Full of adventure and learning, this semester will not disappoint!

Visit the QERC website to learn more!

Find out more

All Messiah approved semester-long, off-campus programs are approved and designed to meet the requirements for the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI). To learn more about the process, please explore the ELI Off-Campus Study Information Page.

Students will complete all of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) requirements that are a part of this program.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

2.75 GPA or higher

Since studying off-campus for a semester is a privilege, please note the following implications of being place on probation at Messiah College:

Chapel Probation: A student currently on chapel probation for the first time (or with an impending chapel probation for the upcoming semester) will be required to communicate or meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.  If a student has been placed on chapel probation more than once during their time at Messiah, they will not be eligible to study off-campus for a semester.

Academic Probation or Low GPA: A student on academic probation or whose GPA drops below 2.75 will be not be eligible to study off-campus.

Disciplinary Probation: A student who has been placed on disciplinary probation at any time during the off-campus study application / acceptance process will be required to meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.

Off-Campus study is a time of challenge and change. The following are some things you should understand about this program before you participate. Students at QERC should anticipate:

  • Living in close-quarters with fellow QERC students. Students will be housed in bunk rooms with several others.
  • Walking often in a hot, humid climate.
  • Experiencing significant cultural differences including gender and racial tensions and the possibility of negative verbal attention. Specifically, this may include observing machismo in practice and female students being recipients of catcalls.
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, field trips and assignments.
  • Regularly experiencing uncertainty and changes in plans.
  • Food-borne illnesses, mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Travelling and living in close quarters in locations where medical and mental health services are limited.

Courses may meet major or general education requirements.

Courses will appear on Messiah transcripts with letter grades.

Students will meet their third language/cross-cultural requirement by participating in this program.  Students will not earn 3 credits, rather the requirement will be waived.

Pass/Fail Option

During their college careers, students may take a maximum of four courses on a pass/fail (P/F) basis with these conditions: 

  • Such a course must be from a discipline other than those required for the student's major or minor.
  • Courses fulfilling requirements for a major, minor, or general education may not be used.
  • Students may declare their intention to take a course under the Pass/Fail option when they register or through the first calendar week of classes at the beginning of the new term. Students may also select to return to the letter grade system during this same time period. The selection cannot be changed after the first calendar week of classes.
  • The cut-off point to obtain a P is C–.
  • The instructor will submit only conventional letter grades to the Registrar's Office. This office will then convert the grade to P or F. (An instructor does not know which students are taking a course on a pass/fail basis.

The first FIVE DAYS of your classes are critical:

Recognizing that courses change while abroad, a student is required to communicate to the Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes if their Off-Campus Course Approval Form in Terra Dotta has changed since the original submission/approval. Specifically, if a student desires to change a course to a pass/fail instead of a letter grade, this must be approved by Messiah College Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes at the host partner program.

Auditing

Students are required to take no fewer than 12 credits towards their overall degree requirements and no more than 18 credits. These 12-18 credits include courses taken as pass/fail and letter grades. However, in addition to those 12-18 degree credits, students who would like to audit an academic course for no credit are permitted to do so for up to one 4 credit hour course for the sake of learning, cultural immersion or personal interest at no additional charge. This audited course will not appear on the Messiah College student’s transcript.

What do you pay?

TOTAL COSTS = Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Messiah board + Student services fee.

Explore possible scholarships for this program. 

These Costs Include:

  • tuition, housing, meals
  • educational excursions
  • pre-departure and re-entry orientation  
  • international travel insurance
  • student services fee
    • Student Services fee includes access to various services available to all students, including internet access, the Learning & Writing Centers, Career Services, Disability Services, Library, Department of Safety, Intercultural Office Off-Campus Programs, and other campus offices that provide services to students both on and off campus.

Note: additional fees students may encounter include (but are not limited to) transportation, visas, passports, immunizations, and course fees.

NOTE: STUDENTS COMPLETING THEIR SOCIAL WORK SENIOR FIELD EXPERIENCES THROUGH UGANDA STUDIES PROGRAM WILL BE ASSESSED ADDITIONAL FEES. 

Credit Limit Policy for Semester-Long, Off-Campus Program

Typically when students study off-campus in Messiah-approved, semester-long programs, students earn between 13 and 18 credits. All students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The tuition/fees charged for Messiah’s approved study abroad programs permits a student to complete 12-18 credits.  Messiah College will process up to 18 credits.  If a student completes more than 18 credits and would like the additional credits applied to their transcript, additional tuition will be charged for credits over 18 and would be assessed after the official transcript is received/processed by Messiah.

Updated 08 April 2019

 *Note: Off-campus study fee increases annually at the same rate as the yearly tuition increase. 

Messiah Pre-Approval Deadlines

  • Fall - December 1
  • Spring - April 1

QERC Deadline

  •  Fall - TBD
  • Spring - May 10, 2020 (early registration); October 11, 2020 (final deadline)

Rolling admissions; students are strongly encouraged to apply early.

Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from this program.