The instruction of our students is guided by EARTH’s Educational Model, comprised of five components: our institutional mission, our graduate profile, our educational principles, our teaching and learning processes, and our curricular structure. 

To fulfill our mission, we developed an educational model based on general skills and the holistic, humanistic, and social learning of the students. For four years, students work to develop technical competences applicable to agricultural and natural resources management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, social and environmental responsibility, and the strengthening of their values. After four years, EARTH grants the Agricultural Engineering title with a degree in Agricultural Sciences.

EARTH Graduate Profile
The profile of the EARTH graduate describes the knowledge, abilities, capacities, and attitudes that define the graduates’ competencies, determining the direction of the teaching-learning process. Students develop these competencies during their four years at the University and apply them throughout their lives.
Educational Principles
At EARTH, the process of educating students is based on three educational principles:

Student-centered Learning

At EARTH, students, as individuals or in a group, explore problems and become active participants instead of passive receivers of knowledge. They learn to solve problems and to reach conclusions through reflection and structured value judgements, all while building their critical reasoning skills. In student-centered learning, the professor focuses on the design and application of the processes that enable students to play an active role in their own learning, taking into consideration each students’ learning style. This way, the professor leaves behind the traditional role of information carrier and conveyor.


Learning-by-Doing provides students opportunities to build their knowledge base and develop skills that allow for an immediate and relevant meaning to what they have learned, in a predesigned environment. Thus, at EARTH, professors enable the learning-induction process through students’ lived experiences and reflection on such experiences. They encourage critical analysis to teach them to use individual criteria, which means judging, assessing, and relying solely on one’s own ideas to have a more reflective way of thinking towards others and themselves. This guarantees the understanding of phenomena that may occur during the students’ personal growth, thereby inducing the students’ quest and understanding of creative solutions.

Learning by Living Together

Learning by Living Together focuses on the learning process through the interaction and dialogue between individuals, the promotion of tolerance, acceptance of differences, understanding, having empathy and mutual respect. It is based on the idea that the social environment and interpersonal relationships are fundamental for the integral development of people. Through the experience of living together, such as working in teams, resolving conflicts, listening and understanding different perspectives, expressing their positions, students learn social, communicative and emotional skills. Learning by living together fosters tolerance, collaboration, solidarity and the ability to adapt to different contexts, preparing students to be responsible citizens committed to society.
Formative Areas
The competencies in the EARTH Graduate Profile can be grouped into four educational areas: technical and scientific know-how, development of social and environmental conscience and commitment, personal development of attitudes and values, and entrepreneurship. These areas are closely interrelated and are the structural backbone of the curriculum.
Technical and scientific know-how
This area comprises all the knowledge, abilities, and skills that will make the EARTH graduate a competent professional in the technical areas required to work in sustainable agriculture and adequately manage natural resources. This area materializes in the curriculum mainly through the courses included in the syllabus.
This area is aimed at focusing education on social and environmental responsibility towards their community and surroundings. Thus, leadership abilities for positive change are strengthened. This aspect materializes both in the classroom and in the field, in student participation and engagement in experience-building activities, while conducting social development projects in their communities, and with different co-curricular and other institutional activities, programs, and projects, such as volunteering in local and regional projects.

This area is the development of intra- and interpersonal skills guiding students to become effective leaders. Among these competencies are self-awareness, empathy, respect towards others and towards different ideas, teamwork, effective communication, and becoming an autonomous learner for the rest of their lives. This area also includes the understanding and practice of institutional values and attitudes driving and supporting human actions to promote dialogue, peace, and understanding among people. 

This is all materialized mainly by taking advantage of dialogue opportunities and through participative activities designed to induce reflection, based on the experienceof spending four years in a diverse and multicultural environment. This is also materialized in the syllabus, through those courses in which students deliberately learn ways to develop their intra- and interpersonal competencies.

In this area the student develops competencies as an entrepreneur, able to proactively generate development opportunities while seeking solutions to actual problems. Therefore, the student develops the ability to assess, plan, organize, manage, and execute a business project. During the first three years of their career, students set the required know-how in motion to create and manage a business. They learn to make decisions and take risks to create products and provide services based on social and environmental responsibility.
Curricular Structure
The structure comprises the syllabus and all the activities, both formal and informal, linked to the formation of our students. One of EARTH’s strengths is having an inverse curriculum in which students begin their studies with a systemic approach on agricultural production and natural resources management. As their learning progresses, they focus on the details of production systems and how to manage natural resources. With the inverse curriculum approach, students live and experience the reality of agricultural production from the technical, social, environmental, and business perspectives right from the start of their studies, thus facilitating the construction of their learning process.
The syllabus has different competency-linked intentions in each year:

Holistic Vision (First year)

Holistic, global, and systemic vision of agriculture and natural resources, entrepreneurial thinking, base agricultural communication, and formation.

Sustainable Management (Second year)

Sustainable production management, entrepreneurship, and interactions with the community.

Social Commitment (Third year)

Competency integration and application, sharing knowledge with the community, and social awareness and commitment development.

Project Leadership (Fourth year)

Leadership in projects, application of technology, and production of knowledge with a global vision of agriculture and natural resources, as well as professional independence.

Spanish Program

Non-Spanish speaking students go through the Spanish-language and Cultural Immersion Program. The program is for our accepted students who come from communities in African and Caribbean countries and don’t speak Spanish. Their new language skills are essential, as our courses are mainly conducted in Spanish.  This additional skill also enhances their professional profile after they leave EARTH. 

At the program’s start, students participate in a 20-week intensive phase consisting of four modules: Spanish, Multicultural Immersion, a Psychoeducational evaluation, and Math skills.

In the Spanish Module, students take classes 20 hours per week, complemented with informative and work experience visits to EARTH’s academic farms for animal production, crops, organic production systems, and peri-urban agriculture. They also visit the water, soil, and natural sciences laboratories, the Center for Research and Development of Renewable Energies, and other academic spaces at EARTH University. Students study and develop the target language competencies for levels A1, A2, and B1 through these classes based on EARTH’s pillars.

Once these students begin their regular University studies, they continue taking Spanish-language classes and workshops during the first two quarters of their first year.

Community Development Program
EARTH students rotate through six experiential learning scenarios in their first and second years, in which they work on agricultural and rural development projects led by fourth-year students. One of these scenarios is the Community Development Program (CDP), geared toward mobilizing change for rural sustainability.
The Community Development Program covers three strategic areas:
Social-Organizational: Building networks through strategic alliances allows the sharing of development knowledge in our communities, thereby strengthening and transforming community organizations and citizen participation projects.
Sustainable Agriculture: We work on processes for sustainable agriculture that can lead a community to carbon neutrality, promoting a sustainable and healthy economy.
Added Entrepreneurial Value: Entrepreneurial awareness is necessary for micro, small, and medium-sized farmers or enterprises to make financial decisions for their projects based on a reliable economic structure.
The Licenciatura degree (between a bachelor’s and a master’s degree) in Agricultural Sciences offered at EARTH University was officially accredited by the Costa Rican Higher Education Accreditation System (SINAES in Spanish) on November 2, 2006. Our degree has maintained its official accreditation uninterruptedly. By agreement of the highest body of SINAES, the degree was revalidated in 2010 and 2017, and according to an agreement taken by the National Accreditation Council on March 29, 2022, in its session 1572, the official accreditation is extended until 2026.
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