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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Brisbane, Australia
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Restrictions: Union applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.5 Prerequisites: See below
Housing Options: Homestay Curricular Focus: Builds Experience in a Major, Research
Program Description:

This is a cooperative program with Hobart and William Smith Colleges through the Partnership for Global Education (PGE).

Australia, a country that's home to great biological and geologic diversity, becomes the classroom on this term abroad, with a focus on marine and terrestrial ecology of eastern Australia. This is a Partnership for Global Education Program run jointly with Hobart and William-Smith Colleges and organized in coordination with the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland (UQ), the country's largest university. It is located in Brisbane, a city of 1.4 million with a small-town feel.

Integrating field and lecture components, the program includes extended excursions that highlight a variety of ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef and the subtropical rainforest of Lamington National Park.

Course of Study

All students participating in the program will be required to take four courses:

The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia (BIO-350T)
This course examines the heritage of the terrestrial flora and fauna of Australia and assumes a basic familiarity with the biology and ecology of terrestrial systems. The origins and uniqueness of Australia's flora and fauna will be discussed in light of continental drift, as well as past and present Australian environments. The course combines lectures and field-based work with essays and research reports to develop knowledge of Australia's unique terrestrial environments and to provide the skills with which to investigate them. Field activities include excursions to Stradbroke Island (a large sand island bearing mainly wallum vegetation) and the rainforest at Lamington National Park. A visit to an arid inland site gives students further opportunity to examine and explore aspects of terrestrial ecology shaped by the harsh environment. Biology majors will receive major credit for this course. This can count as a science elective for Environmental Policy OR Environmental Science majors as well as Environmental Science and Policy minors.

The Marine Ecology of Australia (BIO-352T)
Students in this course are expected to have some familiarity with biological and ecological principles, sampling techniques and experimental design and statistics. The course draws together background knowledge of Australian marine systems and maritime resources with a variety of concepts and exercises in marine biology. The program takes participants from the rich diversity of the estuarine and coastal systems around Moreton Bay to Lady Elliot Island or Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It combines classroom lectures and field-based learning with essays and research reports to provide an understanding of tropical marine biology and ecology. Biology majors will receive major credit for this course. This can count as a science elective for Environmental Policy OR Environmental Science majors as well as Environmental Science and Policy minors.

Australian Culture, Society and Contemporary Issues (TAB-350T)
This overview of Australia draws upon the expertise of lecturers from a number of departments and programs (especially the Australian Studies Program and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Program) at the University of Queensland, as well as practitioners from a variety of fields. Among the topics that may be covered are: Aboriginal society and culture; European impact on the environment; sustainable agriculture and development; the Australian political system; the economy of Australia; health care and education; and nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. Discussions, journals, papers, and student presentations will provide a chance for reflection on the similarities and differences between the cultures of Australia and the United States.

Introduction to Urban Ecology (TBD)
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of urban ecology in Brisbane, Australia, a veritable world-class urban ecology laboratory. Through readings, lectures, class discussions, and field excursions, students will learn about a range of urban ecology topics ranging from the biological (e.g., bird habitat and bird behavior) to the physical (e.g., stormwater management and energy provision) to the socioeconomic (e.g., urban design and waste management).


  • One introductory lab-based course in Biology
  • One intermediate Biology course OR one introductory lab-based course in a natural science other than Biology OR permission of directors.
  • A course in Environmental Studies is highly recommended but not required.


A key feature of the program is a rigorous schedule of multi-day excursions to conduct fieldwork at four sites in Australia: North Stradbroke Island, a sand island in Moreton Bay about two hours from Brisbane; Lamington National Park, a subtropical rainforest three hours from Brisbane; Heron Island Research Station, Southern Great Barrier Reef; and the Saddler Springs–Mt. Moffat section of Carnarvon National Park, a drier, cattle ranching area of Queensland.


Students will be placed in homestays while in Brisbane and will stay in a variety of accommodation types while in the field, including hotels, research centers, and hostels.


(For specific dates, contact the International Programs Office, Old Chapel, Third Floor.)
  • January: Application deadline is the third Friday of winter term.
  • February: Accepted students must select "commit" or "decline" at the International Programs online application site to confirm participation 
  • Spring term: Orientation meetings
  • Late August: Program begins in Australia
  • Mid to late-November: Program ends

For More Information

Students may email Union faculty leaders, Professors Quynh Chu-LaCraff and Donald Rodbell

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.