Located on the eastern coast, Queensland is the second largest state in Australia. This part of the country is home to incredible ecological and geographic diversity, including the arid, sparsely populated bush (outback) to the west, the hills and mountains of the Great Dividing Range, subtropical and tropical rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef to the east. Brisbane, the capital, is Australia's third largest city with a population of about 1.4 million yet maintains a "small town" feel. With its tropical climate, numerous gardens and parks, and accessible location, it offers many attractions for visitors.
The Queensland program is based at the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia's largest university, and is organized in coordination with The School of Biological Sciences. Integrating field and lecture components, the program focuses on the marine and terrestrial ecology of eastern Australia and includes extended excursions that highlight the variety of ecosystems found in this region.
All students participating in the program will be required to take four courses:
The Terrestrial Ecology of Australia (1 credit)
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.
The Marine Ecology of Australia (1 credit)
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.
Australian Culture, Society, and Contemporary Issues (1 credit)
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.
Attitudes towards Environmental Change in Australia (1 credit)
This course will examine how Australians, both past and present, anticipate, perceive, and respond to changes in their local, regional, and/or global environment. Attitudes and actions towards both biotic (particularly fauna, such as birds, mammals and amphibians) and abiotic (such as water and carbon) components of the environment will be examined, as well as how philosophies of human-environment interrelatedness and historical relationships with the environment influence day-to-day interactions between humans and the environment. Contemporary attitudes and actions will be assessed by surveying grass-roots environmental efforts (such as non-profit organizations) and environmental policies of Australian governmental agencies. Past attitudes and actions will be examined through historical interactions and effects on the environment of Australian Aboriginals.
The Queensland program will be particularly appropriate for students intending to major or minor in the natural sciences, especially biology and environmental studies.
This program is open to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5 It is expected that students will have taken at least one introductory lab-based course in Biology, although preference is given to students with stronger science preparation. A course in Environmental Studies is recommended but not required. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. Students must also be cleared for participation by their physician for this physically-demanding program.
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.
A key feature of the program is a rigorous schedule of multi-day excursions to conduct field work at four sites in Australia:
Other site visits in and around Brisbane will be arranged.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition, room and board fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing, meals, and all course-related excursions. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books and other course materials, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation, commuter passes and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at approximately $1900-$2000 from the West Coast and books/materials at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.