Overview | Academics | Cost | Location | Life Abroad | Student Voices
Offered through the School for Field Studies (SFS), the program in Australia is co-sponsored by UW-Madison. The program takes place at the Center for Rainforest Studies located in Yungaburra, Queensland, Australia. The astonishing biodiversity of Australia's rainforest and the country's dynamic conservation efforts make Queensland an extraordinary laboratory for studying rainforest management and restoration. The goals of the program are to understand the dynamics of rainforest ecosystems, including potential impacts of global climate change, and in turn develop rainforest restoration strategies that benefit both ecosystems and human communities.
SFS staff and students focus on enhancing the condition of tropical rainforests. Students learn professional field research techniques as they collect data and work on restoration projects. Students are actively involved in either rainforest replanting or site maintenance with local groups. This program is designed for all students who like to learn in an interdisciplinary and experiential environment, although it may be most appropriate for students with biology or ecology- related majors. Highlights of the program include field research, participation in field trips, community service trips, and the opportunity to gain research experience through an independent project.
The program takes place at the Center for Rainforest Studies located in Yungaburra, Queensland, Australia. The astonishing biodiversity of Australia's rainforest and the country's dynamic conservation efforts make Queensland an extraordinary laboratory for studying rainforest management and restoration.
Getting to Your Program
Students make their own travel arrangements but are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
A student visa is required. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. SFS will provide you with visa information.
Students are required to participate in a pre-departure orientation at UW-Madison as well as an on-site orientation upon arrival in country. The orientations are designed to introduce students to the program and prepare them for living abroad.
The Center for Rainforest Studies SFS field station lies at the end of the Atherton Tablelands in the heart of the traditional land of the Yidinji people. Students share comfortably furnished eight person cabins, located in the rainforest, with adjacent shower and bathroom facilities. The main building has a fully-equipped computer laboratory, internet access, up-to-date scientific library, and a common room. Meals are provided for the duration of the program.
Excursions and Activities
Students participate in a pre-departure orientation at UW-Madison as well as an on-site orientation upon arrival in country. Participants will take field trips to examine an array of forest types. Camping, hiking, traveling, and research may all be part of the trips. Past locations have included: camping in the Outback, Cape Tribulation, the Daintree River and Environment Center, and the TREAT nursery. In addition, a variety of cultural events and activities are available to students.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
The Australian government also requires all students have Overseas Health Cover (OSHC).
School for Field Studies Center Director and staff
Use the links below to find out more information on academics, daily life and student impressions for this program.SFS Academic Notes
(Summer - 2012-13)SFS Academic Notes
(Summer - 2012-13)SFS Academic Notes
(Fall - 2013-14)
Returned Student Network
to see testimonials from students abroad or to contact a returned student.
"With the program, I am immersed in the issues, talking with real people, working on solutions for an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable future. The more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn more. For every question answered, I find several more waiting to be asked."
SFS's interdisciplinary, experiential approach to education is designed to train students to learn by doing. As students engage in high-quality field research, they begin to understand the challenges of confronting environmental issues. Students are given the opportunity to work side by side with an international research team and learn state-of-the-art field research skills. Each field station is staffed by a Center Director and two to three full-time, resident faculty. Most of the SFS faculty are native to the country/region in which they teach.
This program offers three different academic options to choose from: a semester option and two summer options. All of the options combine classroom-based academics with field study. Students should expect an academically intensive experience and be willing to learn in a variety of settings.
Semester students are registered in four academic courses: Rainforest Ecology (four credits), Principles of Forest Management (four credits), Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values (four credits), and Directed Research (four credits).
Students have two summer options. Session I: Tropical Rainforest Studies in Australia and New Zealand (four credits): students compare and contrast the ecological, geographical, social, economic, and historical factors that have shaped natural resource management in far north Queensland and northern New Zealand. Session II (four credits): Techniques for Rainforest Research: students explore Australia's tropical forests and develop effective rainforest research skills while learning about rainforest conservation. Students can also participate in both summer options.
School for Field Studies
Program Web Page(s)
SFS Australia and Australia/New Zeland programs
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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