Climate change, energy, water scarcity, mining, coastal management, and the need for conservation are just a few of the issues facing Australia today.
Through extensive coursework, field work, excursions, and activities, Tropical Marine Ecology in Perth will challenge you to explore marine biological processes with a focus on tropical reef ecosystems in Australia’s inimitable coastal environments.
Study abroad in Perth and you will:
- Explore the country’s fantastically unique marine ecosystems through extensive hands-on fieldwork at Ningaloo Reef, one of the top five diving destinations in the world
- Live and study in close proximity to the Australian coast which features a diverse tropical reef ecosystem
- Meet with local organizations focused on many areas of conservation and the environment
- Learn from highly respected professors, researchers, and experts in the field
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
If you have a passion for marine biology we have the courses for you:
- Explore marine biology and ecology in the context of Western Australia
- Discover internationally recognized field research methods for understanding and analyzing coral reef ecology
- Study the biology, physiology, and ecology of marine plants and animals
- Discover the challenges and conservation issues impacting this important marine park
In Perth, the Ningaloo Reef—the longest fringing barrier reef in Australia and the only example in the world of extensive fringing coral reef on the west coast of a continent—is your laboratory. At the CIEE field station you’ll apply internationally recognized field research methods within an inquiry-driven approach to understanding coral reef ecology. The focus of the work is in training you in field observation, data collection, record keeping, and data analysis in order to study the ecology of coral reef organisms, populations, and communities.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Program Date Notes
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, field trips, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $340 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee
International Airfare *
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
- Overall GPA 2.75
- 2 semesters of college-level biology required
- Upper-level coursework in ecology recommended
Total recommended credit is 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
Students take all classes in the program.
About the City
About The City
Perth is the state capital of Western Australia. With a population of 1.8 million people, its many contrasts range from skyscrapers and nightlife to more than 30 miles of white sandy beaches. It is ranked as Australia’s most environmentally attractive city, has more hours of sunshine than any other Australian city, and was ranked in a 2010 survey as one of the world’s top 10 lifestyle destinations. The local population enjoys a cosmopolitan outdoor lifestyle; first-class cultural, social, and recreational amenities; and excellent proximity to the major cities of Asia.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Paul Hollick has worked with the CIEE program in Perth since 2001 and has a wide range of experience in the fields of tertiary and sports administration and recreation. His work with CIEE equips him with considerable experience in revealing his native state of Western Australia to students from across the U.S. Though he has lived most of his life in Perth, Paul has traveled extensively in Europe, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Paul possesses a B.Sc. in environmental science from Edith Cowan University, demonstrating his life-long commitment to the environment and all things green. His other interests include football, rugby, camping, water sports, and all outdoor recreation.
The Ningaloo Marine Park stretches approximately 300km along the west coast of the Cape Range Peninsula near Exmouth, Western Australia approximately 1200km north of Perth. Ningaloo Reef, the longest fringing barrier reef in Australia, and the only example in the world of extensive fringing coral reef on the west coast of a continent. It is also easily accessible from the beach, forming a natural lagoon which makes it easy to explore the reef.
The reef is located in a transition zone between tropical and temperate waters and sustains tropical and temperate plants and animals, with many species at the limit of their distribution. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see the whale sharks, which visit the reserve each year between March and June.
As a participant on the Tropical Ecology program you will have the rare opportunity to experience and study at the Ningaloo Reef during your time on our Tropical Marine Ecology summer program.
— Paul Hollick, Resident Director
Dr. Kate Rodger works in the School of Environmental Science at Murdoch University as lecturer in Australian environmental issues. She is a natural resource sociologist with expertise in natural area tourism and biodiversity conservation. Current research interests include human-wildlife interactions in the marine and terrestrial environment, identifying and minimizing visitor impacts through visitor management techniques in protected areas, improving links between science and policy, and integrating ecological and social sciences in nature tourism research. Kate has travelled extensively around Australia and the world, having spent time in Europe, America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
The City of Fremantle is located 20 km’s down river from the capital Perth. It is a working port city with rich culture and history. Many buildings that feature Federation style architecture from European settlement still exist. It has a population of roughly 25,000 and is also the base for Notre Dame University (Australia). Fremantle offers students the opportunity to be part of a more vibrant community and have the chance to participate in a variety of co-curricular activities.
The majority of the program will be based at Coral Bay, a town based on the Ningaloo Reef in the north west of Western Australia.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Housing is included in the program fee. Housing will consist of a rented accommodation in close vicinity of Fremantle. During the field study portion of the program, students will stay in cabin-style accommodations on the beach near the Ningaloo Reef.
Meals are not included in the program fee and can be either prepared by students in the accommodations provided or eaten at local restaurants and cafes in Fremantle. During the field stay, students will be taken to a supermarket to purchase groceries.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in Perth even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Meeting with students online, the resident director shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s aim for the pre-departure orientation is simple—to help you understand more about the program, and identify your objectives so that you arrive well-informed and return home having made significant progress towards your goals.
During the mandatory on-site orientation, you will participate in programs organized by CIEE. The goal is to introduce you to the country, culture, and academic program, as well as provide practical information about living in Australia in general, and in Fremantle, specifically. You will also be told of your academic obligations.
Sessions include lectures on Australian history, politics, geography, and safety. Ongoing support is provided by CIEE staff on an individual and group basis throughout the program.
You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Internet will be available in your housing and at local cafes.
The Tropical Marine Ecology program is designed to engage students in tropical marine biology and ecology issues found in Western Australia. Students will integrate formal coursework and hands-on engagement with the environment.
The program is designed for highly motivated students who want to combine classroom-based studies with field-based experiential learning. Students may participate in this program in conjunction (before or after) with the CIEE Perth Arts and Sciences program.
Students will have a brief orientation to Fremantle and Western Australia. Then before we leave for fieldwork at Ningaloo there will be introductory classes in marine ecology and field research methods.
Students will then undertake field research at Ningaloo. The field research will include studying the biology, physiology, and ecology of marine plants and animals as well as human impact on, and conservation issues at, the Ningaloo Reef marine park.
Assessment will comprise of a group presentation, individual field report, and short answer test.
An e-Portfolio will be also be required to reflect students continuous assessment throughout the program and allow them to critically reflect on their experiences and learning.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be cancelled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
MARI 3004 FREO
Marine Ecology Field Research Methods
Students apply internationally recognized field research methods within an inquiry-driven approach to understanding coral reef ecology. The course focuses on training students in field observation, data collection, record keeping, and data analysis in order to study the ecology of coral reef organisms, populations, and communities. During the course, students conduct observation and begin fieldwork with a trained marine biologist. As possible, students will be introduced to, and involved in, ongoing research projects at the Ningaloo Marine Park. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours
ECOL 3003 FREO / BIOL 3003 FREO
Marine Biology and Ecology in Western Australia
Based at the CIEE field station at Ningaloo Reef students are able to study tropical marine ecosystems in a pristine coral reef environment. This module provides an introduction to Western Australian biogeography and habitats, covering advanced topics in biology, physiology, and ecology of marine plants and animals. Human impact and conservation of tropical marine environments are addressed. This unit will take place predominantly at the field station. Recommended credit: 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours
Co -Curricular Activities
PADI SCUBA open water diving certification will be included in the program fee. Given the location and intensity of the program, most activities will be embedded as elements in the courses themselves.