If you want to work in the field in either marine or conservation biology, undertaking an idependent research project, then the CIEE Biology and Ecology Field Studies program in Western Australia is for you.
What’s it like to explore a 260 kilometer-long reef home to 250 different types of coral? Explore the fascinating environment that is Australia on CIEE’s Biology and Ecology Field Studies program. Conduct marine research at Ningaloo Reef and contribute to ongoing research on endangered marsupials in the forests of the south west of Western Australia. Unique coursework, extensive fieldwork with local scientists, and exciting excursions challenge you to examine environmental issues and start coming up with real-world solutions.
Study abroad in Perth and you'll:
- Enjoy an experiential learning model that feature field research, classroom lectures, and lab work
- Spend time conducting research at the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef, or in the biodiversity hotspot in the south west forests.
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $5 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
Gain hands-on experience as both a researcher and observer. You'll get to know Perth and Fremantle from an insider's view during fun opening activities like a surfing lesson. Then either head north to Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing coral reef in the world, to study tropical marine ecosystems, or undertake field research in conservation biology at the biodiversity hotspot of Manjimup.
Your work in the field will culminate in an Independent Research Project as your capstone project in either marine ecology or conservation biology. Fieldwork could include data collection on algae canopies, coral reef clam distribution, the density of marine snails, and the impact of crown-of-thorns starfish, and research into coral breakage, or tagging and gaining information on native marsupials for conservation biology, focusing on the endangered Woylie.
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.
- 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.
Spring 2017 (15 wks)
Program Date Notes
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 $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
Estimated Additional Costs
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.
to be announced
- Overall GPA 2.5
- 4 semesters of college-level biology or the equivalent
Total credit for the program is 16 semester / 24 quarter hours. Each of the CIEE courses includes 60 contact hours for 4 semester credits / 6 quarter hours.
Students take all classes on the study abroad 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 three 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.
You’ll also spend a good deal of time in the city of Fremantle which is located 20 kilometers down river from the capital of Perth. It is a working port city with rich culture and history. Many buildings that feature Federation style architecture from European settlement still exist. The city 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.
Meet The Staff
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
Classes will be held at our study center on the Murdoch University campus. The field-based research for conservation biology will take place in the biodiversity hotspot in the southwest of Western Australia, you will be based at Manjimup. The tropical marine ecology module will be based at Coral Bay, a town located on the Ningaloo Reef in the northwest of Western Australia. The Ningaloo Marine Park is home to 200 species of hard coral, 50 species of soft coral, and more than 500 species of fish. Students on the spring term likely will also see whale sharks, which inhabit the reef area from April through July each year.
Housing & Meals
Housing & Meals
Housing is included in the program fee. Housing will consist of university accommodation at Murdoch University, a 15-minute bus ride from the city of Fremantle. Meals are not included in the program fee. During the field study portion of the program, students will stay in accommodations near the Ningaloo Reef and Manjimup.
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 toward your goals.
You're encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Internet will be available in your housing and at local cafes.
Examine and explore in and around Perth while learning about diverse flora and fauna in the Outback or by taking an interactive hike with and aboriginal guide. Opportunities for engagement with the local culture are abundant and foster growth regarding cultural literacy and awareness.
You have the opportunity to be immersed in the local culture during field work, where you are able to work side by side with local researchers and staff to advance your studies outside of the regular academic schedule.
This program is designed for students with a biology focus who want to undertake field work in the unique environment that Australia has to offer. All students undertake the CIEE Research Methods and Geographical Information Systems for Conservation (GIS) courses. Students then take either Marine Ecology (Marine stream) or Conservation Biology (Terrestrial stream) before undertaking a capstone Independent Research Project at one of our two field sites in Ningaloo or Manjimup.
Module I: Week 1-6 (Required for all Students)
- Marine and Terrestrial Ecology Research Methods
- GIS for Conservation
Module II: Weeks 8-14 (Students select Marine and Terrestrial Stream
Students then split into either marine or terrestrial streams and undertake the following courses:
Marine Stream (Coral Bay / Ningaloo)
- Marine Biology and Ecology of Western Australia
- Independent Field Research Project
Terrestrial Stream (Manjimup)
- Conservation Biology
- Independent Field Research Project
Students return to CIEE Perth Study Center for final presentations and program wrap-up.
Language of Instruction
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 canceled 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.
ENVI 3002 FREO
Marine and Terrestrial Ecology Research Methods
Research in science is broadly based and utilises a range of methods. Students are introduced to a spectrum of research methods used in preparing for, doing and communicating the outcomes of research. Areas covered include using the literature in devising and evaluating research, statistical analysis, library facilities and research ethics. Writing literature reviews, writing up methods and presenting research at conferences and other meetings are also covered. Credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours. Contact hours: 60.
GEOG 3001 PEAU
GIS for Conservation
This course will provide students with a hands-on introduction to geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing as used in environmental management and planning. The course encourages spatial thinking and understanding of the physical and human enviornments, explores geographic data sources, and focuses on basic skills in spatial data analysis. Course topics include data sources, spatial data analysis, map construction, GPS, image classification, change detection, cartographic modelling, and demographic data sets and analysis. Practical exercises and a team-based or individual research project allow students to use important techniques in real-world applications. Credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours. Contact hours: 60.
Students choose either a terrestrial or marine focus for Module II. In addition to the required biology and ecology course for their chosen focus, all students must enroll in the Independent Field Research Project.
BIOL 3001 FREO / CONS 3001 FREO
The southwest region of Western Australia is known as a biodiversity hotspot with a large number of endemic species of flora and fauna. Students are introduced to GIS and introductory statistical research methods in this module. Students study key ecological concepts and techniques and their implementation in the field, as well as the major issues and approaches involved in the conservation of flora and fauna in Western Australia. Topics: biodiversity, population biology and conservation, extinction and populations at risk, management of biota in conservation areas, and translocations and reintroduction of biota. The course includes a combination of fieldwork, lectures, and workshops. It also includes a directed research project culminating in a research report and presentation. Recommended credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours (30 lecture hours, 60 lab hours).
ECOL 3001 FREO / BIO 3002 FREO
Marine Biology and Ecology of Western Australia
Based at the CIEE field station at Ningaloo Reef, students are able to study 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 impacts and conservation of marine environments are addressed. This unit will take place predominantly at the field station in the Ningaloo Marine Park. The course will include a directed research project culminating in a research report and presentation. Credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours. Contact hours: 60 (30 lecture hours and 60 lab hours).
BIOL 3003 PEAU
Independent Field Research Project
Students conduct research on a biology project under the direct supervision of a faculty advisor. The topic will be developed by the student under the guidance of faculty. Students will work independently on reviewing the literature, creating a bibliography, defining research methods, sampling, analysis of data, presentation of research findings in a public setting and writing a manuscript according to peer-reviewed journal formatting requirements. Students learn the basic elements of the research process: defining a topic, formulating a research question, seeking answers using the appropriate field and laboratory research methods, verbalizing research results, presenting scientific research in a public forum, and writing a scientific manuscript. Credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours.