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Australia II Study Group, University of Wollongong

Director Spring 2016: Professor Eddie Watkins, Department of Biology


All participants are required to enroll in and complete four courses during the spring term at the University of Wollongong.  Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.

Students elect three courses and must enroll in the one required course described below:

BIOL 303:  Australian Biogeography and Biodiversity
(Eddie Watkins)
This seminar course focuses on the biodiversity of the modern Australian fauna and flora, with an emphasis on both terrestrial and marine organisms.  Australia arguably has one of the most distinctive biotas on earth. We will explore the various processes – including dispersal, adaptive radiation, human hunting, land management, and fire – that have shaped life in Australia and nearby islands.  The subject begins in ancient Gondwanaland and ends with modern efforts to conserve Australia’s plants and animals.  Attention is paid to the relationship between people, including both aborigines and those of European descent, and nature in Australia. Through class discussion, critical reading, independent research, field trips, and guest lecturers, we consider how the geologic and environmental history of Australia shaped biodiversity and how human interactions have affected those natural communities.  We will explore how global environmental issues have contributed to losses of the unique Australian biota and discuss how different cultural perspectives within Australia help shape policy and management decisions. Field excursions to locations of cultural and ecological significance in New South Wales will exemplify Australia’s rich and diverse terrestrial and marine environments and cultural heritage and illustrate current challenges in environmental protection and management.  Guest lecturers will feature Australian biologists from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences and also from Aboriginal Studies. 

Three Course Electives 
(University of Wollongong Faculty)
The remaining three courses are electives that will be chosen by the student in consultation with the program director and the student’s academic advisor at Colgate.  One elective must be chosen from a group of courses that explore the cultural and social history of Australia.  These courses vary from one semester to the next but in the past have included ABST150 (Introduction to Aboriginal Australia) and HIST203 (Australia and the Great War).  Of the other electives, one must be in the Natural Sciences or Mathematics. 

Australian History Seminar 
(faculty member from the University of Wollongong)
This mini-course is a four-day seminar held during Thursday-Friday of orientation week and Saturday-Sunday during a subsequent weekend.  The first two days includes lecture and discussion of the history, politics, and culture of Australia.  A later two-day session includes an overnight trip to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery, and Parliament House.


Although students from any department or program are eligible to participate in the Australia II Study Group, preference will be given to individuals with a concentration or minor in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division.  Preference also will be granted to those students who will have completed their distribution requirements in the humanities, the natural sciences and mathematics, and the social sciences at Colgate.  Additionally, the University of Wollongong requires a GPA of 3.0 for matriculation in their international student Study Abroad Program.

You may gather additional information from the University of Wollongong's website for international students at www.uow.edu.au.

Living Arrangements

Students live in one of several residence halls of the University of Wollongong (e.g., Campus East, Weerona College). Amenities vary with housing selection. Dining facilities, computers, and internet access are available. Colgate students have access to the social, athletic, recreational, computer, and library facilities of the University of Wollongong. Some of these require payment of a separate fee.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Spring 2016 Australia II Study Group is Friday, November 7, 2014.   Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online.  Student notification of selections will take place late December 2014.


The application process to the University of Wollongong will commence in earnest in September 2015 and course selections in late October and early November 2015.

The Study Group will depart for Australia around February 15, 2016. There is a week-long orientation in late February and classes for the autumn session (our spring) begin in early March. The academic calendar for the autumn session at the University of Wollongong runs fourteen weeks with a scheduled one-week-long recess in late April. The 2-week final exam period is in mid- to late June and students must stay for exams.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2016.  All students participating on the Australia II Study Group will be required to obtain Australian non-award student visas.  With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with Australian visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the regulations.  For all students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs. 

Program Dates

Australia II Study Group program approximate dates: mid-February to late-June 2016

Informational Sessions

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Both informational sessions will be held in Ho 238.

More Information

For more information, contact Professor Eddie Watkins, 129 Ho Science Center or jwatkins@colgate.edu

Sponsoring Departments

Natural Sciences and Mathematics