Rainforest to Reef


This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Australia. Read more about the SFS program model.

Major academic themes include:

  • Rainforest ecology and conservation
  • Climate change
  • Habitat restoration ecology
  • Threatened species conservation
  • Aboriginal ecotourism
  • Development and settlement in the rainforest
  • Rainforest fragmentation and recovery
  • Forest ecotones
  • Animal behavior


On the Tropical Rainforest Studies program, you will take three 4-credit disciplinary courses and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English.

Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus

SFS 3021 Environmental Sustainability and Socio-economic Values 4 credits
SFS 3691 Tropical Biome Ecology & Climate Change 4 credits
SFS 3701 Wildlife & Conservation Biology 4 credits
SFS 4910 Directed Research 4 credits

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS use and applications, species identification and population monitoring, forest survey methods, citizen science protocols, research design and implementation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and research presentation.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include primary and secondary tropical rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, tropical savanna, wet sclerophyll forests, coastal scrub and mangrove, Melaleuca (paperbark) swamps, Indigenous communities, and local conservation and restoration groups.

Directed Research

In the Directed Research course, each student completes a field research project under the mentorship of a faculty member – beginning with data collection and analysis and concluding with a research paper and presentation. Project subject areas span ecology, natural resource management, conservation science, environmental ethics, and socioeconomics.

Find Out More
All program components are subject to change.

Where You'll Be Living

At the end of a narrow, winding road, in the middle of a lush rainforest, lies this remote field station. Our 153-acre property is surrounded by protected World Heritage forests, and you can see incredible wildlife from the front steps of your cabin. Nearby Yungaburra and Cairns provide the occasional return to civilization.

  • Group living in 8-person cabins
  • Main building with classroom, lab, and study spaces
  • Student lounge with scenic porch views
  • Covered outdoor dining area, on-site cooking staff
  • Volleyball and extensive trail network for hiking
  • Swimming and running trails a nearby Crater Lake