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.

Major academic themes include:

  • Rainforest ecology and conservation
  • Climate change resilience
  • Habitat restoration ecology
  • Threatened-species conservation
  • Aboriginal ecotourism
  • Post-logging forest recovery
  • Forest ecotones


On the Rainforest to Reef 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 3020 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values 4 credits
SFS 3690 Rainforest Ecology 4 credits
SFS 3700 Principles of Forest Management 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, research design and implementation, forest survey methods, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, marine ecosystem health assessment, and research presentation.

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities, which may include primary and secondary tropical rainforest, wet sclerophyll forests, coastal scrub and mangrove, Melaleuca swamps, coral reefs including the Great Barrier Reef, limestone caves in the outback, indigenous communities within the Daintree, 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.

Learn More
All program components are subject to change.