Field course applications are due on Friday, January 31st (4:30 pm). Your application must be accompanied by your transcript and proof of payment of the $350 deposit. Please submit your application to Mrs. Sue Whyte in ESC 351C.
1. Read all of the information in the FAQ section of this website.
2. Go to the OUPFB website (oupfb.ca), and look at the list of courses. Pay particularly attention to the far right hand column. Is there a course there that you are interested in? The 2020 course listings will be posted by the end of the first week of January 2020.
3. Download the course description, make sure the course is appropriate for you, and make sure that you have the pre-requisites.
4. Confirm that you have appropriate finances in place.
5. Fill out the OUPFB application form, and submit it to Mrs. Sue Whyte in ESC 351 C. Pay your $350 deposit according to the instructions below. Make sure you understand the conditions around this deposit.
While the list of 2020 field courses can be found at: http://www.oupfb.ca/modules.html (posted by end of first week of January) Waterloo only has access to some of these courses. See the list of courses (and dates) below for which there are spots available for Waterloo students:
a. Belize: Rainforest and Reef - 26 April - 9 May 2020 (4 Waterloo students)
b. Algonquin: Aquatic Insect Behavioural Ecology - 3 May - 16 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
c. Queen's University Biological Station: Fish Ecology and Fisheries - 3 May - 16 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
d. Taiwan: Dolphin and Whale Biology - 3 May - 16 May 2020 (3 Waterloo students)
e. Toronto: Ecological Monitoring in an Urban Ecosystem - 4 May-15 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
f. Thailand: Tropical Forest Ecology and Conservation - 5 May - 20 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
g. Fen River, China: Environment and Biodiversity - 5 May - 19 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
h. New York State: Adirondack Forest Ecology - 5 May - 20 May 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
i. Kenya: Biodiversity Conservation in East Africa - 6 June - 21 June 2020 (2 Waterloo students)
j. Toronto: Urban Water Ecosystems - 16 Aug - 30 August 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
k. Ecaudor: Tropical Biodiversity - 1 August - 21 August 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
l. Yangtze River, Eastern China: Effects of human development in aquatic environments - 10 August - 23 August 2020 (5 Waterloo students)
m. Tanzania: Wildlife and Ecology in East Africa - 15 August - 31 August 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
n. Huntsman Marine Biology Center, New Brunswick: Experimental Studies in Marine Biology - 15 August - 31 August 2020 (1 Waterloo student)
You need to be in good standing in your program in order to be eligible. Placement in field courses will depend on your program (applicability to your discipline - e.g., Environmental Science - Ecology students will be placed before Biochemistry students), your standing and record in your program, and the timely submission of both deposit and application. We do our best to place students, but it is not always possible. Dr. Swanson's decisions are not negotiable.
We will not be able to place students in field courses after April 1st. There will be absolutely no exceptions to this rule, no matter what extenuating circumstances are present. Fourth year students: please do your degree checks early in the semester, as last minute registrations are not possible.
The University of Waterloo is a member of the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology. As a member, the University of Waterloo offers Field Biology courses (modules) that are available to Waterloo students, as well as students from other universities that participate in the program. Waterloo students may enroll in courses offered by Waterloo, as well as field courses offered by other universities that participate in the program. The field courses are intensive one or two week courses that typically take place away from university campuses. The courses involve hands on field instruction, and students are typically required to complete a small field project, usually on a topic that they have chosen in consultation with the course professor(s). Class sizes are typically small and enrollment in each course is limited, which provides students with the opportunity for much more interaction with the course professors than regular courses provide. Currently, ~14 universities participate in the program. http://www.oupfb.ca/
For those interested in registering in a field course in 2020, please attend the information session in January 2020. Details on this session will be posted here by December 20, 2019.
During this session, you will be provided with information about the field biology program, and you will be given an opportunity to identify courses that you may be interested in for 2020.
Yes. If you take a two week field course, you will receive 0.5 Biology credits.
No. You will receive a BIOL 490A, BIOL 490B, BIOL 491A, BIOL 491B, BIOL 498A, or BIOL 498B credit.
This will depend on the course that you take. There are different costs associated with different courses. Courses that require air travel are typically more expensive. Regardless of which course you take, a $350.00 deposit is required with your application.
The field course deposit fee can be paid electronically at:
You must be enrolled as a student at the University of Waterloo. Additional requirements (such as SCUBA certification) will depend on the course in question. Note that some courses take place in different countries, and require that you possess a valid passport. If you enroll in a course that takes place in a different country, be sure that you obtain/possess a passport that is valid for no less than six months after the course ends.
This really depends on your personal interests. In 2020, there were ~30 different courses offered offered, and Waterloo has guaranteed access to a subset of these courses (see above). Each course runs at a specific time in a specific location, and there is a different cost associated with each course offered. To view the courses offered this year, visit the Ontario Universities Program in Biology Website
8. How do I apply to take a field course?
You must first decide which field courses you are interested in, and you must then complete an application form and return it to Sue Whyte (ESC 351C) no later than Friday, January 31, 2020. A deposit of $350 is also due on this date: https://university-of-waterloo.myshopify.com/products/biol-490-oupfb-field-course-deposit.
When you hand in your application to Mrs. Sue Whyte, be sure to include confirmation (print out the confirmation page) of payment of your deposit!
You should contact the instructor for the course in question.
The default is for your field course to appear on your transcript as a FALL term course (e.g., Fall 2020). If you want the course to appear on you Winter term 2020 transcript (e.g., this is the last course you need to graduate, and you want to convocate with your class), please fill out the Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations Form and submit to Sue Whyte. For this to work, the field course needs to occur EARLY (before the end of May), and you need to confirm with your course instructor (email them using the contact info on the course description) that the instructor can have a grade available for you by the first week of June. If your field course occurs in spring and you are taking other spring courses, you must ensure that dates for labs, exams, etc do not conflict; some instructors may be willing to accommodate time off campus for field courses, whereas others will not, and they are not required to.
Please note that field courses will now appear on your transcript with a text box that specifies the date of the course.
The date that the balance of your payment is due depends on the field course in which you are enrolled. The course descriptions indicate when the balance of your fee must be received, and to whom it must be sent to (usually the field course coordinator at the university which is offering the course that you are taking). It is critical that you pay the balance by the required date, or you could be removed from the course and your place might be given to someone else. View a list of field course coordinators for all participating universities (PDF). It is important to note that the fee for your field course is tax deductible in the same way that tuition fees can be deducted. Your field course instructor will normally provide you with a receipt for the balance of your payment at the time of the course.
Possibly. Since a spot in a field course was reserved for you, you will only get your $350.00 refunded if another student is found to take your place. If you discover that you cannot take a field course very close to the time that the course is offered, and you have already paid both the deposit and the remaining balance of the course fee, it may not be possible to refund either. This will especially be the case if accommodations, food, and airfares have already been purchased for you. As a result, please be thoughtful when you sign up for a field course. You should strongly consider purchasing cancellation insurance if the course you have selected involves air travel. Unfortunately, even if there is a compelling reason why you cannot attend a course (e.g., medical or family emergency), sometimes there is no way to issue a refund (e.g., a replacement student cannot be found in time and all accommodations, etc have been pre-booked).