The next round of field courses will begin in late April 2019. The 2019 information session will be held in January, 2019. To prepare yourself for 2019, please read the information below.
1. Read all of the information in the FAQ section of this website.
2. Go to the OUPFB website (oupfb.ca), and access the list of courses. On the far right, there is a column that indicates whether there is any space left in that course.
3. Download the course instructions and *READ THEM CAREFULLY.* Contact the course instructor at the host institution to confirm that there is still a space available (the website is not always up to date).
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.
The list of 2018 field courses can be found at: http://www.oupfb.ca/modules.html
Note that in 2018, we will no longer 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 longer possible!
Placement into field courses is more competitive than in previous years due to new constraints on student numbers. 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.
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 any university that participates in the program. The field courses are intensive one or two week courses that typically take place away from university campuses. For example in 2017, Waterloo offered courses on Rain Forests and Reefs (Costa Rica), and Conservation of Marine Mammals in South America. 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 2018, please attend the information session on Thursday, January 11th, 2018, in B1-271.
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 2018.
Yes. If you take a one week field course, you will receive 0.25 Biology credits, and 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 2018, there were ~30 different courses offered that you can choose from. 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 This website is updated in mid-to-late December of each year to reflect the courses that will be held the following year. Dr. Swanson will give you additional information on what courses are available at the information session.
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 26, 2018. 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 2018). If you want the course to appear on you Winter term 2018 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 and submit to Sue Whyte.
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).