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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Cairns, Australia; Cape Tribulation, Australia; Daintree, Australia; Port Douglas, Australia; Yungaburra, Australia
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:

Click here to download the flyer for this program. 

The Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful areas on Earth.  There are only two places on the planet that meet five of the criteria necessary to be listed as a World Heritage Site (most meet two or less) and they are right next to each other; the Wet Tropics of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Ten percent of all the terrestrial biological diversity on the planet can be found in this tiny area of Far North Queensland and ten percent of all the marine biodiversity can be found on the Great Barrier Reef.  It has the second-highest rate of endemism on Earth, giving you the opportunity to see organisms found nowhere else.

From a biologic perspective, it is a treasure trove of unique and unusual organisms, as the home of the oldest forest on the planet (nearly 10 times older than the Amazon Rainforest), it is like walking back through evolutionary time to the origins of terrestrial plants where living species representing the ancient forests of Gondwanaland still thrive.  Where egg-laying mammals like the platypus and echidna can be commonly seen and colorful, playful lorikeets may try to steal the sugar for your morning cuppa. Where learning about the plants and animals that are found in this beautiful habitat can be seen by just taking a stroll through a forest or along the edges of the crater lakes of this geologic wonderland.

Can you imagine swimming within inches of a creature with hundreds of neon blue colored "eyes" large enough that you could curl up within its shell?  Or watching mutualism at work as brightly colored clownfish swim in and out of their anemone host and dozens of other examples of coevolution where species have evolved in a way that they rely on each other for survival.  Why are corals colored as brightly as they are? Is it a sign of health or stress.  What is coral bleaching? and why does it occur? When removed from the spotlight of media attention what does it really mean? What are the differences between soft corals and hard corals? How and why does function follow form so closely in this environment where the brightest and most outrageous of colors in some fish live beside others whose camouflage is so effective as to make them invisible? When immersed in the environment of the Great Barrier Reef, floating quietly above a patch of corals, giant clams, and fish, unlike anything an aquarium can ever showcase, many of these answers become more obvious than from any book or video.

As home to the oldest culture on the planet, you can see the division between modern practices of agriculture and unsustainable growth compared to sustainable stewardship of the planet and its resources.  The conflict between the Traditional Owners trying to maintain their home and who try to get along with those of the modern world who still hold prejudices and animosity based on lack of knowledge. We will learn of the "Stolen Generation" and the idea of destroying a culture through assimilation instead of choosing coexistence. For many the stark contrast of the cultural experience is a life-changing event that shapes attitudes and brings awareness they never knew they were lacking. Everyone comes back having learned much more than how to throw a boomerang and what is their favorite bush tucker. Learn the many stories of the Dreamtime and the ways of a culture 40,000 years old and still here.

View a sample itinerary here.

Education Abroad Advisor Questions about the application process or study abroad in general?

Make an appointment with Alyse Collins at any time!
Get Started Watch Ed Abroad 101
Faculty Leader Dr. Edward Degrauw, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
Portland State University

Questions about the course? Email Dr. Degrauw at
Travel Itinerary Summer 2022
  • One week: Cairns
  • Four days: Yungaburra
  • Four days: Cape Tribulation
  • Two days: Port Douglas
  • Three days: Cairns
Areas of Study This program is open to all students, but is especially relevant for the following majors:
  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Sociology
  • Sustainability
Course & Credit BIO 410 or BIO 510: Biology and Conservation in Australia & the Great Barrier Reef
  • 6 Credits
Language of Instruction  English
Host Country Language  English
Housing Hostel or Hotel
Class Standing Eligibility
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Postbaccalaureate 
  • Graduate
Preference is given to degree-seeking PSU students.
Minimum GPA Requirements Undergraduate: 2.75
Graduate: 3.00

Must be in Satisfactory Academic Standing.
Pre-Requisites None
  • Program involves snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Program includes long hikes on uneven terrain. Optional activities are provided for those who are not comfortable or unable to participate. 
  • Program includes a night canoe trip to view nocturnal wildlife. 
  • Program includes exposure to sun and heat. 
If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate due to these considerations, please contact the Education Abroad Advisor responsible for this program. 
Application Process
(PSU Students)
  • Unofficial Transcript (from banweb)
  • 2 short essays
  • 1 Recommendation Form (submitted electronically via VikingsAbroad)
    • This is not a formal letter of recommendation, rather your recommender will need to fill out a short questionnaire about you with space for comments. 
    • This cannot be submitted by the program leader
    • These must be Professional or Academic in nature
  • Interview
  • $50 Application Fee. This is billed to your student account after the deadline when your application is reviewed.
Application Process
(Non-PSU Students)
$5,430 $1,880 $7,310
*Program Fee will not be final until salary rates are finalized.
(Awards are up to $3,000!)
  • 6 undergraduate or graduate Credits (BIO 410 or 510)
  • Accommodations throughout the program
  • Some Meals
    • Welcome lunch in Cairns
    • Daily breakfast and lunch in Cairns & Port Douglas
    • All meals in Yngaburra and Cape Tribulation
    • Farewell meal in Cairns
  • Some in-country transportation
    • Group airport pick-up
    • Group airport return
    • When necessary, local transportation to program-sponsored activities
  • ​Field Trips & Excursions
  • 24/7 student support 
  • Ed Abroad Service Fee
  • International Health Insurance

*Please note, all students enrolling for PSU credit are charged the PSU Rec Center Fee. For a current listing, please refer to PSU Fees.

*Application Fee: All applications include a $50 non-refundable fee due on the application deadline. Students who do not intend to complete a program application are required to withdraw before the deadline, otherwise, the $50 application fee will be assessed to the students' account. 


This program is currently not accepting applications.