The School for Field Studies program in Australia is well-suited for students who want to study and conduct hands-on research in rainforest management and restoration in the the country's tropical rainforest.  The region's ancient rainforests have been greatly affected by habitat loss, fragmentation, and climate change.  Student research aims to further the understanding of the dynamics of rainforest ecosystems, including the potential impact of global climate change.  For the Directed Research project near the end of the semester, students work in teams conducting research related to on-going SFS studies on topics such as monitoring flora and fauna succession, assessing tree seedling recruitment, and improving water quality through plantings around watersheds.

“The ecology professor was truly amazing and made the class incredibly interesting. Living in the rainforest while learning about rainforest ecology and conservation is hard to beat! The assignments were well explained, and there was plenty of time to complete them--and the directed research portion of the program was really valuable and interesting.” - Katie J. ‘15

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Delbert Hutchison (Biology Department)

Fields of study:

Rainforest ecology, forest management and environmental studies


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement); Completion of at least one college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies science course


16 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Rainforest Ecology (4 credits)
Principles of Forest Management (4 credits)
Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values - Australia (4 credits)
Directed Research - Australia  (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 SFS credit = 1 Whitman credit




Rustic eight-person cabins at the SFS Center in the heart of a protected World Heritage rainforest.


Provided by SFS at their Center

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


late August - November; late January - May


Rolling Admission - students are encouraged to apply early.


See Link to Financial Aid 

Program Link:

SFS: Australia Rainforest to Reef