Field Courses and Study Abroad

Field Courses

The Department of Biology offers courses that provide students with firsthand experience in the field. Students spend the semester learning about different aspects of biology in the classroom. Then they apply that knowledge to real world experiences at field sites in the US and Costa Rica. These courses and their field components are all led by our faculty and are offered on a rotating three-year cycle so every student has the opportunity to participate in all three field courses.

Field Botany in the Smoky Mountains (BIOL 215)

Offered every third summer, field botany involves a study of the major flowering plant families (trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants), conifers, ferns, mosses, as well as an introduction to the major groups of fungi. Emphasis is on the structure and identification of these organisms using field guides and taxonomic keys. Plants and fungi are identified in their natural environment during daily hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

Marine Science on the Gulf Coast (BIOL 360)

This course examines the comparative morphology and biology of marine invertebrates from the Mississippi Gulf, with emphasis on field and laboratory studies. Representatives of most animal phyla are collected, observed alive, and studied in detail.

Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica (BIOL 323)

This course involves the combination of course work and a field trip. During weekly, two-hour meetings in the spring semester (every third year), students and the instructor discuss the ecology and natural history of Costa Rica. As part of this course, students gain a greater awareness of natural history, ecology, and conservation issues related to tropical environments; students learn many of the distinctive features of different plants and animals of Costa Rica; and students enhance their ability to write a review on given group of organisms (e.g., plants, mammals, birds), as well as giving a presentation on that group. The course culminates in a tour of a multitude of ecosystems in Costa Rica during May. As a part of the trip, students see mangrove forests, tropical rainforests, tropical dry forests, montane forests, cloud forests, and river habitats.

Study Abroad

Students can gain a richer, broader understanding by studying abroad before graduating. At UE, many students are transformed by a semester-long experience at Harlaxton.

Harlaxton is located just outside of Grantham, England, in the rolling English countryside. Students are encouraged to travel on weekends to take advantage of the culture, history, and sights of England. Weekend field trips are arranged to various locations, but students can also visit other European countries while overseas.

“Biology students who attend Harlaxton have the unique opportunity to visualize the world through a broader lens,” says Dale Edwards, PhD, chair of the Department of Biology.

Learn how you can study abroad by visiting the Harlaxton website.