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CIEE: Perth (Fremantle) - Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability
Perth, Australia
Program Terms: Fall,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Dates &
Click here to view
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Other, Rental Housing
 Minimum GPA:
 Class Standing:
3 - Junior
 Courses Offered:
Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Sustainable Development
 Type of Program:
Study Center
 Language of Instruction:
 Education Abroad Adviser:
Elizabeth Shuman
 Internship Available:
 Non-Penn State Students:
 Global Programs Scholarships:
Diversity Grant-in-Aid, Grant-in-Aid
Program Description:

If you're interested in exploring an inimitable ecosystem subject to a host of vital ecological and sustainability issues, then consider the CIEE Ecology, Conservation, and Sustainability program in Fremante, Australia. This program is designed to engage students in a variety of academic areas including biology, marine ecology, sustainability, and environmental studies combining classroom-based studies with field-based experiential learning and community engagement.

The program consists of three distinct modules. During the first 11 weeks, students mainly live in Fremantle (10 miles outside of Perth) and take three out of their four courses. Students then partake in a one-week volunteer experience, followed by a four-week field study based at the Ningaloo Marine Park where they participate in the final course, marine biology and ecology of Western Australia. The Ningaloo Marine Park is home to 200 species of hard coral, 50 of soft coral, and over 500 species of fish. Students on the spring term will likely also see whale sharks, which inhabit the reef area from April through June each year.

Through the program students will develop a sound understanding of the major environmental and sustainability issues facing Australia, the causes of the environmental problems, and what is being done about them. They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the physical processes that characterize the Western Australia marine environment; explain the key physiological and ecological processes that occur on coral reefs; list the plants and animals that dominate the tropical marine environment of Western Australia; and outline the ecological roles of key groups of organisms in the marine environment.


2 semesters of college-level biology is required. Upper-level coursework in ecology and/or zoology is recommended.

Education Abroad Credits
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at the CIEE Study Center, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas of a Pass/Fail basis.Students will register for 15 credits/22.5 Quarter Hours. 1 Quarter Hour = 0.3 PSU credit.

Students will need to complete the course equivalency process once you have been accepted to your program and after you have completed your registration abroad. To obtain specific instructions on this process visit our Course Equivalencies page. Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad. To learn how the courses on this program can work into your individual degree audit, meet with your academic adviser.

Course Descriptions

ENVI 2003 FREO - Global and Regional Sustainability

This course provides an introduction to the key issues in sustainability at a global, national, and state level. We look at where we have come from, where are we now, and our visions of the future. Topics include: climate change, water depletion and management, food security, indigenous sustainability, energy and peak oil, biodiversity, poverty, population, and consumption. We will also look at how these issues are addressed in an Australian context and explore what can be done at an individual level.

3001 FREO / CONS 3001 FREO - Conservation Biology
The south west region of Western Australia is known as a biodiversity hotspot with a large number of endemic species of flora and fauna. Students are introduced to GIS and introductory statistical research methods in this module. Students study key ecological concepts and techniques and their implementation in the field, as well as the major issues and approaches involved in the conservation of flora and fauna in Western Australia. Topics: biodiversity, population biology and conservation, extinction and populations at risk, management of biota in conservation areas, and translocations and reintroduction of biota.

ECOL 3001 FREO/ BIO 3002 FREO - Marine Biology and Ecology of Western Australia

Based at the CIEE field station at Ningaloo Reef, students are able to study marine ecosystems in a pristine coral reef environment. This module provides an introduction to Western Australian biogeography and habitats, covering advanced topics in biology, physiology, and ecology of marine plants and animals. Human impacts and conservation of marine environments are addressed. This unit will take place predominantly at the field station in the Ningaloo Marine Park.

CLST 3001 FREO - Seminar on Living and Learning in Fremantle

The Seminar on Living and Learning in Fremantle is designed to improve students' intercultural communication and competence while studying abroad by considering how Australians are different from and similar to themselves and others. The course offers opportunities, both in and outside the classroom, to develop insights and the skills necessary to interact effectively and appropriately and to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the cultural richness of Australia.  

Housing and Meals
CIEE will arrange the housing which will consist of a rented accommodation in close vicinity of Fremantle. During the frield study portion of the program, students will stay in cabin-style accommodations on the beach near the Ningaloo Reef.

Meals are not included in the program fee and can be either prepared by students in the accommodations provided or eaten at local restaurants and cafes in Fremantle. During the field stay, students will be taken to a supermarket to purchase groceries.

Program Costs
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Budget Sheets listed above. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.

Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

Lighthouse, Great Ocean RoadThe University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please see Funding Study Abroad.

For More Information
For more information about this program and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. Students at University Park can also contact their International Coordinator within their college. If you're not at University Park, students at Commonwealth Campuses can contact their Campus Global Representative.

To learn more about the specifics of this program, schedule an appointment with Elizabeth Shuman , the education abroad adviser for this program.

For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.

How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button at the top of this page. You must complete the following materials in your application:

  • Education Abroad Questionnaire
  • 1 or 2 academic recommendation(s)
  • Signature documents
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.

Please note that you will also be instructed to complete an application with CIEE as a part of your Penn State application. Applications open approximately one year before the program term begins.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2014 09/15/2013 
Rolling Admission 02/15/2014 05/24/2014
Fall 2014 01/20/2014 
03/15/2014 07/16/2014 11/01/2014
Spring 2015 05/01/2014 06/30/2014 TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed