Field Courses

Western is a member of the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB), which offers field courses each year that you can take for academic credit (see the complete list of 2024 field courses). Field courses are two-week intensive learning experiences that allow you to live and learn in unique natural environments across Canada and internationally. They are opportunities to have an inside view of how biologists conduct fieldwork, to observe fascinating natural ecosystems, and to form powerful social connections and friendships with fellow students and instructors. Some OUPFB courses are taught by Western faculty, but you can take any field course offered by participating universities. Two Western-led courses were recently highlighted in the Western News.

How to apply for field courses

To have the best chance of getting into your first-choice module, you should apply by January 29. However, you may apply for modules with remaining spots available at any time. To apply:

  1. Complete and save the OUPFB application form and email it to or deliver it in person to NCB 301A.
  2. Pay the $350 deposit.

    You may pay by cheque or money order: Bring a $350.00 cheque or money order (made out to “Western University”) to NCB 301A.

    Or, you may pay by credit card at

Credit card payment will require the following information:

  • Amount – $350
  • Description of Item – OUPFB Deposit 2024
  • Western Contact Name – Debbie Faulkner
  • Western Contact Department – Biology
  • Telephone # and Ext. – 519-661-2111 x86464
  • E-mail -

IMPORTANT: After submitting your credit card payment, please email a copy of the receipt to Your application is not complete until we have received both the application form and proof of payment (cheque, money order, or receipt of credit card payment).

Field Course Information Sessions

If you missed the information sessions about field courses you can view a video of the January 17th Zoom session on YouTube:


If you have questions about field courses or the application and registration process, please email Brenda Beretta ( and/or Ben Rubin (

Financial Aid

Western International offers two awards which can be used for any international field course module.

The success rates for these awards tend to be high. If you might be interested in taking an international field course in 2024, you should apply to both (deadline February 15). You will receive a decision in early April.

To apply for these awards

  • Follow the links above to start an application
  • Write a short statement about why you want to experience a biology field course. You can write about any of the modules that take place outside Canada. If you have first and second-choice international modules, apply once for the first choice. The award will be valid for either.
  • Include the course number for biology field courses (Biol 3220Z: Field Studies in Biology)
  • List Dr. Ben Rubin ( as the faculty contact person

In addition to these, the Biology Department offers the Jack Millar Field Course Travel Award in honour of former field course Professor John S. Millar. The Jack Millar Award can be applied to field courses within continental North America.

Value: 1 at $1,000
To apply for the Jack Millar Award, please submit

  1. A one-page statement describing:
    1. Your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice field courses – be specific with names and countries (note that the award is only for courses in continental North America)
    2. How these courses fit within your academic plans
    3. Anticipated costs for your 1st choice (including the cost of the modules you are applying for and additional costs to you (e.g., airfare).
  2.  an unofficial transcript from the student center, including all your grades to date.

Email your application to Dr. Ben Rubin ( by February 28. You will receive a decision in early April.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Reserved spots

Western has reserved spots (guaranteed to be available to Western students) for all modules except #15: Tropical Field Biology (led by U of Toronto). To be eligible for one of these, you should apply by January 29. If you get a reserved spot, we will let you know by early February. If you do not get a reserved spot, you may still get into one of your chosen modules, but you will not find out until late February or early March. 

Some glimpses into the field school experience

Adirondack Forest Ecology Field Course

Belize-Tropical Marine Environments Field Course

Experimental Marine Biology Field School from 2018