Wollongong Australia Study Group - Autumn Skip Navigation

Australia Study Group – University of Wollongong

Director Fall 2015: Peter Scull, Associate Professor of Geography 
APPLY ONLINE - Deadline November 7, 2014

The University of Wollongong, located on the coast of New South Wales, approximately 50 miles south of Sydney, is the study site for the Australia Study Group. This study-abroad program is designed for students who have demonstrated a strong affinity for broad-based, interdisciplinary exploration of environmental studies. The academic offerings and extensive resources of the University of Wollongong, as well as the opportunity to live and study with Australian as well as other international students, allow study-group participants a unique means to broaden and deepen their understanding of the historical, cultural, and biological diversity of Australia and the environmental issues in which Australians, including indigenous Australians are engaged.

The overall goal of this study group experience is to acquaint students with the historical, geographic and environmental processes that have shaped the modern state of Australia, and its efforts to address environmental security concerns. This experience will immerse students in a strikingly multicultural society which both reaches to the West and also to the East. This study group experience will encourage students to reconsider the relationships between society and environment, state and region, and between many actors in the international system as a whole.

This study group has not been designated to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.  Students will need to meet the Global Engagement requirement by enrolling in a designated


Wollongong course approval form

All participants are required to enroll in and complete four courses during the fall term at the University of Wollongong. Students elect two courses, and enroll in one course in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and in the course described below.

ENST 309: Australian Environmental Issues: Policy, Change, and Long-Term Sustainability (Daniel Bertrand Monk)

The 2015 Director’s seminar treats Australia as a case study in ‘technocratic’ approaches to anthropogenic climate change and environmental security.  And for good reason:  Australia, the largest coal exporter on the planet, is contending with increasingly grave firestorms and dust storms on dry land, and an impending sea level rise and habitat degradation along its coastal waters.  (Half of the Great Barrier Reef has disappeared in the last 30 years).  The course reviews key environmental policy approaches, and the political debates surrounding them, with the aim of then reviewing these against the ‘planetary scale’ of the challenges posed by a changing environment.   For example, one Australian administration instituted a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And then –after elections— the next administration repealed them.  Instances like these raise important questions about the “fit” between the type of problem we are facing as a species, and the kinds of solutions that states, governments, and the international community as a whole seem to be able to come up with to meet them.  Through class discussion, critical reading, independent research, and field excursions that focus on the Australian experience, the seminar will explore both the relative effectiveness of technocratic approaches to climate change, and their social function.  We will ask hard questions –sometimes directly to officials and policy makers—in order to assess whether well intentioned, incremental, initiatives at one level, don’t amount to “green-washing” at another.  The seminar will include a series of trips within New South Wales and possibly beyond –each of which will help us to appraise critically how an island continent contends with a global climate crisis that respects no borders.

Three Course Electives (University of Wollongong Faculty)

The remaining three courses are electives that will be chosen by the student in consultation with the program director and the student's academic advisor at Colgate University. At least one of the three courses must be selected from from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Students are urged whenever practical to select electives that resonate with one or both of the required courses (ENST 309). This procedure underscores the environmental emphasis of the Australia Study Group, including its fundamental interdisciplinary nature.

Cultural Orientation

Coastal scenicAustralian History Seminar (University of Wollongong)
This mini-course takes place on the Thursday of orientation week and a Saturday during a subsequent weekend. The first day includes lecture and discussion of the history, politics, and culture of Australia. On the subsequent Saturday we will take a field trip to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery, and Parliament House.


Students from any department or program are eligible to participate in the Australia Study Group, but preference will be given to individuals with a major or minor in ENST or GEOG. Relevant coursework includes introductory courses in either geography (for example, GEOG111, 121, 131), in Environmental Studies (ENST202 or 232), or in the Environmental Studies affiliated programs (Biology, Economics, and Geology). In addition, the University of Wollongong requires a grade point average of 3.0 or better for matriculation in the international student Study Abroad Program.

Living Arrangements

Students may live in one of several residence halls of the University of Wollongong (e.g. Campus East, Weerona College, International House, Keiraville Accommodation). Amenities vary with housing selection. Dining facilities, computers, and internet access are available. Colgate students have access to the social, athletic, recreational, computer, and library facilities of the University of Wollongong. Some of these require payment of a separate fee.

Calendar and Deadlines

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of the informational sessions. The deadline for applications to the fall 2015 Australia Study Group is Friday, November 7, 2014.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online. Student notification of selections will take place late December 2014. 

Passports and Visas

Sydney Opera HouseYou must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2016. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with the Australian government’s visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For all students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Australia Study Group program approximate dates: mid-July to November 21, 2015

Informational Sessions

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 5 p.m.

Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Both meetings will be held in Room 326 in the Ho Science Center.  All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of these sessions.

More Information

Professor speaking with local instructorsFor more information, contact Prof. Catherine Cardelus  in 205B Olin Hall or ccardelus@colgate.edu; or check the University of Wollongong's website for international students at www.uow.edu.au.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.