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Australia II Study Group, University of Wollongong

Director spring 2018: Professor Rebecca Metzler, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Students at a scenic overlook in AustraliaThe 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 are intending to concentrate in one of the Natural Sciences or Mathematics and are interested in experiencing the rich diversity of environments and cultures that are a part of Australia.  The academic offerings and extensive resources of the University of Wollongong, as well as the living and studying opportunities with Australian students, allow study group participants a unique means to broaden and deepen their understanding of the cultural and ecological diversity of Australia.

The overall goal of this study group experience is to acquaint students with the historical, geographic and cultural processes that have shaped the modern state of Australia while providing them the opportunity to continue their concentration at a foreign institution.  This experience will immerse students in a foreign culture, exposing them to contrasting ways of thinking about and configuring the world, which will deepen their understanding of their own beliefs and identity. Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement (pending approval).


All participants are required to enroll in and complete four courses during the spring term at the University of Wollongong.  Students participating in this study group will be eligible to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement (pending approval). Students elect three courses and must enroll in the one required course described below:

PHYS 211: Exploring Environmental Conservation Through Biominerals (Rebecca Metzler): Biomineralization is the process by which organisms form minerals. Examples of biominerals range from bones and teeth to shells and exoskeletons. Australia is one of the world’s richest places in terms of variety and quantity of biominerals. As the environment changes due to global warming biominerals across the world, including in Australia, are being effected. This seminar course will use a mixture of reading, class discussion, independent research, and class trips to explore types of biominerals, the process by which biominerals form, and how the environment effects biomineral formation. The field of biomineralization, and the course, is by definition multidisciplinary as the process of biomineral formation and impact of biominerals is relevant to the Environmental, Physical, and Life Sciences across all length scales.

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.  One elective must be chosen from a group of courses that explore the cultural and social history of Australia.  These courses vary from one semester to the next but in the past have included ABST150 (Introduction to Aboriginal Australia) and HIST203 (Australia and the Great War).  Of the other electives, one must be in the Natural Sciences or Mathematics. 

Australian History Seminar (faculty member from the University of Wollongong) This mini-course consists of two, two-day seminars; the first seminar is held during Thursday-Friday of orientation week and the second seminar is held on Saturday-Sunday during a subsequent weekend.  The first two days includes lecture and discussion of the history, politics, and culture of Australia.  A later two-day session includes an overnight trip to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery, and Parliament House.


Although students from any department or program are eligible to participate in the Australia II Study Group, preference will be given to individuals with a concentration or minor in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division.  Preference also will be granted to those students who will have completed their distribution requirements in the humanities, the natural sciences and mathematics, and the social sciences at Colgate.  Additionally, the University of Wollongong requires a GPA of 3.0 for matriculation in their international student Study Abroad Program.

You may gather additional information from the University of Wollongong's website for international students at uow.edu.au.

Living Arrangements

Students live in one of several residence halls of the University of Wollongong (e.g., Campus East, Weerona College). 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.


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

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the spring 2018 Australia II Study Group is Friday, November 4, 2016. Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs study groups’ websites and are submitted online.  Student notification of selections will take place late December 2016. The application process to the University of Wollongong will commence in earnest in September 2017 and course selections in late October and early November 2017. The Study Group will depart for Australia around February 15, 2018. There is a week-long orientation in late February and classes for the autumn session (our spring) begin in early March. The academic calendar for the autumn session at the University of Wollongong runs fourteen weeks with a scheduled one-week-long recess in late April (part of which will be used for a group excursion to Cairns). The 2-week final exam period is in mid- to late June and students must stay for exams.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2017.  All students participating on the Australia II Study Group will be required to obtain Australian non-award student visas.  With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with Australian 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 McGregory, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the regulations.  For all students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Australia II Study Group program approximate dates: mid-February to late-June 2017.