Each year the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB website) offers 30-40 summer-based, two-week field courses, available to Carleton students for regular course credit as BIOL 3605 (first field course) or BIOL 3606 (if you take a second field course).  Successful completion of a field course is equivalent to a university 0.5 credit.

These two-week field courses address ecological concepts that range in topic and locale from studying fish, amphibians, or reptiles at the Queen’s University Biological Research Station (north of Kingston), to medicinal plants along the Bruce Peninsula, rainforests in Costa Rica, large mammals in Kenya/Tanzania, and whales and dolphins in Taiwan.  The full list of field courses is available at the OUPFB-Courses website.

Enrollment in field courses do carry extra costs above your normal tuition for items such as transportation (e.g., air fare), and room and board.  Full descriptions of each field course (e.g., contact information, dates, costs, course prerequisites, deliverables, and expectations) are available at the OUPFB-Courses website – by clicking into the field courses you are interested in to access the full syllabi.  Available courses for the coming summer are updated in late November or early December.

How do I enroll in a summer field course?

1. September to December (deadline December 1): 

  • Send your top three field course choices to Nigel Waltho by email, clearly ranking your field course choices from 1st choice to 3rd  Make sure you meet the prerequisites for each of your three choices.
  • Albeit these choices are based on the preceding summer’s field courses, 90-95% of these field courses will stay the same from summer to summer (although costs/dates may change slightly).
  • In early December, at the OUPFB Annual General Meeting, Nigel Waltho will try to secure you a seat for one of your three choices

2. January

  • If at the AGM Nigel is successful in securing you your seat (you will be notified by Nigel), to guarantee your enrolment you have until the end of the first week of classes to submit to the Biology Office your Application Form and non-refundable $350 deposit*.
  • Failure to submit the Application form and the $350 non-refundable deposit at this time, and you lose your guaranteed seat. Instead, your seat becomes available to the general student body on a first come, first served basis.

What if I missed Step 1 and 2 above, or it is after January and I wish to apply? 

If you wish to enroll in a field course, having missed Steps 1 & 2 above or are late in applying, you may email the Biology Office biology@carleton.ca at any time to see if there is space available in the field course you are interested in. If there is space, you will be instructed to submit an Application Form, and pay a deposit ($350 non-refundable* deposit).

*note that the deposit is refundable only if you are not admitted into a field course. Once you have been accepted into a field course, the deposit becomes non-refundable.

BIOL 3605/06 Registration

After you have completed the summer field course, submit an override request on Carleton Central for the course code BIOL 3605 or BIOL 3606 in the term (Fall, or Winter) you would like to associate the field module with.  Once you receive confirmation you will then be able to register.

Co-Vid 19 Updated – are Summer 2022 field courses running?

All field courses (OUPFB website) are cancelled for Summer 2021.  For Summer 2022 we are optimistic that field course should be running by then.  The decision-making process begins this coming Sept/Oct.  That is, in Sept/Oct course instructors are asked to start designing their syllabi (e.g., dates, times, costs, etc) for the summer 2022 field courses.  Formal field course submissions are collected towards the end of Nov.  In early Dec. all universities discuss the proposed field courses for S2022, and to bid for seats for their respective students.  The S2022 field courses are then opened to student Registration starting in January.

However, given these Co-Vid times, what the Co-Vid restrictions will be for summer 2022 are unclear at this time (e.g., vaccination requirements, international travel, out-of-province courses, enrolment numbers, Co-vid passports).  We will be limited by what the Federal, Provincial, and university guidelines will be at that time.  As these guidelines are in a state of flux to give you an absolute yes/no answer, we simply cannot at this time.  Our HOPES and OPTIMISM are that the field courses will be running S2022.  Indeed we are planning for such.  The REALITY is we will not know until much closer to the date.   The odds are in our favour as more and more of the population receive their double-vaccinations and societies open again.  IF field courses are ultimately offered and you submit your $350 non-refundable deposit accordingly, only to find the field courses must then be cancelled again due to some new variant your deposits will be returned to you.


If you have any questions, please contact the field course coordinator, Nigel Waltho by Email.