In-Person Field Courses - Cancelled for 2021

New Online Application Forms!

Please use the new online application form for field courses. Your $350 deposit will automatically be posted to your student account upon successful application (this is N/A for virtual field courses).

York U Students: Please use the Urban Watershed Management and Biodiversity Application Form for Category A (Virtual).

Students at other participating OUPFB Universities: Please use the External Applicant Urban Watershed Management and Biodiversity Application Form for Category A (Virtual)

Please use the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB) Application Form for Category B - CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE.


All in-person Field Courses have been cancelled for the 2021 term.

We are running a virtual field course this S1 semester. Please click the "Category A" link below to access more information.


Many students tell us that they truly understand what Biology is about after they take a field course.  There are many different kinds of field courses for all budgets and student situations.  At York University’s Biology Department, we have worked hard to bring you choices that allow as many of our students as possible to take a field course.  There are 3 main categories of field courses: category A,category B, and category C.


Field courses are an integral part of training in ecology and conservation. Students are immersed for two weeks in a field setting where they learn field methods, how to collect data, how to conduct field experiments, and the natural history and ecology of plants and animals.

Many students use the experience gained in field courses to obtain jobs as field assistants and technicians, and to develop a 4th year research thesis in ecology.

See article in YFile.

There are 3 main categories of field courses:

Field Course Category A - OFFERED REMOTELY Summer 2021

The in-person version of Urban Watershed Management and Biodiversity, BIOL 3001 3.0 / GEOG 4541 3.0, is a 2-week course, that is exclusively designed to accommodate the needs of many York University undergraduates.  This course runs annually, some time in June or July, from Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:00pm at Kortright Centre for Conservation in Woodbridge.  A bus leaves the main Keele campus everyday at 7:00am.  This course does not run on weekends.  Subject to availability, you may enroll in this field course up until the Friday of the week before it starts.

Field Course Category B - Cancelled for Spring/Summer 2021

All Ontario Universities teach 2-week field courses that are worth 3 credits.  These courses happen in different places than the field courses offered by York University.  For many years Ontario universities have worked together to offer students from different universities places on each other’s field courses, through the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB). By doing this we can offer you a wider choice of field courses.

The range of field courses for the following academic year (April – February) is finalized by the Ontario Universities field course consortium in December of the current academic year.  The availability of places on these diverse courses is released to York University students and students at all participating universities in January of the current academic year.  The early deadline for enrolling the OUPFB courses is some time in early February (exact date is announced annually).

Upon registration, students are required to pay a deposit of $350 to hold their place in the course module.  Logistical arrangements are made based on this early student enrolment.  Places fill up quickly, although, you may be able to find a place in an OUPFB field course later in the academic year.  York University contributes a course to this program each year, and we reserve places for our own students in this one course.  While you may be able to register for the York University OUPFB field course later in the winter term, you should be aware that we may be asked to open unused spaces that we have reserved for York University students, to other OUPFB student applicants if there is demand for them.

When you take a field course module from another Ontario university through the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB) you will earn credits towards your York University degree. The participating universities in OUPFB are:

  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Lakehead University
  • Laurentian University
  • McMaster University
  • Queen’s University
  • Trent University
  • Wilfred Laurier University
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Western Ontario
  • University of Windsor
  • York University

Each year, 20-30 different field course modules are available to York U students in locations around the world, on a wide diversity of ecology topics. This is a fabulous opportunity for biology students to travel to field sites outside the Toronto area, and to interact with professors and students from other Ontario universities.

Field Course Category C - Cancelled for 2021

Many other higher education and environmental research institutions offer field courses.  You may see posters for these programs around York University.  Many of these courses are taught by highly qualified researchers.  Many of them will, on assessment, qualify for a degree credit in a York University Biology program.

We strongly advise that before you enrol in a non-York University or OUPFB field course, that you consult the Undergraduate Biology Office, about whether its course curriculum is likely to qualify for credit towards your degree program.  Every student is free to take as many of these independent field courses as they desire, however, please be aware that not all will be accepted for degree credit.

Learn more about field courses offered by one of these institutions here.

Cancelled for 2021.

The prerequisites for field courses are indicated in the module descriptions; you must have the necessary prerequisite courses to enrol. Year 2 Ecology and Statistics are common prerequisites.

Field courses has the course code of SC/BIOL 3001 3.00, SC/BIOL 3002 3.00, or SC/BIOL 3003 3.00. Each field course module will be 3.00 credits and two-week long. Each student may take a maximum of three field courses towards their degree.

Assignments vary with modules and often include preparatory readings, seminars to be given during the course, and an essay report. If there are preparatory readings required for a particular module, the instructor will contact you ahead of time so you can complete them. All assignments, written exams, field notebooks, herbariums, and essays are to be completed and submitted to the instructor within 4 to 6 weeks of the end of the field course module.

Each field course has an associated fee that is listed within the module description. This fee is an additional cost on top of the tuition paid to York University. You cannot take the field course unless you pay the tuition and the field course fee.

During registration, you are required to pay upfront a $350 CAD enrolment deposit. This deposit will be automatically posted to your student financial account. This deposit is a partial payment of the field course fee. The balance of the field course fee will be paid to the host university prior to the start of the field course. The field course fee might or might not cover the cost of transportation to the field site, please consult the module description for details.

Deposits are non-refundable. Students who drop a field course should not expect a refund of any field course costs, and it is encouraged that students purchase cancellation insurance if airline tickets are required. In case of a medical, non-medical, or family emergency, it is at the discretion of the host university should they issue a refund for any costs. Students should also note that listing 2nd and 3rd choices in their applications are also committed to those courses should they be placed into them.

To enrol into a field course:

  1. Decide on a module which you wish to be enrolled as well as a second and third choice in case it is full or cancelled. Please consult the OUPFB website for OUPFB Module Offerings.
  2. Ensure you have completed the required prerequisite courses as indicated in the module description
  3. Complete the online application form: Urban Watershed Management Application Form or Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology (OUPFB) Application Form . 

Once the your application has been received and the deposit has been posted to your student account, further instructions will be provided regarding course enrolments.

OUPFB is now accepting applications. Please verify availability of OUPFB Module Offerings prior to handing in an application.

Registration at York U is from February 3 - 6, 2020. 

York University students interested in Urban Watershed Management & Biodiversity can continue to apply, there is no deadline at this moment. The course fee for this module is $350 and needs to be paid when the applications are submitted.



Should you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspects of the field courses, please feel free to contact me.

Field Course Administrator

 Avalon Moore
151 Farquharson Building
416-736-2100 x33770