St. Lawrence University students have the opportunity to spend the fall or spring semester in Australia at James Cook University (JCU). Students choose to study at the Townsville or the Cairns campus. As Australia’s first tropical university, JCU has dedicated much of its research activities to areas relevant to life in the tropics, such as aboriginal studies, tropical medicine, tropical environmental studies, and Asian Studies. Its department of Marine Biology is world famous. In addition, the University has pioneered a higher education center for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Based in Cairns or Townsville
- Fall or Spring semester
- Pre-requisites: A 3.0 GPA. Applicants should have prior coursework in the subjects they intend to study on the program, and must articulate clear reasons for advanced study of these subjects in Australia. Applicants should also describe their interest in studying the Peoples and Cultures of Australia.
- While on the program students are required to take at least one class focused on the Peoples and Cultures of Australia
- Live in student dorms
James Cook University (JCU), named after the explorer Captain James Cook, has two campuses located in NE Australia. The larger campus in Townsville has approximately 14,500 students; the Cairns campus has about 5,000 students. As Australia's first tropical university, JCU has dedicated much of its research activities to areas relevant to life in the tropics, such as aboriginal studies, tropical medicine, tropical environmental studies, and Asian Studies. Its Department of Marine Biology is world famous. In addition, the University has pioneered a higher education center for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
More information about the University can be found on their Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/jamescookuniversity
James Cook University's main campus is located 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the city center of Townsville, Queensland, which is the largest city in northern Queensland. It is the business, cultural, educational, administrative and industrial center for the North Queensland region and has a diverse economy based on manufacturing, industry, tourism and transportation. It is a major distribution center for imports and exports with trade links with Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Rim and southeast Asia. Townsville is also the home of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The Townsville campus is particularly appropriate for students interested in marine biology and owns a research station on Orpheus Island.
Many JCU subjects offered in Townsville are also offered on the Cairns campus (with the exception of marine biology). Cairns, based on the coast 4 hours north of Townsville, is a center for outdoor activities and a tourist destination for Australians and international travelers wishing to access the Great Barrier Reef and points north including Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation. The Cairns campus, close to the size of St. Lawrence University, is particularly appropriate for tropical ecology studies.
You must take a full academic load (4 courses) while in Australia. (12-15 credits are considered a "full academic load" at JCU). SLU students will receive 4 units for 12 JCU credits. Credits awarded depend on the subject taken.
All SLU students attending JCU are required to take at least one course focused on the peoples and cultures of Australia. You can access course information here: https://secure.jcu.edu.au/app/studyfinder/index.cfm. Select the campus you are applying for (Townsville or Cairns) and select the relevant Teaching Period (semester) you plan to study in at JCU, either Teaching Period 1 (January to July) or Teaching Period 2 (July to November). The last 2 numbers in the subject number indicate how many credits will be awarded: HI 3 191: 03 [ HI = History Dept. 3 = 3rd year subject. 191 = subject number. 03 = # of credits ]
Course of study = major; faculty = department or school (e.g., Faculty of Arts, Education & Social Science; Faculty of Medicine, Health & Molecular Sciences; Faculty of Science); subjects = classes;
Semester I or Study Period I = February through June; Semester II or Study Period 2 = July through November
Studying at James Cook University is not "SLU in an exotic location." Australian universities generally offer course-specific instruction compared with an American "liberal" education. In Australia students study more narrowly but delve more deeply into one subject area. This means there may be scheduling challenges if you plan to take subjects from differing disciplines or departments. Australian academic programs, administrative structures and grading more closely resemble the British university system than the American system. The most common instruction method is a combination of large lectures classes and smaller tutorial classes. Students are expected to progress through the semester independently. Assessment is less frequent and may be based on a much smaller number of assessments than you may be used to
Course credit from JCU transfers back to SLU provided you have received course approval from the department chair of the particular academic department in question (with the exception of the required course on People and Cultures of Australia which transfers automatically). Some courses at James Cook University have already been pre-approved by St. Lawrence those and can be found here. Please keep in mind that these are just the courses that have been preapproved, but students may enroll in other courses as well, and seek approval (as described above) after they have been accepted.
- All subjects must be on the Townsville or the Cairns campus. The two campuses are 4 hours apart, so it is impossible to take subjects at both campuses. You may not take block or external courses.
- Students take 12 credits (generally four subjects), which must be endorsed for transfer credit prior to commencing study in Australia and approved by the appropriate department chair at SLU.
- At least one subject must have significant Peoples and Cultures of Australia content.
- Grades earned at JCU are converted to SLU grades using the standard Australian/US conversion system:
High Distinction = 4.0
Distinction = 3.75
Credit = 3.0
Pass = 2.0
Conceded Pass = 1.5
Failure = 0.0
Students are encouraged to get involved in JCU cultural, sporting and recreational activities. Common weekend trips are Mission Beach, Cairns, Daintree Rainforest, Hinchinbrook Island, Whitsunday Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef. The JCU Office of International Affairs has a variety of excursions and programs for which students can sign up.
Students receive a stipend from St. Lawrence University a couple of weeks before they depart for Australia. The main purpose of the money is for students to travel and learn more about Australia. In the past, students have used this money to travel within Australia, to travel outside Australia (to SE Asia, New Zealand, or Bali), to become SCUBA certified, and to hike Hinchinbrook Island and Mt. Bartle Frere. The Hinchinbrook hike, which normally takes 3 - 4 days, is very popular and reservations must be made months in advance. Please note that students can explore the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling or SCUBA diving.
A small part of this money is intended to help with the costs of "settling in," which vary from college to college. This stipend is also to be used for payment of your JCU student association membership fee upon arrival, for "settling in" costs and on-campus recreational activities.
Australian students normally use study breaks to study; therefore, SLU students should plan to do the same.
Keeping in mind that Australia is nearly as large as the continental United States and that there are long distances between destinations, students should plan to arrive early if they wish to travel throughout Australia or schedule such trips immediately after exams.
The Townsville campus has several on-campus residential colleges and residence halls providing housing for about 1,500 students. Most of the rooms are single study/bedrooms comfortably furnished with a bed, closet, study desk, and bookshelves. Information about applying online will be distributed at the orientation meeting after you are accepted to the program.
St. Lawrence has requested that SLU students be housed in some of the centrally located colleges that provide full board with 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. It should be noted that James Cook University cannot guarantee that all SLU students will be accommodated in their first housing choice on the Townsville campus, but every effort will be made to do so.
In Cairns, there is a student accommodation building directly across the street from the Cairns campus. The Cairns Student Lodge houses up to 234 students with single study bedrooms and shared living rooms, usually 4-6 students per living room. Information about applying online will be distributed at the orientation meeting on campus.
Please click here to find more details about the Program Calendar.
Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session lead by the CIIS office on culture shock, and what to expect, as well as safety and security while abroad.
On site: JCU will host orientation sessions when students arrive. JCU has a helpful link with pre-departure information for incoming students. You can get information about airport arrival service, the specific dates for the mandatory orientation meetings, and other arrival information from JCU's webpage.
If you are interested in learning more about the Australia program please contact one of the following people.
CIIS Office: Hui Helen Huang, Director of Asia Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.