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Summer Courses

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Summer College Courses

Insect Ecology class at stream

Our summer college courses are taught in an immersive format over two weeks, and are highly acclaimed by students. Courses provide hands-on experience and emphasize learning-by-doing in disciplines like ecology, herpetology, conservation, entomology, molecular techniques, and more. Most courses include extensive fieldwork in nearby natural areas and occasional field trips to sites across southern Oklahoma. All courses are 3 credit hours. See our Guide to Living at the Station for a list of what to bring and what to expect.

Students live at the biological station. We provide housing and meals, and amenities that include computer labs, Internet, study areas, laundry facilities, volleyball, basketball, recreation room with Ping-Pong and television, and spectacular lakefront views.

Enrollment Process

Current University of Oklahoma Students
To enroll in a Biological Station course, you must first submit an application, which can be downloaded using the button below. Once we receive and process your application we will issue permission for you to enroll online. The application form includes instructions for submitting the application.

Students NOT Currently Enrolled at University of Oklahoma
Students attending other colleges and universities may apply for our courses. Visiting students should (1) apply for admission to the University of Oklahoma as an undergraduate or graduate visitor, and (2) submit the course application form. Before applying for admission to the university, which requires a non-refundable fee, we suggest you first inquire about course availability.



Summer 2018 Courses (see course descriptions below)

    Session 1: May 14-25, 2018 (Spring Intersession)
        Forensic Entomology
        Molecular Techniques for Field Biology
        Wetlands Ecology

    Session 2: May 29 - June 8, 2018 (Spring Intersession)
        Field Mammalogy
        Research in Ecology
        Senior Seminar (Capstone)

    Session 3: July 9 - 20, 2018 (Summer)
        Field Herpetology
        Field Studies in Biological Conservation


Forensic Entomology students


Forensic Entomology is the application of entomological principles and collection of entomological data in such a manner that it can be used as evidence in courts of law to help resolve legal issues that are either criminal or civil in their nature. In this course, your team will investigate a mock death scene (typically involving pig carcasses, the victim). In this investigation, you will learn how to interview witnesses, determine stages of decomposition, properly collect, preserve, and identify forensically important arthropods from the victim. Once the data is collected, you will use this data to determine the post mortem interval (PMI, time between death and discovery) for your victim. At the completion of the course, you will present your data to the jury (class) as expert Forensic Entomologists. The procedures followed in this course are those used in real homicides as well as cases of neglect or abuse in humans and animals.

Molecular techniques class

Application of molecular biology to field studies of animal populations, including DNA and protein techniques, and their application in phylogenetics and population genetics.

Syllabus for Molecular Techniques (PDF)

Wetlands Ecology accodian


This course provides a comprehensive field-based examination of wetland science and management.  Biological, physical, chemical, and hydrological aspects of wetland ecosystem structure and function are explored through visits to several field sites.  Major wetland types and resources are examined and the biogeochemical and ecological diversity of wetland waters, soils, vegetation and fauna is investigated.  Current issues in wetland valuation, classification, management, identification and climate change are considered.  The design, assessment and function of created, restored and treatment wetlands are examined

Wetlands Ecology Syllabus 2018 (PDF)



Research in Ecology student in field

Our focus is field research for the study of populations and communities in their natural setting, and the method we will employ is learning by doing. We work in teams to design, conduct, analyze, and document ecological research. Along the way, we will encounter topics in experimental design and analysis, field methods for sampling and censusing populations, presenting scientific results, and related subjects. There are no pre-planned “cookbook” experiments—students develop research projects based on field observations and discussions early in the course. Much of our time will be spent outdoors in the Ecological Research Area of the OU Biological Station, and we will also use our classroom for discussions, presentations, sorting and counting samples, and analysis. Expect long days immersed in the nitty-gritty of ecological field research—and expect a rewarding learning experience. 

Research in Ecology Syllabus (pdf)





A study of mammals with emphasis on principles of mammalian ecology, conservation, biodiversity, techniques of field study, and methods of collection and preservation.

Field Mammalogy - Syllabus

Senior Seminar (Capstone)

Dr. Hobson Capstone image

Capstone, 2018 Spring Intersession: Session 2

Oklahoma Biological Station

Humans, Ecology, and Scientific Communication

Brent Tweedy

How humans as a species impact the environment is one of the more pressing concerns facing our society. By default, we tend to view this issue as humans vs. the environment. However, another approach towards understanding this issue is to consider humans a part of the ecosystem that we live in, just as we would for any other species. Would using this approach change how we look at issues of environment and sustainability? We will investigate this question by looking at some of our most pressing environmental problems, such as freshwater supply, biodiversity loss, and environmental destruction and degradation, through the lenses of humans vs. the environment and humans as part of the environment. These dual perspectives will be evaluated through our combined knowledge of evolution, ecology, biology, and environmental science. Additionally, we will focus on communicating these viewpoints to different audiences (scientist to laypeople) and in doing so, develop strategies to enhance our scientific communication and engagement with others. This course will rely on participants to lead discussions on the human species’ role in causing and solving today’s environmental issues and will involve sharing ideas through writing assignments and presentations.

Course Syllabus


Field Studies in Biological Conservation introduces students to the complex conservation issues currently facing the citizens of Oklahoma. Student readings on conservation issues will come from a variety of valid sources, representing several different aspects of each issue. Our classroom time will be devoted to a discussion of these issues. Discussions will be supplemented by field trips, with the majority of our time being spent outdoors, seeing first hand Oklahoma’s diverse ecoregions and associated conservation issues. Field trips help students better observe the natural world, create awareness of Oklahoma’s biodiversity, and have a deeper understanding of conservation issues facing Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains. 

Syllabus - Field Studies in Biological Conservation



UOBS Field Herpetology

Field Herpetology provides an overview of methods, techniques and standards for the collection, management and analysis of herpetological field data for various applications. On local field trips we collect amphibians and reptiles while covering basic diagnostic (morphological, ecological, and behavioral) characteristics of observed species. Students design and complete individual projects that utilize field sampling techniques and address current issues in ecology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

Field Herpetology - Syllabus