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Gaining course credit as a research assistant

For students interested in gaining course credit for their time on expedition, there are two ways of organising this: (1) signing up for an external course or (2) gaining internal course credit.

  • Internal course credit

    It is sometimes possible to use an Operation Wallacea expedition to gain credits from your own university. This is often done through an Independent Study or Internship program. The amount of credit available will vary depending on which university you are at and the duration of your expedition. Your university will often require a piece of work based on your experience to go towards your Independent Studies or Internship, again these vary between institutions but may be in the form of a presentation or written report.

    To organise gaining credit in this way, you will have to speak to your academic advisors and often your Study Abroad departments to find out what they can offer. They will usually have forms for you to complete before coming out with us, which will need certain details about the expeditions before you can gain the credit. This might be details of time allocation or academic supervision during the expedition, all of which we can happily supply to you, if needed.

    If you have any questions about gaining credit from your university, please email If your academic advisors or Study Abroad departments have questions about the program, they can also contact us at this address. It is very important that if you are gaining credit in this way for an expedition, you email us in advance so we know you are gaining credits, even if you have no special on site requirements. This will make the awarding of credits much easier and ensure that any provisions you need on site are prepared in advance. If you fail to tell us about any credit you are gaining before an expedition we cannot take any responsibility for problems that may occur on site or when you return to your university.

More about Internal Course Credit

  • External Course Credit - CAL State / UCAL option

    An alternative credit option that can work for ALL Opwall expedition locations is to register for and complete a 3 credit online/field course called Field Biology (BIOL 12) offered by Shasta College in Redding, California. This course involves some pre and post expedition web-presented (online) course work that includes readings, assignments, quizzes, keeping and submitting a field journal, and submitting a final presentation, as well as an assessment of student performance in the field. BIOL 12 is fully transferable in the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems and may be transferable to universities in many other states as well (check with your institution). For ALL high school students, whether California residents or not, these 3 transferable credits cost only $32.50 for college fees, since tuition is waived for high school students! College/university students who are California residents can register for the course for just around $170. Out of state college/university students would have to pay approximately $850 for the 3 transferable credits. The advantages of signing up for this course are that you are much better prepared for the research projects you will be involved with and, of course, you will be earning transferable course credits for your Opwall experience at a much lower cost than at most universities.

    Visit our page about US course credit here for more information.

  • External Course Credit - Florida State option

    For those high school students from states that do not allow students to sign up for on line courses outside their home state, then there is the option of course credit organised through the University of West Florida. The course credit is based on:

    • Exam results
    • A field diary
    • A research project essay
    • An assessment of student performance in the field

    Whilst the UWF course credits are only accepted toward Marine Biology or Biology degrees at UWF, you can submit a summary of the course completed and your completion certificate with grade (which will be provided by the university) when applying for relevant degrees at other US universities and they may or may not count it as relevant credit towards your degree.  The cost of the 3 credit course is $600 for both in-state and out of state applicants and the course credit is completed from the field experience plus an essay that is submitted after returning from the field. If you want to apply for this course credit then please contact Dr Wayne Bennett (
    *Please note that we cannot currently offer this at our Mexican or Honduran sites.

More about external course credit

Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
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