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Summer Courses

Saint Louis University offers several upper-division field biology courses at Reis Biological Field Station each summer.

Courses are three weeks long and take place during the first intercession of the summer. Courses run concurrently, so you may register for only one course per session.

All courses satisfy upper-division lecture and lab electives for SLU biology majors. Credits earned are transferable to most academic institutions. The only prerequisite for any of these courses is BIOL 1060: Principles of Biology II. Each course is worth four credit hours and satisfies a lab requirement.

Learning Conditions

Please note that field courses include major outdoor components to take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities for learning about organisms in their natural environment.

Expect to spend a considerable portion of class time hiking, canoeing, sampling, wading, etc., in potentially hot, humid weather. Classes are not canceled for rain.

You will likely encounter wildlife such as mosquitoes and other insects, ticks, snakes and frogs, as well as poison ivy and stinging nettles. We will ensure that you learn to recognize these organisms so that you can avoid or deal with them appropriately.

If you have any questions about the courses or concerns about whether a field course is appropriate for you, contact the field station director, Thomas Valone, Ph.D., or the course instructors.

2018 Courses

The following courses will be offered in the summer session of 2018, which runs from May 21 to June 9. 

  • BIOL 4260: Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • BIOL 4360/4370: Animal Behavior + Lab
  • BIOL 4330: Spring Flora of the Ozarks

FAQ About Summer Session Courses

Who can take field courses at Reis Biological Field Station?

The only prerequisite for all field courses is BIOL 1060: Principles of Biology II. Students who have completed freshman biology are encouraged to apply.

How long is the summer session?

The 2017 summer session at Reis Biological Station will run from Monday, May 22 through Saturday, June 10. If you sign up for a course at the field station, you should expect to leave the station on June 10 no earlier than 1 p.m. Unless there is an emergency, requests to leave early will not be considered.

How much time is spent in class each day?
Classes run all day Monday through Friday, with exams given on Saturday morning. A typical class day consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of lab.
What does it cost to take a summer field course?

Tuition for a four-credit summer field course is approximately $2,000. There is also an additional field fee of $250 that covers all food costs for the three-week session.

How do I get to the field station?
 SLU provides transportation to and from the station at the beginning and end of the session. You may also drive yourself or be dropped off at the station. All transportation during the session to off-site locations is provided.
What is housing like at the field station?

Students stay in single-sex cabins that are heated and air-conditioned. Cabins have wooden bunks with foam mattresses; students should bring their own pillow, linens (sheets, mattress pad) or sleeping bag and towels.

Students who stay in the cabins use men's and women's indoor shower houses that have three flush toilets, three sinks and three showers. Students provide their own personal toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc.).

There is also a loft above the main lodge that sleeps up to 10 students. Two bathrooms are available in the lodge: one with a sink and toilet, the second with sink, toilet and shower.

A small coin laundry has two washers ($0.50) and two dryers ($0.25); laundry soap is provided.

What are meals like at the field station?

We provide three meals each day. Breakfast includes a hot option (pancakes, french toast, eggs) as well as a variety of cold cereals. Lunch options may include sandwiches, salads, soups, and fruit.

Dinners range from grilled choices such as burgers, chicken and kebabs to pasta, tacos, red beans and rice, and more. A variety of fresh salads is offered at each dinner.  

Meatless options are available at every meal.

Should I bring money?
You may want to bring a small amount of money for activities like bowling, ice cream trips and personal purchases. Bringing large sums of cash is unnecessary.
How do I contact the outside world while at the field station?
The station has a DSL internet connection. Cell phone reception at the station is spotty but occasionally works; more reliable reception is available a five-minute drive away. A landline is available for emergencies. 
What is there to do for fun?
During the week, there are nightly campfires, Wednesday night bowling, trips to an ice cream shop, and twice-weekly informal talks by faculty, graduate students or visiting researchers. Students also enjoy swimming in Huzzah Creek, playing cards and games, and reading. 


To apply for the summer 2018 session, email with the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Banner ID
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Name of the field course you wish to take

Seats in all three courses are reserved in the order that emails requests received. Instructions on how to register for the RBS courses during regular spring enrollment period will be sent to you.