Program Overview

Just an hour from the Great Barrier Reef, James Cook University is a top-notch university that has a backdrop of tropical islands, thick rainforests, and lush parks – plus they’ve got an aquarium on campus! With hundreds of subjects to choose from, hands-on learning including field trips, and real-world projects with business and industry organizations, you’re well-placed to get the most out of your studies. Many courses include excursions to islands, JCU outback research stations, and some of Australia’s best-kept secrets!

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
Spring: November 1
Fall: May 1
Avg Course Load
4 classes (12-16 U.S. credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
  • World-renowned marine and environmental academic programs
  • Tropical environment, with temps ranging from 60-90 degrees year round
  • Residence hall living with meal plan—no worries!
  • AACSB International Business School accreditation
  • Official James Cook University DIGITAL Transcript
  • Trips to Magnetic Island, home to northern Australia's largest wild koala population
Your Journey Begins Here
  • Connect with your friendly Global Advisor to ask questions and find the best fit program. Start planning for on campus processes, and apply by the application deadline.
  • Meet your Program Enrollment Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, and payments. Attend one our our LIVE pre-departure orientations.
  • Fly away! You'll be greeted at the airport (comforting after a long flight!) and experience a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



Our Semester in Tropical North Queensland is located at James Cook University. Founded in 1970, James Cook has a unique location, situated between rainforest, dry savannas, and the Great Barrier Reef. This means you can study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world.

The University is famous for its marine, environmental, and sustainability research. That said, many of the 15,000 students study topics outside of the natural sciences. You can choose to take courses in a range of subjects, including biomedical science, business, information technology, psychology, and much more. James Cook’s close-knit community means you’ll get to know your fellow students, faculty, and administrators. And taking classes in the tropics is an incredible experience—experiential courses might put your “classroom” on the Reef itself!

James Cook also has a campus in Townsville, where 11,500 students attend, including over 1,500 international students. The campus is in a suburban location on nearly 1,000 acres of natural “bush.” The campus has teaching and research facilities, cafes and bars, fitness and sporting facilities, and a wealth of student clubs and societies. Around ten percent of James Cook students live on campus, giving the University a true community atmosphere.

Accredited by The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations of Australia

Beginning effective January 1, 2020, all CIS Abroad returning transcripts from institutions in Australia will be completely digital. This will mean no physical copies of transcripts will be mailed for this program.


Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.


Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.


If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.


Art & Design
Natural & Applied Sciences
Social Sciences
World Languages

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Choose Your Courses

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet in your portal.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.

CISabroad Study Abroad Semester Program australia magnetic island

Magnetic Island

A short ferry ride away takes you to a different world: a mountainous island with twenty-three beaches and bays. We’ll explore by foot to discover stunning views, clear snorkelling spots, and—if we’re lucky—a few local wild koalas.

300 Smiles Stadium

This famous stadium is home to the North Queensland Cowboys NRL team. Catch a rugby game at the home-team stadium—a 26,500-capacity venue a few minutes from the center of Townsville.

4-Day Orientation on the Great Barrier Reef

Talk about an amazing orientation! Spend 4 days learning about the environmental and cultural beauty that Australia has to offer in the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you spend your time snorkeling or exploring the rain forest, you won’t leave Cairns without some unbelievable photos and memories!

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Emma Van Loon
Senior Program Enrollment Coordinator - Australia, New Zealand, and Hawai'i

Travel Tip: When I begin planning a trip I love to leave two or three days free. There are always fun activities you’ll learn about while in country so you don’t want to miss out on them due to over scheduling!

Learn more about Emma

Alexandra Woolner
International Operations Manager - Asia and the Pacific

Travel Tip: Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

Learn more about Alexandra

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Fall 2020
    Application Deadline
    May 1
    July 17 (Estimated)
    November 23 (Estimated)
  • Spring 2021
    Application Deadline
    November 1
    February 8 (Estimated)
    June 19 (Estimated)
    $19,990 (Estimated)

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.

Program Inclusions

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • 4 day Great Barrier Reef Excursion
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (residence halls) and full meal plan
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Overseas Health Insurance (mandatory for any student studying in Australia)
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • James Cook University orientation
  • On-site support
  • James Cook University official transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program