To apply for courses and workshops, please download and complete the application packet (mail to the address below.  We cannot accept applications via e-mail), and return it to HBS via post with a $50 non-refundable deposit per application (if you are applying for multiple courses/workshops in one application, you only need to send $50). Upon review of your application, including transcripts of your most recent work, we will notify you of your admission and include information on payment for credit, course and housing fees.  The deposit will be applied toward your course fee.  On the calculations section of the application (there for your convenience) please remember to deduct the deposit from your total remaining balance.


1.  We encourage you to apply early, by April 15, as classes often fill up quickly. We accept applications on a rolling basis until courses fill up!

2.  If you are having trouble downloading the application, try refreshing the page.  If that does not work, wait a minute or two and then try again.  If that does not work, try using a different browser.  Internet Explorer often is not compatible with our document downloads.

3.  Please ignore the “Submit Form” button at the top of the application.  We cannot accept applications via e-mail.  Please print your materials and mail them to:

Highlands Biological Station

Attn: Business Office Manager

265 N. 6th St.

Highlands, NC 28741


Apply Now: Application Packet (mail to the address above.  Please ignore the “Submit Form” button at the top of the application. We cannot accept applications via e-mail).


See the Summer 2014 schedule

Refund and Cancellation Policy


Application Deadline

There is no course application deadline but courses fill quickly so we encourage you to register early.  Course registration is open until the course fills.  Applications are reviewed when received in full.


A $50 non-refundable deposit is required per application.  If you are applying for multiple courses or workshops in one application, you only need to send $50.  Upon acceptance into the course(s), your deposit will be applied toward the course fee.

Expectation of Work

Highland Biological Station courses are immersive learning experiences.  Classes meet for full days Monday through Saturday, and usually run into evening hours as well.  Students must be flexible as class times vary.  Field courses can be physically demanding so participants should be willing to conduct a lot of work outside.  Most people do fine – if you are unsure, you can contact the course instructor with any questions that you may have.

As of July 1, 2011, the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, Section 600.2 (34 CFR 600.2), defines a credit hour as:

(1)    One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2)    At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Based on this definition, we expect our students to invest at least 135 hours (the equivalent of 15 weeks at 9 hours per week) in our 3 credit hour courses and at least 45 hours (the equivalent of 15 weeks at 3 hours per week) for our 1 credit hour courses.  Student investment may take place in the classroom, the laboratory, the field, or in out-of-class reading and/or homework.


Course credit is usually easily transferable to other institutions, but the decision is up to your home institution.  Check with the registrar’s office of your home institution if you are not sure if they will accept transfer credit from UNC-Chapel Hill (undergraduate credit) or Western Carolina University (WCU; graduate credit).  HBS courses follow the federal and UNC guidelines for allotting credit hours.  Two-week courses are 3 credit hours and one-week workshops are 1 credit hour.

Undergraduate credit is available through UNC-CH (which you must transfer to your home institution) unless you are a current WCU student, in which case you will receive WCU credit.  You will receive special instructions upon acceptance into the course(s).

Graduate credit is only available through WCU.  You will receive special instructions upon acceptance into the course(s).

Workshops are only available for credit through WCU.  You will receive additional instructions upon acceptance into the course(s).

If you wish to take the course(s) for credit, please indicate so on your application.  You will receive additional instructions upon acceptance into the course(s).  Both UNC-CH and WCU charge a small fee per course for taking credit.  Course credit payments must be sent to HBS upon acceptance into the course (please do not send any payment for credit with your application – just the deposit of $50 per application).  You are not required to take HBS courses for credit.

Course Level

For students taking courses for UNC-CH undergraduate credit, the course will appear on your UNC transcript as BIOL 459 Field Biology (section # varies).  HBS courses appear on the WCU transcript as BIOL 493 Special Topics for undergraduate credit (current WCU students only) and BIOL 593 Special Topics for graduate credit. 


Copies of transcripts for your most recent undergraduate or graduate work are required with your application.  Please use the table in the application packet as a guide.


Once admitted to an HBS course, you will be instructed on how to register and pay for housing, course fees, and credit if applicable.  For classes in May and June, all payments for course and housing fees must be made upon acceptance into the course, preferably before April 30.  For classes in July and August, all payments for course and housing fees must be made by May 15.  Special arrangements can be made if necessary.  If you are registering for a course after May 1, the Business Office Manager will coordinate a payment schedule with you.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available through the Highlands Biological Foundation in the form of a subsidy for a portion of the course fee.  Aid is available on a first-come first-serve basis.  If you wish to be considered for financial aid, please indicate so on your application and note that you will need to send additional materials, including a statement of need in the form of a cover letter as well as a letter of recommendation from a major professor or faculty member.  Please include your statement of need with your application, and have the letter of recommendation and your transcripts (unofficial is fine) sent to HBS (attn.: Business Office Manager, 265 N. 6th St., Highlands, NC 28741) in a timely manner. Your application for financial aid cannot be reviewed until we receive all necessary materials.

Refund Policy

Should you need to cancel your course registration for any reason, please give notice as soon as possible.  Credit fees are non-refundable. Housing fees are fully refundable unless the cancellation occurs within a 30-day window of the class start date.  Course fees are refunded on a time scale.  If you cancel:

    • more than 45 days before the start of the course, you will receive a refund less a $75 processing fee
    • between 30 and 45 days before the course starts, your refund will be less a $150 processing fee
    • if you cancel less than 30 days before the start of the course, you will not receive a refund

Courses require minimum enrollment and may be subject to cancellation.  In the unlikely event that the course is cancelled, you will be refunded in full.

Honor Code

Students at HBS are considered students of the UNC system and are therefore bound by the University system’s honor code (

Housing Fee

The housing fee covers the cost of your room and board.  HBS does not offer any dining services so remember to bring groceries.  Valentine house has a kitchen, and residents of Wright/Deacon have access to the kitchen in the Weyman Hall.  Please bring twin-size linens.  Our dorms are a shared living facility so plan on having 1-2 roommates.

Packing List

      1. Flashlight – campus is dark at night!
      2. Bed linens (twin size; we have pillows but you may want to bring your own favorite)
      3. Towel and washcloth
      4. Rain gear (Highlands is in a temperate rainforest)
      5. Warm clothes for night
      6. Daypack, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, hiking boots, etc.
      7. Toiletries
      8. Laptop computer (we have campus-wide Wi-Fi but no computers)
      9. Notebook, pencils, pens, course materials
      10. Food, clearly marked with your name and departure date


Laundry facilities are available at the Station for those who wish to use them, and there is a Laundromat in town.  Please provide your own detergent.

Campus Policies

Pets are not allowed.  Firearms are strictly prohibited.  HBS is an extension of the UNC system and follows university rules regarding alcohol.  Alcohol consumption is prohibited outside of the dorms.  Underage drinking is strictly prohibited.


To receive mail at HBS, please use the following address: Highlands Biological Station, Attn: Your Name (course name), 265 N. 6th St., Highlands, NC 28741.


There is no official check-in procedure.  Please plan to arrive the Sunday before your course starts.   For cleaning purposes, all students must vacate their room by noon on the Saturday at the end of your course.  If your course meets that day, or if you have an exam, please plan to remove all of your personal items from the room before class begins so that the room is empty at noon.

Application Checklist

      1. Fill out application
      2. Send transcripts (see table above)
      3. Include $50 deposit with application
      4. Send in course credit form for UNC or WCU With application, if necessary
      5. If applying for financial aid, included statement of need and letter of recommendation
      6. Upon acceptance, pay for course fee, housing, and credit fee

Apply Now: Application Packet Please ignore the “Submit Form” button at the top of the application.

See the Summer 2013 schedule



Karen KandlAssociate Director, (828) 787-1712


Cynthia SoderstromBusiness Office Manager, (828) 526-2602


Michelle RuigrokProgram Assistant, (828) 526-2602