In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to Covid-19, Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public with the exception of the Botanical Garden trails, but does remain open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis; please contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on reservations, rates, and Covid-19 policies.  We currently plan to offer our field courses, workshops, Grant-in-Aid program, and HBS Nature Center programs in summer 2021, with Covid-19 safety protocols in place (TBA).​ Please bear in mind, however, that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this winter and spring, and those interested in attending HBS courses or programs or utilizing HBS facilities in spring or summer 2021 should check the HBS website regularly for updates.

HBS currently intends to run Summer Courses and Workshops for 2021. As per WCU policy, HBS will assess and if necessary adjust or cancel course offerings due to the impacts of Covid-19.

Station Workshops

Throughout the year the Highlands Biological Station hosts workshops open to all audiences for personal and professional development. Guest lecturers join us to cover a variety of nature, science, art, topics.

Accredited Courses

Each summer the Highlands Biological Station offers courses at the advanced undergraduate/graduate level dealing with the ­special biological features of the southern Appalachians and areas of study at a mountain field station. These courses are also open to life-long learners and those seeking CEUs or CECs.

Tuition and Fees

An Education You Can Afford

Universities and colleges around the country are raising their tuition and fees, but summer courses and workshops at the Highlands Biological Station are very affordable.

Course and workshop fees are $200 per credit hour, or $160 per credit hour for students and alumni from universities and colleges that are members of the Highlands Biological Station in good standing.

Course Fee (2-Week Academic Courses)

$800 total per two-week course ($640 for students and alumni from HBS member institutions in good standing). 

Short Course Fee (1-Week Academic Short Courses)

$400 total per 1- week course/workshop ($320 for students and alumni fromHBS member institutions in good standing).

Note: HBS offers a diverse menu of non-credit general interest workshops each summer, including topics in natural history, arts, nature photography, and literature. Please see our workshops page for more information about these offerings. 

Students Seeking Credit

Courses at Highlands Biological Station can be taken for 4 hours of academic credit (undergraduate or graduate). Most workshops may be taken for 2 hours of credit. Credit is offered through UNC-Chapel Hill (BIOL 459) or Western Carolina University (BIOL 493 or BIOL 593). Credit for workshops is available only through Western Carolina University (BIOL 493 or 593). Our courses are transferable to most universities but it is your responsibility to transfer the credit to your home institution. It is a good idea to check with your registrar for transfer credit equivalencies, and talk with your advisor.

How will my coursework from the Highlands Biological Station appear on my transcript?

That depends on your home institution. Any course(s) taken for undergraduate credit through UNC-Chapel Hill will appear on your transcript as BIOL 459 – Field Biology. The only thing that varies is the section number. Any course(s) or workshop(s) taken for undergraduate credit through Western Carolina University will appear on that transcript as BIOL 493 – Special Topics – and will include the course or workshop name. Any course(s) or workshop(s) taken for graduate credit through Western Carolina University will appear on that transcript as BIOL 593 – Special Topics – and will include the course or workshop name.

Undergraduate Credit

Courses – UNC-Chapel Hill (non-UNC students may transfer credit):  $55

Courses and/or Workshops – Western Carolina University:  $90 per course for current WCU students; $90 per course for non-WCU students plus a one-time $65 application fee.

Graduate Credit 

WCU: $90 per course plus an additional $65 application fee that applies to non-WCU students

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) and Environmental Education (EE) credits

Teachers can earn Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) based on hours completed for both courses and workshops.  Please check with your individual county administration to confirm the necessary documentation and credit acceptance. In addition, those enrolled in the NC Environmental Education Certification Program can receive EE credits for courses and workshops at no extra cost.

 Housing Fee

Students are not required to stay on campus during their course(s) or workshop(s), but we strongly encourage it due to the nature of these classes. Most classes meet all day, and often involve evening work.

All student housing is $150/week (Howell, Wright and Deacon Cottages and Valentine House). Students will be notified of housing assignments.

*Please note that Howell, Wright and Deacon Cottages have undergone comprehensive renovation in 2017-2018.

Financial Aid

HBS is fortunate to offer limited financial aid with the support of The Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc. on a first-come, first-served basis. Aid must be requested at the time of application, and recipients must either be enrolled for credit, or be able to present a compelling case for need.  In addition to your transcripts, two documents are required along with the application.  First, you will need to include a Statement of Need, which is simply a letter explaining why you are asking for aid and reasons why the course you are applying for is important to your education.  Second, you need a Letter of Recommendation from either your major professor, or a faculty member who is well acquainted with your academic qualifications. BOTH DOCUMENTS NEED TO ACCOMPANY THE APPLICATION OR YOUR PROFESSOR MAY EMAIL THE LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION TO. Please have the letter sent to the attention of Katie Cooke at  Remember that we have limited aid awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to send all of the required documentation in a timely fashion.