Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

HBS currently intends to run Summer Courses and Workshops for 2022. As per WCU policy, HBS will assess and if necessary adjust or cancel course offerings due to the impacts of Covid-19. 


If you would like to be notified when we publish information regarding our Summer 2022 course offerings, please fill out the form below with your name and email address. We will also be posting updates to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts so be sure to follow them as well!  

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, and art topics. Stay tuned for new workshop announcements.

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. These courses are also open to life-long learners and those seeking CEUs or CECs. 

Fees for College Credit**


Students/faculty from HBS Member Institutions Standard Rate
1 week (2 credit hour) course fee $400 $500
2 week (4 credit hour) course fee $800 $1000
Application fee for undergraduate courses through UNC- Chapel Hill (non-UNC students may transfer credit) $55 per course $55 per course
Application fee for undergraduate and graduate courses through WCU WAIVED FOR SUMMER 2022 WAIVED FOR SUMMER 2022
Housing (1 week course) $300 $300
Housing (2 week course) $500 $500

**Please note these prices are pending final approval from WCU. They will be finalized before registration opens.

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 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.

Additional Information

Registration Checklist

Course registration is open until the course fills. We encourage you to register ASAP because courses fill quickly and many courses require you to purchase materials in advance. Registrations are reviewed when received in full. Courses must meet minimum enrollment or may be subject to cancellation. In the event your course is cancelled you will receive a full refund.

__ Fill out your online registration 

Seeking Academic Credit
___ Upload unofficial transcripts (attach in online registration form)
___ Submit Financial aid (if applicable): Statement of Need & letter of recommendation (attach in online registration form)

Upon Confirmation
___ Pay course, housing and additional (if applicable) fees with 

Course Credit Information

You are not required to receive academic credit for HBS summer courses. However, if you do decide to receive credit, it is usually transferable to other institutions, but the decision is up to your home institution. Check with your registrar’s office to see if they will accept transfer credit from UNC-Chapel Hill (undergraduate; 2 week course) or Western Carolina University (undergraduate or graduate; 1 or 2 week course).

  • All courses and workshops work out of the Highlands Biological Station in Highlands, NC. Most courses meet for full days Monday-Friday, with many meeting on Saturday and/or at night. These courses also have the potential for physically demanding field work. If you have questions or concerns about the physical demands of a particular course please contact us.
  • Two-week courses are worth 4 credit hours and one-week courses are 2 credit hours. To receive credit, please follow the instructions provided in your confirmation email.
  • Highlands Biological Station courses appear on the UNC-CH transcript as BIOL 459 Field Biology. On the WCU transcript as BIOL 493 Special Topics for undergraduate credit and BIOL 593 Special Topics for graduate credit. WCU does include the official course title on the transcript.
Payment Information

You will receive instructions on how to pay in your confirmation email. Please note that this email is sent after your registration is processed by our office, so it may take several business days to receive your confirmation.

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:

  • Less than 30 days before course start: no refund
  • 30-45 days before course start: Refund less a $150 processing fee
  • 45+ days before course starts: Refund less $75 processing fee
Housing Information
  • 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. The housing fee covers the cost of your room.
  • Students at Highlands Biological Station are considered students of the UNC system and are therefore bound by the University system’s honor code.
  • Highlands Biological Station does not offer any dining services, but you will have access to a full kitchen for your stay. Our dorms are a shared living facility, so plan on having 1-3 roommates. Alcohol consumption is prohibited outside of the residences and dining hall, and underage drinking is strictly prohibited.
  • Other than documented service animals, no animals are allowed in the living facilities.
  • We have a self-check-in procedure. Housing assignments are included in your acceptance e-mail, and you will also receive an e-mail a week prior to your arrival with the access code for the door, which is changed after each course.  Please arrive the Sunday before your course starts. For cleaning purposes, you must vacate your room by noon on the Saturday after your course ends. If your course meets on Saturday, plan to remove all of your personal items from the room that morning before going to class.
  • Mail is checked daily during the week. When we receive a package for you, we will email you and let you know it’s here. To receive mail before/during your stay, please use the following address:                                                                                   Highlands Biological Station
    Attn: Your Name (course name)
    265 North 6th Street
    Highlands, NC 28741
Packing List
  1. Flashlight/head lamp – campus is dark at night!
  2. Bed linens (extra long twin size sheets, blankets, pillow)
  3. Towel and washcloth
  4. Rain gear (Highlands is in a temperate rainforest)
  5. Warm clothes for the night
  6. Hiking shoes/gear
  7. Daypack, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.
  8. Toiletries
  9. Laptop computer (we have campus-wide Wi-Fi but no computers)
  10. Notebook, pencils, pens, course materials
  11.  Food, clearly marked with your name and departure date
  12. Your instructor may send out information regarding required/recommended course texts/supplies

** Please note that firearms and other weapons are strictly prohibited.

Financial Aid Information

HBS is fortunate to offer limited financial aid with the support of the Highlands Biological Foundation 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 required documents must accompany your application:

  • Statement of Need explaining why you need aid, and how your coursework at HBS is important to your education or work. Recommended length: 250 words.

  • Letter of Recommendation from either your major professor, or a faculty member who is well acquainted with your academic qualifications. This may be emailed to our Business Officer at kfcooke@wcu.eduIt is your responsibility to confirm that we have received all financial aid materials.

Contact Information

For questions regarding payment and academic credit, please contact our Business Officer at kfcooke@wcu.edu.

For all other questions, contact our Program Assistant at wford@wcu.edu