Marine Field Courses – Summer, J-Term, Spring Break

The best way to learn marine biology is to get your feet wet… literIMG_3214ally. Or, in the memorable words of 19th C. naturalist, Louis Agassiz, “Study Nature Not Books“.

Full-semester Study Abroad Programs offer students the opportunity to study abroad (and aboard ship) for a full semester. Intense, short-term field courses are offered at URI and by marine laboratories around the US that provide invaluable opportunities for experiential learning in marine biology.Past

Field Courses at URI

Many marine biology courses offered during the academic year at URI include field work, but the following are intense field courses that have taken place locally, aboard ship, and in the Caribbean, during J-term, Spring Break and Summer Term. 

Past Offerings Have Included:

Short Cruise-Based Courses aboard the R/V Endeavoroccasional courses offered by faculty in CELS and GSO that incorporate a cruise on URI’s research vessel, the R/V Endeavor; these will be announced on a semester-by-semester basis.

Coral Reef Conservation and Analysis (NRS 475X, Dr. Forrester [NRS]) – J-Term (10 days) – learn about important global marine conservation issues; learn to apply interdisciplinary theory to marine conservation; develop SCUBA skills to put ideas in practice and to solve real conservation problems. Critical analysis of primary literature and local case studies are integrated with daily SCUBA-based investigations.

Marine Invertebrates of Southern New England (BIO 355) – Summer Term – 4 weeks – students study invertebrate diversity in their Rhode Island backyard where considerable local biodiversity is challenged by coastal development and the effects of climate change.

Summer Field Courses at Other Institutions

Students need to submit a “Pre-approval of Transfer Credit” form to make sure that transfer credit are applied to their transcript appropriately (e.g., as Marine Biology electives). 

 Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML;  Univ. New Hampshire and Cornell Univ.; on Appledore Island, in the Gulf of Maine, off Portsmouth, NH). A wide range of field courses are offered each summer. Courses are full-time activities and are 1 to 3 weeks in length, may be taken sequentially. Academic credit is transferable and will count as Marine Biology Electives (for Marine Biology major or minor).  SML also offers research internships in marine biology, engineering and sustainability. Financial aid (SML scholarships and internships) is available. Consult the SML website for more information. Several URI students go to SML each summer to take courses or do internships. 

Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL; University of Washington Marine Laboratory, San Juan Island in Puget Sound, WA). Several different courses and apprenticeships in marine biology are offered in the fall, spring and summer quarters. U. Washington is on a quarter system (3 quarters/academic year + summer).  Financial aid is available.  Consult the FHL website for more information about particular courses.

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB; University of Oregon, Charleston, OR) – offers a wide range of courses in the Fall, Spring, or Summer (a full semester, or 2 to 8 weeks in length) and weekend workshops on special topics. Financial aid is available. Consult the OIMB website for more information about particular courses.

Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL; Woods Hole, MA). Summer courses have been offered at the MBL for over 125 years! Today, these courses are for advanced graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. However, undergraduates may participate in the MBL’s Fall Semester in Environmental Science (via transfer credit from Brown University) or as undergraduate research interns. For other undergraduate opportunities at the MBL, click here.

For information about courses at other Marine Laboratories in the US, see links on the website of the National Association of Marine Laboratories. (Click on “Courses” for a remarkable list of courses offered by all members of the Association).

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