Turks & Caicos Islands

Center for Marine Resource Studies

Turks & Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are home to vibrant coral reefs, dramatic sea walls, a deep ocean trench, mangrove forests, and extensive seagrass beds, which together sustain a stunning diversity of sea life. Spotted eagle rays, sharks, sea turtles, humpback whales, and dozens of fish species thrive among the sandy shoals, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and coral reefs surrounding the Islands.

Programs

semester

Marine Resource Studies

Spend a semester on the island of South Caicos, where spectacular marine ecosystems are still largely untouched by tourism and development. Don your wetsuit and get to know a host of marine life while conducting research on coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. Evaluate fisheries resources and policies while collecting data that helps community members balance their rights and needs with the island’s conservation goals.
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15 Weeks
16 Credits
Spring 2021

Jan 25 - May 7

Closed

Fall 2021

Aug 30 - Dec 10

Open

winter session

Foundations of Tropical Marine Ecosystems

Spend your winter break exploring the spectacular reefs and turquoise waters of South Caicos, snorkeling or diving with rays, turtles, brilliantly colored fish, and other marine life. In this introductory course, you’ll learn how to identify key marine species, study the connection and co-dependence of the island’s ecosystems, and explore the environmental issues impacting these habitats and the island community.
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03 Weeks
03 Credits
Winter 2021

Dec 28 - Jan 15

Closed

Winter 2022

Dec 27 - Jan 14

Open

summer session I

Fundamentals of Marine Conservation

Explore the spectacular reefs and turquoise waters of South Caicos, snorkeling or diving with rays, turtles, brilliantly colored fish, and other marine life. In this summer study abroad program, you’ll learn about the environmental issues and policies affecting these ecosystems and the island community, and gain the skills needed to conduct marine research.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

May 31 - Jun 30

Open

summer session II

Marine Megafauna

Spend your summer studying sharks, turtles, and rays in the waters surrounding the island of South Caicos. In this summer study abroad program, you’ll learn about the ecology and conservation of these and other marine megafauna through in-water field lectures, snorkel or dive sessions, and video tracking exercises.
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04 Weeks
04 Credits
Summer 2021

Jul 5 - Aug 4

Open


What Students Are Saying:


 
“The SFS Turks and Caicos program is one of the most unique and rewarding experiences I have ever had. The facilities were perfect for what I was looking for: a place where I could unplug, relax, perform rewarding research and learn how to dive. The diving was fantastic and extremely unique. You will not regret going to this program. It’s life changing.”
 
– Kevin, College of the Holy Cross


 
“I decided that I needed to go to TCI because I loved diving and being in the water so much; and let me tell you it was the best decision I have ever made. The staff are all amazing people who are genuine and want to help you succeed. I loved being able to be out in the field almost every day. The locals are so nice and I really recommend getting to know them. The field station itself truly became home.”
 
– Nicole, Siena College


 
“I left SFS Turks and Caicos having gained an unimaginable marine science education, research and field experience, SCUBA certification and experience, friends for life, and the ability to live and work in community with my peers and professors.”
 
– Erin, University of Virginia

 

Where You'll Be Living

The Center is a former hotel overlooking the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Spectacular sunsets, open-air facilities, warm sunshine, and a refreshing ocean breeze define this marine field station. Get to know the small, historic town of Cockburn Harbour, engage in community activities, and spot the flamingoes, wild horses, and donkeys that call this island home.

  • Dorm living with four to six students per room
  • Waterfront campus with direct access to the ocean
  • Air-conditioned classroom and computer lab
  • Open-air dining space, on-site cooking staff
  • Dock, dive shed, and small fleet of research boats
  • Volleyball, hammocks, and swimming pool by the ocean
Click here to read stories from students, staff, and faculty on our blog

 
 
 

Program Costs

Study abroad is an investment in yourself – you’ll return home with new experiences, skills, knowledge, and friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. SFS program costs cover a variety of expenses, including:
 

  • Pre-program advising and on-site orientation
  • Tuition and research fees
  • Housing at the field station and on excursions
  • Daily meals and snacks
  • Airport transfers (for arrival/departure)
  • Field excursions and cultural activities
  • Student success and wellness team on site
  • 24/7 mental health and well-being support
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Official transcript processing

View TCI Program Costs

Financial Aid

We know cost can be one of the biggest barriers to studying abroad. At SFS, we’re committed to making our programs accessible to students which is why we award more than $650,000 in need-based financial aid each year. Our Admissions Team has worked with thousands of students and are here to answer your questions about the SFS aid process, aid available through your home school, and funding from external sources.
 
SFS Financial Aid: Need-based aid packages typically consist of a combination of scholarships, grants, and zero- and low-interest loans. SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.

Home School Aid: Be sure to ask your home school study abroad office or financial aid office what financial aid resources might be available to support your study abroad experience.

External Funding Opportunities: Organizations such as the Fund for Education Abroad or the Gilman International Scholarship Program award scholarships to students going abroad. These can be a great opportunity to reduce the cost of your program even more.
 
Learn More about Financial Aid


 
 
 

 

Research

Research at the SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies focuses on the health of marine habitats, natural resource conservation, and local livelihoods. Students and faculty engage with the local community as they explore the impacts of environmental threats, commercial fisheries, and increased tourism on the area ecosystems and the small island’s economy.
 
Our research focuses primarily on the following themes:

  • Climate change and the ocean
  • Tourism impacts
  • Commercial fisheries
  • Coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass ecosystems
  • Marine protected areas

Environmental Issues

Our Centers are strategically located in regions facing critical environmental issues. Students and faculty study these issues and collect data to help facilitate sustainable responses. In the Turks & Caicos Islands, we’re currently investigating the following issues:

Climate Change
Biodiversity Conservation
Community Resource Management
Tourism Impacts
Environmental Policy
Fisheries Management
Learn More About the Issues

Community

South Caicos, TCI

 
SFS is an active part of the Big South community, where we have been based for over 30 years.

We have built long-term, collaborative relationships in the communities around the Center, and developed our research plans based on the environmental issues they and the surrounding ecosystems face. Throughout the program, students experience the Caribbean culture and island lifestyle and participate in community activities including tutoring and mentoring local children, providing swim and snorkel lessons, demonstrating field research techniques to high schoolers, and playing sports with the locals.

At the end of each semester program, we host a Community Research Night where select students will present their research findings to the community. SFS research data is shared with the community, local NGOs, and the Turks & Caicos government.
 

Read stories about our community in the Turks & Caicos Islands