SUMMER 2020 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SFS has cancelled this program for Summer 2020. We will be offering a select number of programs this summer during our Summer 2 program dates (July 6 – August 5) and you can find that list here. Students are welcome to apply now for next year’s Summer 2021 program.
Dive under the waves and study 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 fundamentals course, 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.
Lay underwater transects to assess the health of the island’s coral reefs, which are among the largest in the world and are home to diverse marine species including the valuable queen conch
PADI SCUBA certifications are available on this program. Learn more here.
Program Costs & Financial Aid
Meet Your Admissions Counselor
SFS provides a comprehensive study abroad experience during a 6-day/week program schedule. SFS delivers the highest level of support and an unparalleled academic experience.
All students are welcome to apply for our need-based financial aid. Students who exhibit financial need for their program will be offered SFS financial aid. SFS aid is offered through a combination of scholarships, grants and loans.
Pell Grant Match
SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.
Many SFS students receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.
Amber grew up on a small family farm in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin. She attended Boston University and earned a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. She learned to love the natural world early in life and during her time at BU she studied abroad twice, once in Grenoble, France and once with SFS in Atenas, Costa Rica in 2012.
She was lucky enough to work on two Directed Research projects during her time with SFS in Costa Rica. One to contribute to an ecological assessment of the impacts of hummingbird feeders on pollination networks in Cloud Forests in Monteverde and another studying the impacts of trafficked roads bisecting or bordering the forest of Carara National Park.
During her career she has worked in student leadership development, run community organizing efforts, and spent time on several small farms (including her family farm in the Midwest) rediscovering her agricultural roots. She returned to SFS as an Admissions Counselor in 2015. Her experience in the field and abroad was transformative and she is delighted to have the opportunity to work to support students through the admissions and pre-departure process and share her experience with the next generation!
In her free time, she loves to cook, bake, hike, read, play ukulele, pet dogs, see live music, and be outside.
Itinerary varies from term to term and is subject to change. Program activities take place 6 days a week with one day free.
Week 1: Welcome to South Caicos! Move into dorms, meet roommates, and attend program orientation. Classes begin with lectures on tropical marine ecosystems including mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs, as well as TCI history and culture. Rec dive at the Grotto and rec snorkel at Shark Alley. In-water field exercise: Species IDs for mangrove and seagrass ecosystems. PADI Open Water (OW) Class begins (optional class, pre-program sign-up required). Swim lessons and science class with local kids.
Week 2: Lectures on climate change impacts, coastal development, coral reef species, marine resource management and enforcement (with guest lecture), and marine protected areas. Underwater field exercises: Species IDs for coral reef fishes and conch abundance survey. Rec dive at the Spanish Chain and rec snorkel at Admiral’s Aquarium. In-water mangrove, seagrass bed, and coral reef species ID test. Optional turtling and sharking activities. PADI OW class continues. Swim lessons and snorkel club with local kids.
Week 3: Lectures on marine protected areas, resource management, and coral bleaching. Underwater conch abundance and coral bleaching surveys and a coral reef fishes ID test. Rec dive at Troy’s Dream and rec snorkel at Hewy Dewy Lewy (HDL). PADI OW class continues. Community beachfront clean-up.
Week 4: Lectures on environmental impacts assessment and management plans (with presentation). Final exam. Snorkeling or diving research activity at the East Harbor Lobster and Conch Reserve (EHLCR). PADI OW class wraps up. Swim lessons with local kids. Trip to Long Cay to see nesting iguanas. Re-entry exercises and room cleanup. Closing activities. Head home.
This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Major academic themes include:
Marine ecology and conservation
Climate change and ocean acidification
Marine protected areas
Marine resource management strategies
Sustainable tourism and fisheries practices
On the Fundamentals of Marine Conservation program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.
Click on each course to view a description and download the syllabus
Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management
SFS 3530 Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management (4 credits)
This course is an interdisciplinary course that highlights key aspects of environmental assessment and management of tropical marine ecosystems. In addition, students explore sustainable development strategies for the Turks and Caicos Islands that are successful on a local and global scale. Students gain knowledge of subtropical marine ecosystem function and connectivity, and begin to understand the most pressing challenges at the intersection of marine conservation and economic development. Students learn how to engage in management of local fisheries and coastal development and how to respond to the global phenomena of climate change and ocean acidification.
You will gain practical skills in the field such as: marine species identification and population monitoring, habitat and biodiversity assessment, underwater transects and quadrats, snorkel and scuba skills, coral health survey, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and PADI Open Water Diver certification (offered at an additional cost, upon request).
You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include coral reefs, mangrove islands, seagrass beds, fishing communities, carbonate platform flats, coastal ecosystems, beaches, marine protected areas, numerous shallow-water snorkeling sites, and the historical tourist hub of Providenciales.
Take back-to-back summer sessions and get the hands-on learning and skill-building experiences of an internship, while also going off the beaten path and exploring the world. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions. Receive a $1,000 discount on your second session (effective for Summer 2020).
RECOMMENDED PROGRAM COMBO
Marine Megafauna (Turks & Caicos Summer II)
The Center is a small converted 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. A five-minute walk brings you to the small, historic town of Cockburn Harbour, where students and faculty frequently engage in community activities.
Dorm living in 4-6 person bunkrooms
Small, open campus with direct access to the ocean
Air-conditioned classroom and computer lab
Open-air dining space, and on-site cooking staff
Dock, dive shack, and small fleet of research boats
Volleyball, hammocks, and swimming pool overlooking the ocean
Click on the icons below to learn more about our Center in the Turks and Caicos Islands.