Center for Marine Resource Studies

Marine Resource Studies

Turks and Caicos Islands
Semester
15 Weeks
16 Credits
Spring 2024
Jan 30 - May 10
In the Field
Fall 2024
Sep 6 - Dec 17
Open
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open
Program Costs
  • Tuition$22,600
  • Room & Board$7,200
  • Total$29,800
Application Deadlines
Spring 2024
November 15, 2023
Fall 2024
May 15, 2024
Spring 2025
November 15, 2025
Semester Program

Marine Resource Studies

South Caicos Islands,
Turks and Caicos Islands

Spend a semester on the island of South Caicos, where spectacular marine ecosystems remain largely untouched by tourism and development. Throw on your wetsuit and discover 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. 

  • Swim, dive, or snorkel nearly every day in the tropical western Atlantic – learn marine species identification and population assessment techniques while visiting coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove nurseries, sand bars, and tiny, uninhabited cays. 
  • Explore one of the Caribbean’s largest cave systems on a multi-day expedition to Middle and North Caicos. Tour an old cotton plantation and learn Indigenous histories of the islands. 
  • Participate in coral restoration work firsthand; learn basic methods used to establish coral nurseries and work with local organizations to outplant coral to support reef regeneration. 
  • Earn your Open Water SCUBA certification during the first month of the program. This lifelong certification unlocks years of underwater exploration! Further your education and expand your underwater skills in the Advanced Open Water course offered later in the semester. Learn more here
  • Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings.

Academics

This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. Each program combines theory learned during classroom sessions with field-based applications. 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
  • Approaches to sustainable tourism and fisheries
  • Marine resource management
  • Traditional island livelihoods
  • Coral health and resilience
  • Marine protected areas
  • Coastal management

Courses

On the Marine Resource Studies program, you will take three 4-credit disciplinary courses and a 4-credit capstone Directed Research course. Courses are participatory in nature and are designed to foster inquiry and active learning. Each course combines lectures, field exercises, assignments, tests, and research. All courses are taught in English.

Click on the
to view a description and download the syllabus.
SFS 3022
Marine Conservation Governance
4 credits
SFS 3022

Marine Conservation Governance

4 credits

Studying the use and conservation of marine and coastal natural resources requires scrutiny from many different natural science and social science perspectives. This course focuses on human interactions with local natural systems, and vice versa. Understanding the roles that nature-society interactions such as resource extraction, fishing, tourism, and associated development play in the protection of natural areas from human disturbance is crucial to the present and the future of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Our primary goal is to discover how we may encourage sustainable human-environment relationships. With a hands-on, teamwork focus on conservation and sustainable development, this course will help you comprehend the connections between theory and practice. It will also provide you with the on-the-ground practical skills and tools necessary to critically analyze management of the human-environment nexus. Because tourism, development, fishing, and conservation are simultaneously social, cultural, economic, and ecological phenomena, holistic critical thinking can help to create more sustainable programs that will benefit natural and social worlds.

View Syllabus
SFS 3730
Tropical Marine Ecology
4 credits
SFS 3730

Tropical Marine Ecology

4 credits

Marine ecology is the study of how marine organisms interact with their biotic and abiotic environments. In this course we will focus on the biological processes and trophic webs that exist in the ecosystems that dominate the shallow coastal areas of the tropical western Atlantic, i.e. mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, as well as the behavior and biology of the organisms that inhabit them. Furthermore, we will explore the ways in which Marine Protected Areas, climate change and hurricanes can affect ecological processes, and we will learn some of the practical field data collection techniques that can be employed to assess marine communities.

View Syllabus
SFS 3741
Principles of Marine Resource Management
4 credits
SFS 3741

Principles of Marine Resource Management

4 credits

This course is intended to introduce the disciplines and tools required to understand and manage marine resources. This component of the academic program at the Center for Marine Resources Studies (CMRS) makes the link between Marine Ecology and Marine Conservation Governance. Topical areas include fisheries management, marine conservation, ocean pollution management, marine protected areas, coastal zone management, and strategies for sustainable development.

View Syllabus
SFS 4910
Directed Research Turks and Caicos
4 credits
SFS 4910

Directed Research Turks and Caicos

4 credits

This course prepares students to distinguish hidden assumptions in scientific approaches and separate fact from interpretation, cause from correlation, and advocacy from objectivity. Students learn specific tools including: experimental design; field techniques; basic descriptive statistics; and parametric and non-parametric quantitative analysis. Emphasis is placed on succinct scientific writing, graphic and tabular presentation of results, and effective delivery of oral presentations.

View Syllabus

Core Skills

You will gain practical skills in the field such as: coral health assessment, marine species identification, underwater transects and quadrats, video and photo tracking, marine survey techniques, habitat and biodiversity assessment, ecosystem services valuation, research design and implementation, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, research presentation, and PADI Open Water Diver certification (offered at an additional cost, upon request).

Field Sites

You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include coral reefs, mangrove islands, seagrass beds, fishing communities, carbonate platform flats, beaches, marine protected areas, numerous shallow-water snorkeling sites, protected wetlands, caves on Middle Caicos Island, a historical plantation on North, and the tourist hub of Providenciales.


Other Turks and Caicos Islands Programs

Semester

Marine Resource Studies

15 Weeks
16 Credits
Spring 2024
Jan 30 - May 10
In the Field
Fall 2024
Sep 6 - Dec 17
Open
Spring 2025
Jan 27 - May 9
Open

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$22,600
  • Room & Board$7,200
  • Total$29,800
Summer Session 1

Fundamentals of Marine Conservation

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jun 3 - Jul 2
Closed

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$6,350
  • Room & Board$2,550
  • Total$8,900
Summer Session 2

Marine Fauna

4 Weeks
4 Credits
Summer 2024
Jul 8 - Aug 6
Waitlist

More Information

Program Costs
  • Tuition$6,350
  • Room & Board$2,550
  • Total$8,900

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