The Duke University Marine Lab offers travel courses during the fall and spring semester to students who are enrolled full time for the semester. In the fall, students can participate in a half-credit course in Panama during an extended (week-long) fall break. In the spring semester, students can choose to participate in courses with travel components in Baja (Mexico), Australia, Puerto Rico/St. Croix, or Singapore. 

Travel Requirements

  • Students must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. Most countries will not permit a traveler to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.
  • All participants will be asked to complete a Participation Agreement, which includes a Travel Course Waiver & Release and a Medical Information Form, for each course. Participation agreements for undergraduates need to be signed by parents/guardians. 
  • Students who wish to participate in three travel courses will need special permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Please send your request to Tom.Schultz@duke.edu and Katie.Wood@duke.edu. Students may not participate in 4 travel courses. 
  • Review the Center for Disease Control website for any recommended or required vaccinations. Duke has a travel clinic on main campus (Durham, NC) to support student vaccination needs. Students from outside universities should check with their institution to determine the best way to get any needed vaccines.
  • Visit travel.duke.edu for additional information including SOS International Travel Insurance, and the required Duke Travel Registry.


In addition to semester tuition, students will be responsible for a travel course fee, travel to and from the location, and some meals (depending on the course). Review the individual course descriptions for associated costs.  

How to Register

Space is limited. Duke Marine Lab staff work with students to ensure fair distribution of slots for undergraduates and graduates. Permission for travel courses is granted by individual instructors and in conjunction with Marine Lab administration after a Dean's check to verify good academic standing. Please contact Gwendy Womble with questions.  

If it is your intention to take multiple travel courses and you are interested in research independent study, please send an email to Independent Study Director, Dan Rittschof.

Travel Course Refund Policy

Voluntary Withdrawal

In the case of withdrawal, any remaining paid tuition will be refunded in accordance with the Duke University refund policy outlined in the Duke University Bulletin of Undergraduate Instruction https://trinity.duke.edu/undergraduate/academic-policies/tuition-refund:

  • Withdrawal before classes begin: Full tuition refunded.
  • Withdrawal during first or second week: 80% of tuition refunded.
  • Withdrawal during third, fourth, or fifth week: 60% of tuition refunded.
  • Withdrawal during sixth week: 20% of tuition refunded.
  • Withdrawal after six weeks: No tuition refunded.

If a student elects to withdraw from a travel course before classes begin, the program fee will be removed from the student’s bursar account. Airfare is nonrefundable; students are responsible for these costs if they withdraw from the course after the purchase has been made.

Refunds for Involuntary Withdrawal

Duke students asked to withdraw due to academic or disciplinary probation, suspension, or violation of the Duke Community Standard once a program is underway will not receive a refund.