An Unforgettable Duke Experience
For a summer or a semester, you can experience island living and hands-on learning, earnest faculty, small classes, low faculty-to-student ratios and the camaraderie of a close-knit community.
A Welcoming Community of Scholars
Students consistently say they value the inclusive learning environment at the Duke University Marine Lab (DUML). You will find abundant opportunities to get to know your professors, learn from master's and PhD students, and form meaningful connections sparked by shared interests.
Field Experiences Abroad
During the week-long fall break, students can opt to take a half-credit intensive field experience on the coast of Panama. In the spring semester, we offer five travel courses with extended field components in Australia, South Florida, Mexico, Puerto Rico/St. Croix and Singapore (additional travel costs apply).
In the fall, nearly every undergraduate student enrolls in research independent study, joining one of 15-20 faculty-led projects in biology, environmental science and policy, and earth and ocean sciences.
01 / 05 • from our students
a day in the life
Ryan Rogers T'22 is majoring in Biology and Environmental Sciences & Policy and is spending a fall semester at the Marine Lab. Check out Ryan's Instagram story covering everything from classes, research and dorms, to finding BIPOC support and staying connected to main campus.
02 / 05 • from our students
Why duke marine lab?
“I heard the environment was more relaxed and intimate ... I also had the added bonus of being able to participate in the Oceans and Health Duke Immerse program, which aligned very well with the topics I’m studying.”
–Ricky Romersi T'21, chemistry + environmental scienceS
03 / 05 • from our students
advice for others?
“If you can possibly change your schedule and make it work, you should come here at least for a summer ... if you like community, and you like being outside, even a little bit, it's the place to be.”
–maddie paris T'22, biology + environmental ScienceS
04 / 05 • from our students
“The small group learning environment, the cats, and the strong sense of community.”
–Melissa Marchese '21, global health + environmental sciences
05 / 05 • from our students
On Travel Courses
"Looking back at the few days we’d had so far on Isla Tiburon, I’m absolutely stunned by the treasures that we had been so fortunate to see, and thankful for the beautiful people from whom I had learned so much."
–Joshua Chin, undergraDuate student
Photo: Students in the course 'Community-Based Marine Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico' tag and release turtles in the study of marine protected areas.
A Complete Coastal Campus
The campus has all the things you’d expect at any college—a dining hall, library and student common spaces—plus a few extras like kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles and a water view just about everywhere you look.
Undergraduates all live on campus together in one of five residence halls. Classes are scheduled around breaks for lunch and dinner, giving students a chance to meet up for meals.
Courses Open to all majors
Undergraduates from any major are welcome to study at the Marine Lab. Courses fulfill a wide variety of general education requirements and are cross listed with other disciplines such as engineering, public policy and neuroscience.
The fall semester is a traditional schedule starting in August and ending in December, with one full week for fall break.
Spring semester is scheduled in five blocks, each running about three and half weeks. Travel courses are offered in each block (extra costs apply), as well as Beaufort-based options.
The two five-week summer terms feature a suite of experiential marine science courses as well as organic chemistry, calculus, statistics and physics.
Financial Support Options
Use your Duke financial aid. Duke University students who receive financial aid can apply their aid to study at the Marine Lab and enroll in travel courses. Summer tuition scholarships and residential advisor positions are also available.
Who Studies at the marine lab?
Enrollment is open to all college undergraduates. Students from other institutions are also welcome to study with us.
Many students, particularly those in pre-health, natural science and environmental science majors, take advantage of our personalized instruction to fulfill major requirements and explore electives and independent study options not offered elsewhere.
Many MEM students in the Coastal Environmental Management (CEM) program will spend up to two semesters at the Marine Lab, but you do not have to be a CEM student to take advantage of our coastal campus.
The Marine Science and Conservation PhD program is offered through the Duke Graduate School via the Nicholas School’s Division of Marine Science and Conservation. PhD Students spend one year in Durham and four years at DUML.
Did I miss the deadline?
For Duke students in good standing, there are no application deadlines—just send us an email to enroll. Duke students register for Marine Lab classes in Duke Hub during their normal assigned registration window.
Students from other institutions are welcome to study at the Marine Lab, as well. Visiting college student enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.
How can I fit this into my four years?
Our academic program staff is only an email away if you are unsure about how to fit in a semester at the Marine Lab. We assist students from all disciplines—including pre-health and engineering—to identify Marine Lab courses that satisfy your curricular requirements.
Please reach out, we're happy to help:
Duke Marine Lab
135 Duke Marine Lab Rd
Beaufort, NC 28516
Sign Up for Emails
We regularly visit the Durham campus for info fairs and to meet with students. Sign up for emails to receive event notifications and program announcements.
We strive to be at the forefront of understanding marine environmental systems, their conservation, and their governance through leadership in research, training, communication, and application.