2019 & 2020 Travel Courses @ Duke Marine Lab

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 California and Panama during an extended (weeklong) 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. Space is limited. Duke Marine Lab staff work with students to ensure fair distribution of slots for undergraduates and graduates. 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). Duke Marine Lab travel courses require a permission # to enroll in Duke Hub and students will need a valid passport  Please see specific course details below.

  • Note about vaccinations: Check 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. 
  • 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.
  • Passports should have 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.
  • Duke's "Travel Outside the US" website for additional information including SOS International Travel Insurance, and the required Duke Travel Registry.

Duke Marine Lab Refund Policy  

2019 Duke Immerse with travel to China

2019 Fall Break Travel Courses

2020 Spring Semester Course Pages

2020 Spring Semester Travel Courses

Block A: Biological Oceanography aboard the Marine Lab's R/V Shearwater

Details coming soon.

Block A: 
Travel Course dates: TBA
Faculty: Dr. Zackary Johnson
Course Fee: TBA

Block A: Marine Ecology, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Marine ecology is being taught in spring 2020as a travel course in Block A (exact dates, TBA but approximately, 14 days)  in Heron Island located on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Tentative plans: Students will need to arrive in Gladstone, Australia together so the group can depart for Heron Island.  

Block A :  
Travel Course dates: TBA
Faculty: Dr. Brian Silliman
Course Fee: $3,5401 (does not include airfare) *subject to change

Click here for the course description 

Block B: ​Urban Tropical Ecology in Singapore
Experiential field oriented course in Singapore and Malaysia  focusing on human ecology, tropical diversity, disturbed habitats, Asian extinctions, and resource management. Students spend approximately three weeks in Singapore/Malaysia during spring semester.Students interested in participating in the Urban Tropical Ecology course are required to respond to acknowledge and sign the attached statement of expectations  prior to receiving a permission number to enroll (emailt to Tom.Schultz@duke.edu)

NOTE: Students interested in both the Singapore course and the Australia course could opt to spend spring break in the region and meet in Australia for the start of Block C.

Click here for additional programmatic details including a draft itinerary

Block D: Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles in Puerto Rico & St. Croix
Essential biology of sea turtles (evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, life history, population dynamics) and their conservation needs; emphasis on their role in marine ecosystem structure and function. Basic ecological concepts integrated with related topics including the conservation and management of endangered species, the contributions of technology to the management of migratory marine species, the role of research in national and international law and policy, and the veterinary aspects of conservation.Students interested in participating in the Sea Turtles travel course are required to acknowledge and sign the attached statement of expectations prior to receiving permission to enroll. (email to Matthew.Godfrey@duke.edu)

  • Block: D  
  • Travel dates: TBA 
  • Faculty: Dr. Matthew Godfrey
  •  Course fee: $1,832(does not include airfare- please note that this course has two sets of flights because the course travels to St. Croix and to Puerto Rico) *subject to change

Click here for additional programmatic details including a draft itinerary

Block D: Community-Based Marine Conservation in the Gulf of California

Experiential education course on community-based conservation. Students learn first-hand about the challenges (accomplishments, failures, and promises) involved in its design and practice in developing countries of high biological diversity. Learn about the unique natural and political history, and social characteristics of the places where conservation takes place. Students link local context to broader perspectives through key readings and class discussions. Travel to biodiversity hotspots in the Gulf of California Required. Consent of instructor required. Students interested in participating in the Community-Based Marine Conservation course are required to: 

1) Read the syllabus  (linked below) in its entirety to determine if this is the right course for you.

2. Write and submit a one page essay (single spaced) stating that you have read the syllabus and describe a) why you want to take the course, and b) how it would contribute to your interests and/or professional goals. I also want to know what is your level of experience camping in remote isolated places, with little privacy, and primitive facilities, and how comfortable you are
in and around boats. Also state what is your level of swimming proficiency and whether you are trained on wilderness first aid. Send your essay to xavier.basurto@duke.edu.  Essays will be considered confidential and only read by the instructor.

  • Block C
  • Travel Dates:  TBA
  • Faculty: Dr. Xavier Basurto
  • Course fee: $1,700 (does not include airfare)  *subject to change

Click here for additional programmatic details including a draft itinerary.

1 The course fee will be posted on students’ Duke bursar bill and usually includes in-country food, lodging, activity fees, and on-site course-related transportation. There are exceptions. Students should check with the instructor for details. Airfare is not included.


Duke Marine Lab Spring Semester 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 Instructionhttps://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.


Durham-based Travel Courses