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Coastal Study Away Programs

Students looking at jelly fish

Participate in research at UGA's renowned Marine Institute on Sapelo Island. Explore the salt marsh, conduct fisheries sampling aboard an oceanographic research vessel, see nesting sea turtles, and dive into independent research projects. These programs are open to both UGA and non-UGA students, and are ideal for students pursuing degrees in biology, ecology, chemistry, geology, fisheries, wildlife, environmental sciences, and oceanography.


Students will be in residence at the UGA Marine Institute (UGAMI) on Sapelo Island. UGAMI is located on Sapelo Island, an undeveloped barrier island situated between the Atlantic Ocean and pristine salt marshes. UGAMI has a long history of coastal research and has made significant contributions to understanding of the links between uplands, salt marshes and estuaries. UGAMI is located within the NOAA Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve (SINERR). There are fewer than 100 residents on the island.

During the program, students will also take several field trips to other locations on the Georgia Coast. 

UGAMI campus


Sapelo Housing

Students will be responsible for tuition (HOPE can be applied) and applicable UGA fees.

The program fee varies per program and students should visit UGA's Study Away website for the most updated information. Fees cover the cost of  accommodation (shown above), dinner at night, and transportation between coastal facilities and field study sites.  There's also a laboratory fee of $142.
The program fee does not include student travel to and from the coastal sites at the beginning and end of the course. Breakfast and lunch will not be provided, but facilities for food storage and preparation are available. 

Please contact the program director, Dr. Damon Gannon, if you have further questions.

Marine Biology Spring Semester

January 23 - April 30 2021
12+ credits

MARS 3450-3450L Marine Biology and Marine Biology Laboratory (4 Credits)

seine seine seineStudy of marine organisms and the environments they inhabit; diversity of marine organisms, primary and secondary production in marine habitats, ecological interactions in marine environments, and management concerns.

ECOL 3500-3500L- Ecology and Ecology Laboratory (4 Credits)

Population structure and dynamics, organization and classification of communities, and nutrient and energy flows in ecosystems.

MARS (FISH) 4380/6380  Marine Fisheries Biology (3 Credits)

Interaction of oceanographic processes with the life histories and productivity of marine fisheries species, and the human interactions with major marine fisheries. 

BIOL 3720L Field Animal Behavior (3 Credits)

Hands-on field study of animals living in diverse habitats. Illustrates behavior principles and provides experience with methods and techniques used in animal behavior research. Emphasis on data analysis and written communication of results.

ECOL 3480 Special Topics in Ecology (3 Credits)

Discussion and/or lectures relating to a central theme of special interest in ecology. Topics and instructors vary by semester.


Introductory Biology: BIOL 1107-1107L (Principles of Biology I) and BIOL 1108-1108L (Principles of Biology II)

Introductory Chemistry: CHEM 1211-1211L (Freshman Chemistry I) and CHEM 1212-1212L (Freshman Chemistry II)

Introductory Math: MATH 1113 (Pre Calculus)

Coastal Summer Semester

June 12 - July 10, 2021
8 credits

 For More Info and to Register

MARS 4500 Field Study in Oceanography and Marine Methods (4 Credits)

on a botStudents will be introduced to field and laboratory methods used to investigate marine ecosystems. This course emphasizes methods for identifying and studying marine organisms, oceanographic and coastal marsh sampling, and other field research methods. Major course topics include: organisms of the marine environment; sampling and analytical approaches for studying invertebrates, plants, and plankton; survey tools for the study of marine ecosystems; and data collection from oceanographic vessels. This course satisfies the laboratory course requirement for Biology majors, or can be used as a Biology elective. It satisfies the methods/skills requirement for Ecology majors.

BIOL 4960 – Undergraduate Research in Biology (4 credits)

Students will conduct laboratory and field research conducted under the supervision of a faculty member in biological sciences. This course satisfies the laboratory course requirement for Biology majors, or can be used as a major elective. It satisfies a major elective for Ecology majors.

MARS 4510 – Independent Study/Research in Oceanography and Marine Methods (4 credits)

Students learn to conduct independent field research in marine biology and oceanography under the supervision of a faculty member, gaining hands-on experience with field sampling gear, laboratory instruments, and data analysis tools. With the help of instructors, students design experiments, sample marine environments, and analyze their data. For Biology majors, this course provides upper level elective credit towards the 39-hour Rule. For Ecology majors, it satisfies a major elective requirement.

Students are required to register for MARS 4500 and one of the independent research courses. To accommodate hands-on learning, enrollment is limited to 15 students.


There are no academic pre-requisites for the summer semester program; however students must have permission of the program director, Dr. Damon Gannon


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