Spring 2024 Travel Courses

The Marine Lab is offering four travel courses for the spring 2024 semester. The Duke Marine Lab is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in our travel course destinations and making plans in consultation with Duke's Office of Global Travel, International SOS and our colleagues working in our destination sites. It is possible that our destinations may change due to developments with the COVID-19 pandemic after registration. We will communicate any changes with students directly before Drop/Add on January 24.  

We will activate the Spring 2024 Travel Course Interest Form in October 2023. 


Graduate Students:  

Registration & Policies

COVID-19 Policies

  • Students must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prior to departure for their program. Please check the Duke website to ensure you are in compliance; https://covidvaccine.duke.edu/requirements
  •  You will be expected to comply with all country exit/entry requirements. If required, students may need to sequester while waiting for test results or as part of entry quarantine requirements.
  • If you are feeling ill, suspect you might be ill, or have any COVID-19 symptoms (see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html), you should isolate yourself and contact program administrators to inquire about getting tested for COVID-19 or treated for your illness.
  • Face coverings: You must wear appropriate face coverings at all times when required to do so by local health authorities and/or program staff, both inside and outside buildings. Appropriate use of face coverings is critical in minimizing risks to others. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for physical distancing when required to do both.


Travel Requirements

  • All students are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • 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 may participate in up to two 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. Carteret County does not carry all of the required vaccines, so we recommend students get the required vaccines before arriving to the Marine Lab.
  • 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 more than one travel courses and you are interested in research independent study, please send an email to Gwendy Womble.

Please complete the Travel Course Qualtrics to note your travel course preferences and to provide us with some information about you. This form will ask for your passport information. ** Please complete the Travel Course Qualtrics found HERE   to request a permission number for a travel course. 

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.


Spring 2024 Travel Courses

The Marine Lab is working closely with Duke's Office of Global Travel to offer travel courses during the spring 2023 semester.  Plans for travel courses may change due to the changing circumstances, even after registration. 

** Please complete the Travel Course Qualtrics found HERE   to request a permission number for a travel course. 

Block A: Marine Ecology –  Australia, Heron Island

ENVIRON 773LA. Graduate Registration

Factors that influence the distribution, abundance, and diversity of marine organisms, including a survey of the major flora and fauna in the marine environment. Topics include physical characteristics of marine systems, adaptation to environment, species interactions, biogeography, larval recruitment, and biodiversity and conservation of communities found in rocky shores, tidal flats, beaches, marshes, mangrove, coral reefs, and subtidal areas.

  • Block A, Spring 2024
  • Travel Dates: Arrive in Gladstone, Australia Jan 14- depart Jan 27
  • Faculty: Dr. Brian Silliman
  • Course Fee: $3850 – does not include airfare. 

Spring 2024: Marine Ecology is being taught as a travel course and the location for 2024 is Heron Island, Australia. Students interested in participating in this course will need to complete the course questionnaire via the DUML Travel Course Qualtrics to receive a permission number to enroll. 

View travel course details (PDF) 

Block B: ​Urban Tropical Ecology –  Singapore, Spring 2024


Experiential field oriented course in Singapore and Malaysia focusing on human ecology, tropical diversity, disturbed habitats, Asian extinctions, and resource management. 

  • Block B, Spring 2024
  • Travel Dates: class begins in Singapore 11:00 am Feb.19- departs Singapore March 5th, after 5:00 pm (faculty will discuss flight specifics with students before airline tickets are purchased) 
  • Faculty: Dr. Dan RittschofDr. Tom Schultz
  • 2024 Course fee: $2,000. Does not include airfare. Please be aware that this flight can cost~ upwards of $1,800. 

**This course requires a great deal of walking (several miles a day) in a very warm and humid climate. Students in this course should be comfortable walking between 5 & 13 miles per day. If you know that you are physically unable to do this level of activity but would still like the experience, contact tom.schultz@duke.edu to discuss. 

Students interested in participating in the Urban Tropical Ecology course are required to respond to and acknowledge the statement of expectations for the course via the DUML Travel Course Qualtrics prior to receiving a permission number to enroll. 

View travel course details (PDF) 2023 >

Block C: Community-Based Marine Conservation –  Kino Bay, Mexico, Spring 2024 **PLEASE NOTE THIS COURSE WILL DEPART AT THE BEGINNING OF SPRING BREAK**


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.

  • Block C, Spring 2024
  • Travel Dates:  Monday, March 11-Thursday, March 28th. This course will depart at the beginning of Spring Break in 2024.
  • Faculty: Dr. Xavier Basurto
  • Course fee: $1900  – does not include airfare

Students interested in participating in the Community-Based Marine Conservation course are required to:

  1. Read the syllabus in its entirety to determine if this is the right course for you. (SYLLABUS HERE)
  2. Write a brief essay expressing interest and upload to the DUML Travel Course Qualtrics  (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. 

View syllabus and travel course details

Block D: Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles –   Puerto Rico and/or St. Croix, Spring 2024

ENVIRON 777A.  Graduate Registration

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.

  • Block D, Spring 2024
  • Travel dates: April 15-25
  • Faculty: Dr. Matthew Godfrey
  • Course fee:   $2100 - does not include airfare 

Students interested in participating in the Sea Turtles travel course are required to acknowledge and sign the statement of expectations for the course in the DUML Travel  Course Qualtrics to receive a permission to enroll.

View travel course details (PDF) 2023 >

*Course Fees: 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. Fees subject to change.