2021 Dates: June 20 through July 16
Cost: $2,250
Application Deadline: April 1, 2021

The Residential Marine Science Class is an immersive 4-week academic class that introduces high school students to the field of marine science. The course gives students a better understanding and appreciation of the various disciplines in marine biology and oceanography.

Students live on campus and participate in more than 180 hours of supervised academic activities. Students take part in fieldwork, individual and group assignments, lectures, laboratory investigations, off-campus field trips, research projects, oral presentations, and written and practical examinations.

Topics include:

Marine ecology Fisheries
Principles of oceanography Marine technology
Marine geology Barrier island ecology
Marine invertebrates Salt marsh ecology
Marine vertebrates Ocean chemistry
Estuarine ecology Human impacts
Plankton biology  


Our educational approach is hands-on. Students spend a great deal of time in the field, studying different marine habitats and ecosystems. Field activities correspond to course topics but include, among others, the exploration of the salt marsh community and barrier islands, snorkeling in seagrass beds, and several trips aboard the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's 65-foot research vessel, the R/V Alabama Discovery.  Special field trips include an overnight snorkeling trip to St. Andrew's State Park in Panama City, FL.

Students observe and work with such gear as an otter trawl, bottom dredges, plankton nets, seine nets, water quality profilers, refractometers, spectrophotometers, and water quality test kits. Students collect and identify marine species from various habitats, build and use sampling gear such as ROVs and drifters, participate in lab and field dissections, conduct an individual research project, and are acquainted with careers in marine science through a panel discussion with marine science professionals.

Course Credit:

Discovery Hall Programs' marine science class has been accredited by the Alabama State Department of Education. Alabama public school system students can take the course for the third or fourth science elective required for graduation. Out-of-state or private schools are encouraged to grant course credit toward a standard or advanced high school diploma. 

The University of West Alabama has reviewed the course content of the Discovery Hall Programs’ Marine Science Course and awards undergraduate credit hours in biology to students passing the class. Additional registration and tuition fees to UWA apply.