Dauphin Island Sea Lab offers diverse opportunities for graduate study in the marine sciences, focusing on the oceanography and ecology of estuaries and near-coastal communities and ecosystems. While the DISL serves as the focal point of graduate education in marine science in the state of Alabama, it is not a degree-granting institution, and graduate degrees are offered through ten of the 22 DISL Member Schools.

The Graduate Program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is carried out year-round, with most courses being offered during the academic year although some graduate courses may be taken during the DISL Summer Program. Graduate courses are taught by resident DISL faculty year-round as well as by visiting faculty during the summer. The DISL curriculum is designed and integrated to meet the requirements of the various member institutions.

How to Apply

Students interested in applying should contact potential advisors, the University Programs Registrar or a campus liaision to learn more on how to apply. Ten of the 22 MESC member schools offer graduate student programs, and are listed below.  

  • Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL
  • Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL
  • Samford University, Birmingham, AL
  • Troy University, Troy, AL
  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
  • University of Alabama at Huntsville, Hunstville, AL
  • University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

Stipend and Funding

Current DISL stipend rates are:

  • $18,000 - $19,000 MS students
  • $20,000 - $21,000 for Ph.D. students who have been admitted to candidacy.

*At many schools, funded students in good academic standing are also provided with tuition fellowships that cover 100% of tuition costs.

Student stipend support is available through both university and DISL fellowships, university and DISL-funded teaching assistantships, and grant-funded research assistantships.

Over the past several years, more than 95 percent of our students have been fully-funded.  Tuition varies based on the student’s home institution, although at many schools, funded students in good academic standing are also provided with tuition fellowships that can cover 100 percent of tuition costs.

More information about graduate student funding.


Albatross is a two-story efficiency apartment complex with twelve units is dedicated to year-round graduate student housing. These apartments are very popular because of their low cost and location on the campus.

All students who are interested in living in Albatross are entered into a lottery system upon acceptance to the program. A waiting list is kept, and added to, every semester new students arrive. Students may inquire about the waiting list by contacting the UP Registrar, Regina Kollegger.

Facilities on campus include May's Cafe, laundromat, gym, swimming pool, library and computer center.  The majority have been renovated to provide access to all users. Students with special needs are asked to notify University Programs Registrar Regina Kollegger at 251-861-2141.

Required Forms

Vessel Waiver
Media Release
Medical Release
Certificate of Registration
Internet Usage Form
Evacuation Form

Approximately 55 graduate students are in residence at the DISL on a year-round basis. Students generally undertake many of their formal course requirements during the first three semesters of study, at which time they also develop their thesis prospectus and initiate their research. 

In addition to stipend support, the DISL provides significant support for students to carry out their thesis research (e.g., vessel and vehicle use, materials and supplies, and analytical support) as well as travel to regional and national meetings. In addition, there are a limited number of low-cost housing options that are available on the DISL campus to graduate students.

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