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SFS-Turks and Caicos Islands: Marine Resource Studies

Program Location South Caicos Island, Turks and Caicos Islands
Sponsor School for Field Studies
Program Type Co-sponsored
Course # SA 35006
Duration Semester
Upcoming Program Dates
Spring 2020 01/26/20 to 05/06/20
Current Program Dates
Fall 2019 09/01/19 to 12/11/19

Page Links
Overview Purdue Credit
Eligibility Academics
Housing Program Costs
Financial Aid Deadline
Returnee Info Resources

Our Center is working with the TCI government's Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and the National Park Service to develop management strategies that shield the TCI from the fate that has befallen other nearby areas in the Caribbean. Student field research is helping to provide the local government, community, and tourism developers with advice that will help sustain the economic, societal, and ecological stability of South Caicos and its island community.

With so many local residents dependent upon marine resources for their livelihood, along with increasing resource consumption by tourists, finding viable options for managing fisheries and conserving critical habitats, including coral reefs, is crucial. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving in waters surrounding South Caicos, students learn professional field research techniques to identify a wide range of marine organisms and habitats, and learn about marine ecology and coastal ecosystems. Students grapple with the challenges of balancing the economic needs of the fishing community with fisheries management and analyze the costs and benefits of potential new fisheries. Assessing the pros and cons of resource management and habitat conservation options, and the social and economic implications of these options, brings students face-to-face with the real-life dilemmas faced by the governmental regulators and the residents of South Caicos.

Recent research indicates that conch and lobster nursery areas in dense sea grass beds need urgent protection in order to sustain these economically important resources. SFS students research the distribution and role of the sea grass habitats in the coastal environment of South Caicos. With the Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea National Park at their doorstep, students are able to evaluate the concept of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a resource management tool. Students help monitor the condition of the spectacular coral reefs, both inside and outside the MPAs, using scientifically rigorous monitoring techniques. Based on their field observations, students assess the validity of indicator species for reef health, the effects of diver tourism and habitat destruction, marine species interactions, the impact of coral diseases, and many other issues related to marine natural resource harvesting, conservation, and monitoring. 

For more program information, please visit the program website. This program is sponsored by:School for Field Studies.


The program is open to Purdue students who have completed at least two semesters of university study, including one semester of college-level ecology or biology, by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity and a desire to experience another culture.

GPA Requirement: 2.8 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: none

Purdue Credit
Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Agriculture][College of Liberal Arts]
Specifically from: All (AG) and Liberal Arts majors fulfilling their science requirement

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.

Academic Program
Semester students are registered in four academic courses accredited through Boston University:

BI/EE (NS) 373 Tropical Marine Ecology (4 credits)
EE (NS) 374 Principles of Resource Management (4 credits)
EE (SS) 302 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values (4 credits)
EE 491 or 492 Directed Research (4 credits)


The Center for Marine Resource Studies is adjacent to Cockburn Harbour, a town of about 1,100 residents. The field station sits on elevated land about 40 feet above the water (i.e. not on a beach) and looks directly out over the sea. Within a three-mile radius are coral reefs, mangrove islands, sea grass beds, carbonate platform flats, and deep water diving.

The main facility has a dining area, kitchen, classroom, library/computer room, and a veranda with spectacular ocean views. Students share living quarters in two residence wings.

Estimated Program Costs

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

The program fee includes all meals at the center, tuition, program-related ground transportation and park entrance fees, field equipment, supplies, and on-site orientation.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Spring 2020

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee$17,595.00
Study Abroad Fee$914.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month)$32.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare$800.00
Books and Supplies$400.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 -$1,600.00
Travel Documents (passport, photos)$175.00

Financial Aid

SFS offers many scholarships and/or 0% interest loans (no FAFSA form required). Please see the SFS website for more details.

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline.  To insure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an on-line application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
Most Fall Semester Programs Mar 1
Most Spring Semester Programs Sep 15

Returnees Information

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.

For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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