SFS-Turks and Caicos Islands: Marine Resource Studies

Program Details

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
Fall 2024 08/31/24 to 12/12/24
Current Program Dates
Spring 2024 01/30/24 to 05/10/24
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice


Spend a semester on the island of South Caicos, where spectacular marine ecosystems remain largely untouched by tourism and development. Throw on your wetsuit and discover a host of marine life while conducting research on coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. Evaluate fisheries resources and policies while collecting data that helps community members balance their rights and needs with the island’s conservation goals. 

  • Swim, dive, or snorkel nearly every day in the tropical western Atlantic – learn marine species identification and population assessment techniques while visiting coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove nurseries, sand bars, and tiny, uninhabited cays. 
  • Explore one of the Caribbean’s largest cave systems on a multi-day expedition to Middle and North Caicos. Tour an old cotton plantation and learn Indigenous histories of the islands. 
  • Participate in coral restoration work firsthand; learn basic methods used to establish coral nurseries and work with local organizations to outplant coral to support reef regeneration. 
  • Earn your Open Water SCUBA certification during the first month of the program. This lifelong certification unlocks years of underwater exploration! Further your education and expand your underwater skills in the Advanced Open Water course offered later in the semester. Learn more here. 
  • Conduct a comprehensive field research project: Develop a research question, collect and analyze data, write a paper, and present your findings. Read more about SFS Directed Research projects.

The SFS 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. 

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

This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Semester students are registered in four academic courses:

  • Tropical Marine Ecology (4 credits)
  • Principles of Resource Management (4 credits)
  • Marine Conservation Governance (4 credits)
  • Directed Research (4 credits)

Please see SFS website for more details.


You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include coral reefs, mangrove islands, seagrass beds, fishing communities, carbonate platform flats, beaches, marine protected areas, numerous shallow-water snorkeling sites, protected wetlands, caves on Middle Caicos Island, a historical plantation on North, and the tourist hub of Providenciales.


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 wing, in 4-6 person bunkrooms. Volleyball courts, hammocks, and a swimming pool are also available for student use. 

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

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.

Student who choose to be SCUBA certified will have additional costs.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Fall 2024

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee $22,350.00
Study Abroad Fee $914.10
Housing $7,150.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month) $32.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare $1,000.00
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 (typically an essay, transcripts, 1-2 recommendations, and copy of passport) before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline. To ensure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online 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 studyabroad@purdue.edu.