The School for Field Studies program in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) of the Caribbean is well-suited for students who want a hands-on study abroad program that examines issues of marine resource management. These British-governed islands are major exporters of conch and spiny lobster, and reef degradation and depletion of the fisheries has impacted the livelihood of the local community. Students live at the SFS Center on the South Caicos Island overlooking the sea where they frequently snorkel and SCUBA dive with SFS faculty to learn about the marine habitat and fisheries. Students learn to identify and observe the behavior of marine species, assess coastal and marine habitats, and quantify fisheries resources through hours of training, observation, and study in the water. For the Directed Research project near the end of the semester, students work in teams conducting research related to on-going SFS studies on topics such as lobster and conch stock levels, coral diseases, and sea grass habitats.

“I made some incredible friends and got to scuba dive and snorkel in crystal clear water and see beautiful marine organisms up close. I made friends with locals and learned about a different culture and lifestyle. I explored the island and had some wonderful adventures. And I learned so much about marine biology, which helped me discover that this is something I want to do for a career.” - Kate W. '18

Student Blog:

Catalina Burch | Spring 2017

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Delbert Hutchison (Biology Department)

Fields of study:

Tropical marine ecology, resource management and environmental studies


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement);Completion of at least one college-level ecology, biology, or environmental studies/science course. Competent swimming ability required.


16 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Tropical Marine Ecology (4 credits)
Principles of Resource Management (4 credits)
Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values (4 credits)
Directed Research (4 credits)




Rustic accommodations at the SFS Center


Provided by SFS at their Center

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


late August-December; late January-May


Rolling Admission - students are encouraged to apply early.


See Link to Financial Aid

Program Link:

SFS: Turks and Caicos Marine Resource Studies