BIOS Fall Semester Program in Marine Biology

Immerse yourself in the study of marine science with a program of coursework and research that creates an ideal experiential learning environment. In addition to traditional class lectures and laboratory sessions, easily accessible and diverse marine habitats allow for frequent and informative field trips. BIOS is a residential community of faculty scientists, technicians, interns and students, and participation in the Fall Semester will expose you to what it's like living and working at an active research station on a sub-tropical island.

Coral Reef Ecology
This course studies the biology and ecology of tropical corals and explores their response to environmental changes including those from projected global climate scenarios. Topics cover the biological, physical, biogeochemical and evolutionary processes that determine reef growth, function and resilience, ranging from the organism to whole reef tracts. Lectures will be complemented with field and laboratory exercises and students will gain experience in coral reef research methods and perform experiments on coral physiology.

Marine Invertebrate Zoology
This course serves studies the diversity and ecology of marine invertebrates, presenting animal diversity from a phylogenetic and ecological perspective. Course emphasis is on comparative diversity of animal forms, their adaptations to different ecosystems with a particular focus on tropical and sub-tropical taxa, and their responses to environmental changes and anthropogenic impacts. Lectures will be complemented with laboratory exercises and field trips to a diversity of easily accessible, tropical marine habitats.

Research Diving Methods
This course aims to familiarize students with the fundamentals of scientific diving. Research methods and practices are taught in class and then subsequently rehearsed on SCUBA during open-water sessions in the field. Underwater research techniques imparted include navigation, search and recovery procedures, underwater photography skills, systems of data acquisition whilst underwater, and more specific survey methods such as estimation of populations. By the end of the semester, students will be qualified Science Divers, as defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

Marine Biology & Oceanographic Research
This course is structured to provide a research internship experience as well as professional development in research provided through course lectures and workshops with topics including scientific research ethics, communication (oral, science writing, and public/media outreach), proposal writing, experimental design, data presentation and statistics, and careers in science. Students gain valuable experience in communicating science through submission of a research proposal, oral and poster presentations, as well as a final scientific paper.

Fall Semester Dates

The 2023 Fall Semester Program will begin on August 28 and end on December 8.

Fall Semester Details

SCUBA: The Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Coral Reef Ecology courses require boat work and the ability to work comfortably in the water with a mask and snorkel. Those who are SCUBA certified will be able to undertake fieldwork underwater and learn scientific diving skills. SCUBA certification (minimum of PADI Open Water Diver certification or equivalent) is required for the Research Diving Methods course.

University of Rhode Island (URI): Students should contact the URI Office of International Education for the March application deadline and for more information.

Roger Williams University (RWU): Students have an application deadline of March 1 and should contact Kevin Hayden (Director of RWU Study Abroad Programs: or Dr. Paul Webb (RWU Biology Department: for more information. Additional information can be found here.

Dalhousie University: Students should contact Prof. Leanne Stevens, Associate Dean Academic (Acting), Faculty of Science (

All Other Universities: Students must apply directly to BIOS by April 30. Enrollment is subject to availability of spaces. Students from other universities should ensure that they are eligible to receive academic credit from their own institutes for this program. Please contact for further information and application instructions.

The entrance requirements are:

  • A letter of recommendation from your home institution
  • Minimum 2.7 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Junior or senior standing
  • Working towards a Bachelor of Science in marine biology or related field
  • C+ or higher in prerequisite science courses in introductory ecology and marine biology
  • Successful interview with BIOS director of university programs and course instructors

Additional Information

  • All students planning to SCUBA must download the Student Diver Information Packet and complete all necessary forms and waivers prior to arrival in Bermuda. Please note that dive medical forms can take time to complete. For diving questions and further information contact the BIOS Dive Safety Officer, Kyla Smith
  • Please read about Fall Semester Fees
  • Foreign nationals traveling to Bermuda do not require an entry visa. However, proof of residency or a valid Multi Re-Entry Visa for the USA, UK, or Canada may be required for non-US/UK/Canadian citizens, depending upon your country of origin. Please review Immigration Information to check Bermuda Department of Immigration requirements
  • BIOS does not provide medical insurance. All students are required to purchase an overseas medical insurance policy and ensure they have adequate medical coverage

Some Advantages to a Fall Semester Study Abroad at BIOS:

  • Hands-on experiential learning with small class sizes and high instructor-student contact
  • You can snorkel and/or SCUBA dive and receive academic credit for it
  • You will spend 3 weeks focusing solely on research, which is excellent preparation for future research internships and/or graduate school
  • Students in past semesters have returned to BIOS on research internships to continue projects started during this program
  • You can interact with interns participating in the BIOS NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program. Workshops and seminars on the Marine Biology and Oceanographic Research course are collaborative with the REU interns and many projects overlap. Collaborating with the REU students offers valuable insights as they often have varied educational backgrounds and are beginning to think about applying to graduate school or other career paths
  • You may find future educational opportunities as a BIOS intern, or work experience as a Teaching Assistant for a BIOS course
  • Former Fall Semester students have gone on to publish their project results, in conjunction with BIOS faculty, in peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • You'll be spending 15 weeks in Bermuda studying a unique assemblage of marine environments that are easily accessible and ready for exploration


Program Contact

Dr. Andrew Peters
Director of Education for University Programs & Associate Scientist

Tel: 441-297-1880 x240


Related Items

Fall Semester Fees
Immigration Information
Student Diver Information Packet