Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad in Marine Biology (Minor)

Picture yourself in Turks & Caicos learning about the economic, societal, and ecological stability of South Caicos and its island community. Participate in a course focusing on turtle ecology in Ghana. Learn about the biodiversity and biogeography of the Galapagos Islands and experience what inspired Darwin's theory of evolution by taking a course offered by faculty members in the Department of Biology Teaching and Learning.

With most of our world covered by oceans, it is critically important to understand the biology of marine organisms and ecosystems. Students who complete marine biology requirements abroad will gain knowledge and skills that will enrich their lives and provide a base for subsequent study in marine sciences.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the College of Biological Sciences before beginning your study abroad research.

How will the study abroad program fulfill my requirements?

The best time for you to study abroad will depend on your major as well as when the Core Marine Biology courses are offered on campus. Plan to meet with your academic, major, and minor advisers when deciding what program and time of the year would work best for you. Also, consider completing Marine Biology elective courses abroad.

See this list of Marine Biology study abroad courses offered through the College of Biological Sciences or the College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences.

Below are examples of Marine Biology elective courses offered abroad. Approval of elective courses will be at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Sehoya Cotner, [email protected]

  • BIOL 4596—Coral Reef Ecology (Dive Trip) (2.0 cr)
  • CFAN 3502—Bahamas—Tropical Marine Biology and Shark Ecology (2.0 cr)

Liberal Education 

Many students fulfill liberal education requirements through study abroad. Advance planning can help you identify which requirements you can fulfill on your study abroad program and which you should fulfill on campus. Consult the Learning Abroad Center's U Credit Abroad Search to find courses that have been approved for UofM liberal education requirements.

Engage in Field Work, Directed Research, or Internships 

Study Abroad opportunities are not limited to formal instruction. Consider taking advantage of the unique research, internship, and fieldwork opportunities available in different regions of the world. Consult with your CBS adviser about how to gain credit for these experiences.

College of Biological Sciences Study Abroad Scholarship

The purpose of the CBS Study Abroad Scholarship is to promote more CBS students a) going abroad and b) studying science while they are abroad. Preference is given to students who are participating in a program that is at least a semester in length and to students who are taking at least one science course while abroad. However, all CBS students participating in a study abroad experience are highly encouraged to apply. Awards are up to $2500. For information regarding deadlines, essay questions, and application instructions visit the Learning Abroad Center's Online Scholarship Portal


Africa and the Middle East

South Africa

University of Cape Town (available through IES South Africa)

  • Areas of study available at this university include: anatomy, physiology, immunology, genetics, neuroscience, pathology, physiotherapy, biology, chemistry and others
  • This program is a university study program, which allows you to directly enroll in a foreign university and take classes with host country students. Instruction is in English by African faculty
  • No language prerequisite


See this list of Marine Biology study abroad courses offered through the College of Biological Sciences or the College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences.


IES Galápagos Islands

  • Spend time in both Quito and San Cristóbal in the Galapagos — one of the world’s most beautiful and biologically diverse island locations.
  • Gain hands-on experience studying topics such as Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Marine Ecology, and Sociology.
  • Courses are offered in modules, allowing students to focus on one course at a time. Students often spend the morning collecting samples and the afternoon analyzing the data as part of the course they take.
  • All courses are taught in English, except for a 1-credit required Spanish language course. Semester terms available.


School for Field Studies Panama—Tropical Island Biodiversity and Conservation Studies

  • The central theme of the program is “islands as a delicate system,” with emphasis on the resources of Panama’s coastal and marine environments.
  • Students will explore several key interfaces: human and natural systems, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and conservation and development.
  • An SFS summer session option will be available in Costa Rica and Panama to give students a two-country comparative perspective on how tourism and development affect tropical ecosystems and human communities.

Turks and Caicos

School for Field Studies—Turks & Caicos—Environmental Field Studies programs

  • The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers semester and summer programs that focus on critical environmental issues through a combination of coursework, field study, and a directed research project
  • The Turks and Caicos Islands focus on marine resource studies
  • All programs are taught in English

Asia and Oceania


James Cook University (available through IFSA Australia)

  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Highly regarded for excellence in marine science and biology
  • The university's location in tropical northern Queensland offers proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, and the outback
  • Courses feature fieldwork and internships
  • There may be prerequisites for specific courses

University Study in Australia: University of Sydney

  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Houses a Marine Sciences department offering classes in coastal management, coral reef science, and Australian marine life sciences
  • Internships and Marine Research projects available

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Marine Biology course titles include: Principles of Marine Science, Dynamics of Marine Systems, and The Oceans Around Us
  • There may be prerequisites for specific courses

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Faculty conducting research everywhere from Fiji to Antarctica.
  • There may be prerequisites for specific courses

Victoria University of Wellington (available through IFSA Australia)

  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Wide variety of marine biology courses available
  • There may be prerequisites for specific courses

Additional Options to Consider

LAC Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over winter break or May session.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic, Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

LAC Freshman Seminars

  • Combine on-campus instruction during the spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break, on a 3 credits, 1xxx level Seminar.
  • Freshman Seminars Abroad are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad, an opportunity to explore an exciting location and topic, and likely fulfill a liberal education requirement.

Additional LAC Seminars

  • Check out additional LAC Instructor-led Seminars that might run over winter break, spring break, May, and summer sessions. They vary in length, dates, and content so students can find one that best fits their academic and professional goals.

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester-long program.