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Office of International Programs

United States: Duke Marine Lab

Rollins semester at Duke Marine Lab is a unique opportunity for students to be fully involved in research and seminars pertaining to environmental science. The mission of the program is education, research, and service to understand marine systems, including the human component, and to develop approaches for marine conservation and restoration.

Tagging a monk seal at Duke Marine Lab

Immerse yourself in marine biology!

Tagging a monk seal at Duke Marine Lab

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The Undergraduate Experience Video



Duke Marine Lab is a campus of Duke University and a unit within the Nicholas School of the Environment. The lab is located at Beaufort, North Carolina and operates year round to provide educational, training, and research opportunities to about 3,500 students annually, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled in the university's academic programs; visiting student groups who use the laboratory's facilities; and scientists who come from North America and abroad to conduct their own research.  Students on this program take a full load of courses on Marine Biology and Biology and engage in intensive ongoing fieldwork and research.

  • Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
  • Clean record with the Office of Community Standards and good academic and College standing
  • Professional application: materials are submitted on-time, are edited before submission, and are thorough and thoughtful.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Endorsement from Dr. Fiona Harper - typically this program is only open to Marine Biology majors and minors
  • Duke requires students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in the program.
  • This program has a required advising session (30 minutes) as part of the application process. Please visit our home page to schedule an advising appointment.

How to Apply

Fall 2022

  • Mid Aug: Required Arrival Date/Orientation
  • Aug 29: First day of classes
  • Oct 7 - 11: Fall break
  • Nov 22 - 27: Thanksgiving break
  • Dec 9: Classes end
  • Dec 14 - 16: Final Exam Period
  • Dec 17: End of Term - Students vacate dorms by 8:30 AM

Spring 2023

  • Jan 10: Undergraduate Arrival Date
  • Jan 11: Classes Begin
  • Mar 10 - 19: Spring break
  • May 5: Classes End
  • May 6: End of Term - Students vacate dorms by 8:30 am

Students participate in a one day orientation in which students learn about lab safety, campus policies and co-curricular opportunities. Also, students verify course schedule, buy books, go on a canoe orientation, and attend a library orientation and then some fun to wrap up the long day: volleyball! (content/activities subject to change) Students are responsible for booking their own flights.

Duke Marine Lab

Duke Marine Lab is located at Beaufort, it is the third oldest town in the state and is surrounded by fishing and agricultural communities. The area is well known for its historic and scenic attractions as well as being a seaside resort. The Beaufort-Morehead City area provides location for five other facilities that collectively are one of the higher concentrations of marine scientists in the nation. This concentration of marine scientists provides a critical mass for the pursuit of science and education a campus of Duke University and a unit within the Nicholas School of the Environment. The Duke Marine Lab offers undergraduate residential courses in fall and spring semesters. Courses are taught by world-renowned faculty from Duke University and other universities and research institutions. Small class sizes and an island setting facilitate rewarding student-faculty interactions.  In addition, a seminar/lecture series features many distinguished scientific speakers from across the nation and abroad.


  • Fall semester at the Duke Marine Lab highlights fundamental marine science courses that are ideal for natural science, environmental science, and pre-health students. Undergraduates may enroll in up to five and a half course credits during the fall semester. Students interested in taking more than five and a half course credits must get permission from their academic dean.  Travel courses involve additional costs.
  • Duke Marine Lab Fall Courses
  • Spring semester is geared towards the adventurous student who wants a true immersion experience. Students choose one class in each of the four blocks; course selections include the Signature Courses with extensive travel components to Costa Rica, Singapore, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Hawaii, as well as Beaufort-based courses with engaging local field trips.  Travel courses involve additional costs.
  • Duke Marine Lab Spring Courses

Transfer of credit

Students participating on this program will need to seek the appropriate departmental approval for all major/minor requirements and approval for General Education Requirements through Student Records. All courses on this program appear on the Rollins transcript as transfer credits and the grades are factored into the Rollins GPA. Students who successfully complete the Duke Marine Lab program through Rollins will receive an official transcript from Duke University.


Students live in dormitories on the Duke Marine Lab "campus".  The rooms are furnished and linens are available. All housing is dorm style with common bathrooms (separated by gender).


The Marine Lab Dining Hall serves three meals a day, seven days a week. Three meals per day are provided on the program.

The area's system of barrier islands, sounds, and estuaries is rich in flora and fauna, and diverse habitats, including rivers, creeks, mud flats, unspoiled sand beaches, dunes, marshes, peat bogs, cypress swamps, bird islands, and coastal forests, making the area an excellent haven for both nature lovers and those interested in the pursuit of marine science. The edge of the Gulf Stream oscillates between 30 and 40 miles offshore, with reefs on the wide continental shelf. Common animals include the blue crab, squid, shrimps, snails, clams, ctenophores, jellyfish, hydroids, sponges, polychaetes, sea urchins, starfish, brittle stars, sand dollars, skimmers, terns, gulls, herons, sea turtles, dolphins, and many species of fish. All provide ample opportunity for study and research and are readily accessible on foot, by car, or by boat. During fall semester students can travel to Panama or California over an extended Fall Break; during spring semester they can participate in courses with travel to Baja, Costa Rica, Singapore, Trinidad, and Panama. Space is limited. Duke Marine Lab staff works with students to ensure fair distribution of slots for undergraduates and graduates. Rollins students who participate in these excursions will be responsible for the associated costs.

Program Fee

Most Rollins financial aid and scholarships will apply to the semester.

  • Tuition: $29,150
  • Housing: $4,925
  • Meals/food: $3,170

Also Includes

Marine Lab activity fee, transcript fee, health fee, program administration, and emergency insurance.

Estimated Additional Costs

  • Transportation: Round-trip airfare from FL $350
  • Airport transfers: $50-$100
  • Books, course materials, supplies: $365
  • Personal expenses: $975
  • Federal student loan fees if applicable: $40
  • Professional licensure, certification or credentials costs: $0