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2024 MAY TERM Program Courses; May 7 to June 5, 2024

On campus housing in the MSI dormitory in Port Aransas is available. Dorm includes a student lounge with table, seating area, refrigerators, microwaves, and hot plates. Room and board $400/mo. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served in the MSI Cafeteria Monday through Friday only. The cafeteria will be closed on weekends and holidays.  Dinner needs to be picked up by 5:00 pm. If you will be picking dinner up after 5:00 pm, contact security to let you into the cafeteria. If you have special dietary needs, please let This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know and they will try to accommodate you. However, please note, that we do not have a registered dietitian on campus so there are no guarantees. Each student is required to sign a rental agreement and pay a $400 deposit due along with the $400 rent by the first day of class (May 7, 2024). Check-in to dorms is at 4:00 p.m. on May 6, 2024. Check-out is at noon on June 5, 2024.

Topics in marine science: microplastics in coastal environments - MNS 353 (unique 52955)

This class will focus on microplastics in coastal environments through lectures and field work. We will cover basic knowledge of plastics, such as composition and production of plastic polymers and additives, as well as environmental processes that will affect the fates of plastics in waters, such as biodegradation and photooxidation. In addition to lectures, field work is a key component of this course, where students will participate in cruise sampling and microplastic analysis and identification in estuaries and bays near Port Aransas. The equivalent of three lecture hours a week for one semester; additional lecture and field/laboratory hours may be required. Prerequisite: The following with a grade of at least C- in each: Biology 311D or 315H, and Chemistry 302 or 302C. Taught in Port Aransas at the Marine Science Institute. All day classroom, laboratory and field components in Port Aransas, on the coast and at sea.

  • Taught by Dr. Zhanfei Liu

Estuarine Ecology - MNS 352C (UNIQUE 52940)

Explores general ecological principles of estuarine environments in Texas including physiography, hydrography, and plant and animal community structure and productivity. The equivalent of three lecture hours a week for one semester; additional lecture and field/lab hours may be required. Prerequisite: The following with a grade of at least C- in each: Biology 311D or 315H, and Chemistry 302 or 302C. Taught in Port Aransas at the Marine Science Institute. All day classroom, laboratory and field components in Port Aransas, on the coast and at sea.

  • Taught by Drs. Ken Dunton & Mark Lever

Undergraduate certificate programs encourage students to explore academic areas that support and extend their degree plans (see http://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/natural-sciences/minor-and-certificate-programs/). The Marine Science Certificate requires at least 19 semester hours of coursework, some of which may also be used to fulfill degree requirements. Undergraduates who complete the certificate requirements in conjunction with their degree requirements or within one year after earning the degree will receive a certificate and recognition on their University transcript. A maximum of nine hours in the certificate program may be taken after completion of the undergraduate degree. At least six hours of the required coursework in the certificate program must be completed in residence at the University. In special circumstances, students may petition the undergraduate advisor in regard to the residency requirements for the certificate.

The Marine Science transcript-recognized certificate enables students to explore the field of marine science. The certificate provides a foundation of basic competency in the fundamentals of marine science, along with specialized upper-division coursework in aquatic science. The knowledge of aquatic science that students gain through the certificate will help them to be competitive for employment for graduate study in this field. The certificate consists of a minimum of 19 hours with grades of at least C-. Most of the courses in the certificate contain prerequisites of one year of general biology and one year of general chemistry.

Marine and Freshwater Biology and Marine and Freshwater Science majors are not eligible to earn the certificate. Environmental Science majors may count no more than nine hours of degree requirements toward the Marine Science certificate.

  1. Three hours chosen from: Biology 311C, 311D, 315H, Chemistry 301, 301H, 302, 302H
  2. Marine Science 310, Fundamentals of Marine Science
  3. Marine Science 320, Marine Ecology
  4. Marine Science 120L, Marine Ecology Laboratory
  5. Choose nine hours from the following list, including at least six hours at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas:
    • Marine Science 440, Limnology and Oceanography
    • Marine Science 152L, 252L, Principles of Marine Science: Laboratory Studies
    • Marine Science 152S, 252S, Principles of Marine Science: Undergraduate Seminar
    • Marine Science 152T, 252T, Principles of Marine Science: Special Topics
    • Marine Science 348 (Topic 1: Research Training Cruise(s): Research in Biological Oceanography)
    • Marine Science 352, Principles of Marine Science
    • Marine Science 352C, Estuarine Ecology
    • Marine Science 352D, Marine Botany
    • Marine Science 352E, Marine Conservation Biology
    • Marine Science 353, Topics in Marine Science
    • Marine Science 354, Marine Invertebrates
    • Marine Science 354C, Biology of Fishes
    • Marine Science 354E, Aquatic Microbiology
    • Marine Science 354J, Marine Chemistry
    • Marine Science 354Q, Marine Environmental Science
    • Marine Science 354T, Biological Oceanography
    • Marine Science 354U, Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays
    • Marine Science 355C, Physiology of Fishes
    • Marine Science 356, Ecosystems Oceanography
    • Marine Science 357, Marine Phytoplankton Diversity
    • Marine Science 367K, Human Exploration and Exploitation of the Sea
    • Marine Science 170, 270, 370, Special Studies in Marine Science

Apply to the Marine Science Certificate.


Space is limited!

Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico

NSC 109: Study Abroad Seminar
Taught by UT faculty member Ken Dunton
Department of Marine Science at the UT Marine Science Institute


Detailed Syllabus Here

Akumal May 2011 086

Since 2005, our Marine Botany field course has focused on the ecology and vegetation of Caribbean ecosystems on the Yucatan Peninsula (Quintana Roo), including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove communities. Our studies include how anthropogenic impacts from increased tourism have affected coastal watersheds and the functioning of these unique ecosystems. Lead instructor Dr. Ken Dunton (UTMSI) has assembled an exceptional team of guest instructors that include marine botanists Dr. Stein Fredriksen (University of Oslo) and tropical reef fish ecologist Dr. Luiz Rocha (California Academy of Sciences), marine ecologist Dr. Wes Tunnell (Texas A&M University Corpus Christi), coral reef ecologist, Michael Gil (University of Florida), benthic invertebrate biologist Susan Schonberg (UTMSI), along with graduate students and post doctoral research associates. Topics will be covered from an interdisciplinary perspective; our measurements of water quality, plant community structure, species composition, and sediment parameters will be used by local NGOs to develop management and conservation policies for these unique systems. The Riviera Maya is under immense pressure from tourism and our studies have provided invaluable data on the effects of nutrient inputs from groundwater pollution that originates from wastewater seepage into the porous limestone that underlies the Riviera Maya.

Students are expected to develop and conduct their own independent research in three-member teams under the guidance of an instructor based on proposals developed in NSC 109. Note that this course fulfills part of the Basic Education Requirement in writing based on field and laboratory data collected for detailed journal entries and the final research paper.

The DestinationAkumal May 2011 031

Akumal, Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula) — Known as the “place of the turtles” to the Maya, Akumal is still home to many sea turtles and is an ideal base for studying one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems.

South of Cancun, Akumal is next to one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. The crystal-clear Caribbean sea invites exploration of the wondrous world under the sea, while the near-by Mayan ruins at Tulum offer a glimpse into Mexico’s pre-Columbian past.

Because tourism in the region has placed a strain on the environment, there are non-profit NGOs in the region that are successfully preserving the ecosystems, while also advocating for responsible development. The Centro Ecologico Akumal (CEA), where participants stay, is one of the major NGOs in Akumal and a community leader in environmental protection through education.

Field Experience: May 17 – June 4, 2017 Akumal, Mexico

June 9, final class meeting time (video linked), Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, Texas
Semester dates subject to change.
NSC 109 Study Abroad Seminar
MNS 352D Marine Botany

Estimated Costs

Estimated Program Fee:     $2,275

Actual cost TBD. Please check our website for the most up-to-date information. The program fee includes the $300 non-refundable deposit, housing, local transportation, meals, on-site orientation and student services, snorkel gear rental, and program activities in Akumal. It also includes transportation to/from Port Aransas, housing, and meals for required NSC 109 class meeting in February.

Spring Tuition and Fees: Students register for NSC 109 and MNS 352D as part of their normal spring semester registration. Flat rate tuition applies.

Estimated Roundtrip Airfare:     $450–$600
Students purchase roundtrip airfare for Austin to Cozumel, Mexico.

Estimated Additional Expenses:

Application Fee   $50
Books and Materials   $50
Food   $60
Local Transportation   $50
Personal Items   $200
Medical Insurance   $95
Passport   $135
Visa (no Visa required if you are a U.S. Citizen)   $0
Personal Emergency Funds   $500

Akumal Mexico 23 May 2005 126


Financial Aid: All federal, state, and UT institutional aid can be used for Maymester Study Abroad Programs. Spring financial aid packages can be recalculated based on the additional costs of the program. See http://world.utexas.edu/abroad/funding/loans

Scholarships: Various scholarships are specifically designated for international study. In fact, a former participant of the Akumal Maymester created a scholarship specifically for students in this program—the Beal/Gurevitz Marine Botany Study Abroad in Akumal Scholarship. To learn more about eligibility for the Beal/Gurevitz scholarship,  contact Ken Dunton. To research and apply for other funding opportunities, visit http://utdirect.utexas.edu/student/abroad/globalassist.WBX

Marine Science Maymester Study Abroad Course


May 18 – June 15, 2011
Location: Akumal, Mexico (May 18-June 5)
Upper Division Undergraduates – 3 credits
Register in Spring 2010 for MNS 352D and UGS 119 (Scientific Research and Inquiry). UGS 119 meets at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas the weekend of February 26th-27th, 2011. Field work includes a 19-day field trip to Akumal, Mexico (May 18-June 5). Approximate course fee: $2,000 plus airfare to Cozumel.
Maymester Abroad programs are four and a half week study abroad programs, taught by UT faculty members, that take place immediately following the spring semester at an international course location. The students are introduced to research methods in various scientific fields while gaining academic credit during thier time abroad.

Maymester courses are open to all students, and since they take place after the school year is over, they don't interfere with any other classes you might take.  

Akumal, Mexico 


Taught by Dr. Ken Dunton (UT Marine Science Institute) and Dr. Stein Fredriksen (Norway)

This course is entirely focused on the ecology of Caribbean coral reef and seagrass communities of the Yuctan Peninsula with special emphasis on the marine vegetation. Our research and learning goal is to understand the effect of anthropogenic inputs of inorganic-nitrogen on tropical seagrasses, algal turfs, and the overall coral reef/coastal ecosystem.

See pdfHERE for a detailed syllabus

Prerequisites: Upper division standing; Biology 311D; and one of the following courses: Biology 322, 324, 328, Marine Science 320, 352C; and three additional semester hours of coursework in biology.
Final class meeting by 15 June 2011.

Please visit the Study Abroad Office website for a detailed list of all the Maymesters offered by the University as well as additional deadline, scholarship and application information.

The application deadline for all Maymester programs is November 1.