Marine Biology Semester

Next Offering by CSUN faculty: See the Southern California Marine Institute website.

Marine Biology Semester Logo

This semester-long program provides an intensive undergraduate exposure to marine biology, and is designed for students with a serious commitment to environmental and marine science. The program is based at the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC), situated on Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles from Los Angeles, CA. This location provides access to beautiful, pristine marine habitats and breathtaking island views. WMSC is owned and operated by the University of Southern California (USC), and the program is being offered through the California State Universities, affiliated with the Ocean Studies Institute (OSI) and the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI).

Students will spend 15 weeks on Santa Catalina Island and will be based in the newly-renovated dormitory and laboratory facilities. Residency at this marine laboratory provides ready access to an invigorating educational environment that provides both state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and ready access to a diversity of marine habitats. Throughout the semester, students are introduced to a sequence of courses (Fall 2016: Marine Phycology, Marine Icthyology and Marine Ecological Processes) that prepare them to complete a directed research study in a topic of their choice. All courses provide a strong element of hands-on field experience, which provides the comprehensive training that can help in career choices and graduate decisions. A research diving certification course is planned for a period before the semester begins, at an additional cost for qualified students who wish to dive on SCUBA during the semester. However, only snorkeling skills are required for class participation. Please note: these courses will occupy daytime and in many cases, evening hours, including some weekends.

Students live on a private and undeveloped portion of Santa Catalina Island, approximately 40-50 minutes' walk from Two Harbors which provides access to the commercial ferry to Los Angeles. On-site accommodations are residential dormitory-style, and students receive three meals a day. The laboratory is a short walk from the dorms and includes teaching labs and a well-equipped lecture auditorium. Daily instruction consists of lectures, lab work, and field work in nearby marine habitats. SCUBA diving can be accommodated within the framework of the AAUS diving program.

 flyer. Immerse Yourself. "Deciding to do the Catalina Semester was the best decision of my college career! It immerses you into the marine biology world - and it gave me research and field experience that helped me both get and do my job. It was an all-round amazing experience!" Allysa Floyd, 2005.