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Program Description


SFS - TCI Dive 3
Photo courtesy of SFS

   Quick Facts

  • Participate in one or two summer sessions on the beautiful island of South Caicos
  • Attend lectures by Department of the Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) officials
  • Get involved with the community by engaging in long-term community projects, participating in festivals, and more
  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age; recommended - at least 1 college-level biology, ecology, or environmental studies/science course


SFS - TCI Island

Photo courtesy of SFS

Location Details

The Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), a British Overseas Territory, lie at the southeastern end of the Bahama Archipelago where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. The clear waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are considered among the world’s top 10 diving destinations, where vibrant coral reefs, a dramatic sea wall, and a deep ocean trench harbor a stunning diversity of sea life, from corals to whales. The charismatic fauna include more than 300 species of fish and the colorful and cryptic biota is easily spotted in the warm waters just steps from our field station. Nearby seagrass beds, mangroves, sandy shoals, and reefs lend a patchwork appearance to the miles of shallow blue waters that surround the Islands. But beneath the turquoise waters, a delicate ecosystem is under assault. With most local residents dependent upon marine resources for their livelihoods, and increasing resource demand by tourists, finding viable options for managing fisheries and conserving marine biodiversity is crucial. 

Visa Information

U.S. citizens may require a visa.* Limited information about the visa application process may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office and/or your host institution, but it is your sole responsibility to research, apply, and secure a visa. Failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas.  If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.

*At the time of writing. This information is subject to change without notice; students should independently confirm this requirement with the relevant consulate/embassy.


Academic Program & Courses

A relatively healthy ecosystem supports much of the community on South Caicos Island, with fisheries providing the primary source of livelihood. However, pollution and increased extraction of precious marine resources, coupled with large-scale, unsustainable tourism and industrial development, is very likely to inflict irreparable damage to this delicate ecosystem. Depletion of key resources would have a dramatic impact on employment and social structure on South Caicos Island. Developing sustainable fisheries is essential if this resource-dependent community is to survive. SFS is working with the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) and the National Park Service to develop management strategies to help conserve marine biodiversity and provide economic opportunities for island residents.

Snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the waters surrounding South Caicos, students learn field research and monitoring techniques to identify and assess the health of a wide range of marine organisms and habitats. Students learn to identify and observe the behavior of marine species, assess coastal and marine habitats, and quantify fisheries resources through hours of training, observation, and study in the water. In the community, students grapple with the challenges of assessing the rights and needs of local stakeholders and reconciling those with conservation goals.

SFS offers one 4 credit class during each summer session as follows:

  • Session I - Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring & Management
  • Session II - Marine Megafauna Ecology & Conservation
Course Levels, Credit & Grades
SFS programs follow U.S. grading and credit standards. Attendance requirements are strict and missed classes may impact grades. SFS programs are intensive and students should expect to have very limited free-time. Program activities are generally at least 6 days a week.
  SFS Study Center ASU
Course Levels SFS 3000 & 4000 level courses Upper division
Credit 3 credits* 3 credits*

*Courses offered may vary in credit amount. SFS classes will convert to ASU credit on a 1:1 basis.

PADI SCUBA Certification
Because scuba diving is a valuable skill for students who are interested in pursuing a career for future studies in field research of marine ecosystems, the Center offers PADI Open Water Diver certification to summer I participants. A PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course is offered to certified divers during session II. The course, taught by the Center’s Dive Safety Officer and assisted by PADI Divemasters, introduces students to diving and the environment where they will be learning and researching for the next several months.

Note: It is not necessary to use SCUBA to participate in the program; many students choose to snorkel only. Divers and snorkelers must bring their own SCUBA and snorkeling equipment, and the certification courses are offered at an additional cost. Weights and tanks are provided on-site at no cost. Please contact the SFS Admissions Office if you have any questions.

   SFS - TCI Classroom

SFS - TCI Dive 1

SFS - TCI Boat 2
Photos courtesy of SFS


SFS - TCI Center
Photo courtesy of SFS

Program Housing

The Center is a small converted hotel overlooking the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Spectacular sunsets, open-air facilities, warm sunshine, and a refreshing ocean breeze define this marine field station. A five-minute walk brings you to the small, historic town of Cockburn Harbour, where students and faculty frequently engage in community activities.  Students will live in 4-6 person bunkrooms in dorm style rooms.  3 meals a day are provided at the center by on-site cooking staff. Students also have access to volleyball, hammocks, and a saltwater pool overlooking the ocean.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

This program requires a great deal of physical activity. Students will be traversing beaches and snorkeling (or diving) on almost a daily basis. Students are expected to contribute to the day-to-day life at the field station, which may include washing dishes, cleaning gear, helping to load vehicles or boats, etc.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Turks and Caicos most public buildings are inaccessible and inconsistent inspection results in construction of new facilities that are not accessible. Public transportation for persons with disabilities is very limited.

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. 

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. 

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

Partnership program participants will NOT pay ASU tuition for the courses completed abroad. Instead, participants will pay a Program Fee as a condition of participation. Partnership program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the published Program Fee. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student.

Be sure to reference the Summer Cost Sheet for information on any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sightsee or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. Review the Considering Costs Table for a general overview and cost comparison of popular programs.
  2. Be sure to reference the Summer Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  3. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  4. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  5. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  6. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  7. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program



Dates & Deadlines
Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 03/01/2020
Rolling Admission 06/01/2020 08/05/2020
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.
There are two sessions offered:
Session 1: 6/1/20 - 7/1/20
Session 2: 7/6/20 - 8/5/20
Students may participate in either session or both sessions.
Summer 2021 03/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed