Study in Bermuda’s “Living Laboratory” This Summer


Summer courses at BIOS are a core part of the Institute’s annual educational offerings. While the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic remains uncertain, we are cautiously optimistic that courses this summer will proceed as planned. These courses are designed for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in advanced ocean science studies that combine lectures, laboratory exercises, and field excursions. In 2020, three courses are offered with staggered dates beginning June 29 and running through August 21. Financial aid is available.

For more than two decades, BIOS has hosted a variety of intensive and immersive summer courses for an international cohort of undergraduate and graduate students.

BIOS summer courses in marine science and oceanography provide students with the opportunity to expand their studies into subtropical environments, and investigate topics in ocean science which might not be offered within the curricula of their home institutions.

BIOS offers quick and easy access to a diverse array of marine and coastal habitats. This, combined with lectures, discussions, complementary fieldwork, and integrated laboratory exercises, provides an optimal environment for experiential learning.

Coral reef

One of the most popular courses is Coral Reef Ecology. This year’s course, taught by BIOS senior scientist Eric Hochberg and research fellow Yvonne Sawall, runs from August 3 through 21 and will explore the functional ecology of coral reefs. The intensive course is aimed at upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs. In addition to gaining a solid understanding of coral reef ecology and reef functional processes, students will have hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques for collecting and analyzing reef community and environmental data.

This summer’s course options, taught by BIOS faculty and visiting professors, are:

  • Modern Observational Oceanography (June 24 – July 14)
  • Marine Larval Ecology (June 29 – July 17) * New Course For 2020
  • Coral Reef Ecology (August 3 – 21)

Students of all nationalities are eligible to apply for scholarships. These are applicable for course fees, including tuition, accommodation, and meals (scholarships not awarded for travel expenses, visas, or medical/travel insurance). Students may obtain academic credit for these courses, subject to approval from their home institution.

Full summer course descriptions, scholarship information, and application forms can be found here.

The application deadline for all courses is April 30.


The Modern Observational Oceanography course, led by a team of BIOS scientists with backgrounds in physical, chemical, and biological oceanography, will run from June 24 through July 14. The 3-week course includes a combination of lectures, laboratory training and fieldwork and will introduce students to current research questions and the observational methods used to investigate them. Field activities include a 2-day trip aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer working with Oceanic Flux Program sediment trap data, piloting autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) deployed offshore of Bermuda in conjunction with zooplankton tows, and learning about ocean observations collected by the commercial container vessel Oleander.

Here is how participants of the 2019 program described their experiences:

“I hoped to gain experience in lab work, training in scientific research and a deeper scientific understanding on how coral reefs work. I definitely achieved this.” – Nepsis Garcia, Dominican Republic, student in the coral reef ecology course.

“I was impressed with the quality of the facilities and accommodations. I was also impressed with the variety of lab equipment available to the students. BIOS staff are extremely competent and organized, which made it easy to focus on learning.” – Amanda Godbold, Canada, student in the coral reef ecology course.

BIOS is closely monitoring the situation surrounding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to best protect its employees and visitors. Please note that applications for Summer Courses, Internships, REU and Fall Semester programs remain open but these activities may be cancelled at short notice. Please return to this page for updates. Details on the measures taken to manage COVID-19 in Bermuda can be found at