Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Coastal Sciences Field Program

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More than 20 upper-level, undergraduate courses in coastal sciences (COA) are offered at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, mainly during the summer. The Division of Coastal Sciences offers specialized courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels focused on research in the areas of marine biology, oceanography, marine mammals, elasmobranch biology, remote sensing/GIS, coastal zones applications, aquaculture, coastal and marine fisheries, coastal geology, invertebrate zoology and biology, coastal ecology, parasitology, estuarine chemistry, toxicology, botany, applied molecular techniques, science education, and biodiversity and systematics. The Division of Coastal Sciences cooperates with the School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences, School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and the Center for Science and Mathematics Education to provide students with state-of-the-art research and educational opportunities.

Undergraduates interested in preparing for graduate study in coastal sciences should pursue a bachelor’s degree program in their department of choice, developing a strong background in biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics through calculus. Students interested in the marine biology degree in the biological sciences should review that section of this Bulletin.

GCRL Field Program

The Division of Coastal Sciences offers a selection of accelerated, field-oriented undergraduate and graduate courses at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) campus. For courses, see this Bulletin. Where appropriate, courses are also cross-listed by biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, geology, marine sciences and science education. Courses are available for undergraduate or graduate credit. Graduate students may also conduct thesis, dissertation and directed research at GCRL.

Admission to the GCRL Field Program

Due to space limitations for the field-oriented courses, students need to apply early and directly to the GCRL for admission to the accelerated courses. Contact the GCRL Summer Field Program (gcrlsfp@usm.edu OR 228.818.8852) for application materials. The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is affiliated with 60 colleges and universities whose students participate in the academic program. An application and information about the GCRL Summer Field Program is available on the Web at gcrl.usm.edu.

Course Loads

The GCRL Summer Field Program includes three summer sessions. Because courses are taught at an accelerated pace (i.e., an entire semester of lecture and laboratory is taught in three or five weeks), a student is allowed to enroll in only one course each session. Students are able to earn up to 16 credit hours during the summer. Classes meet each weekday with particular times scheduled for field trips, classroom instruction and laboratory work.

Room and Board

Room and board is available for students selecting on-campus housing, which includes internet access, laundry, facilities and three daily meals in the GCRL dining hall.



Undergraduate Application Fee (non USM students)



Graduate Application Fee (non USM students)



Undergraduate Tuition

current USM rate


Graduate Tuition

current USM rate

Lab Fee: $60 on select courses
Field fees: $200.00-$800.00 (depending on course)
Books, supplies, etc.: $75.00-$200.00 (approximate depending on course)

Students pay fees directly to The University of Southern Mississippi. Fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Application Deadline


Summer Field Program

April 19, 2019

A student may enroll in only one course each session. Students should not take classes at other campuses while taking field courses at GCRL. Please refer to the website (gcrl.usm.edu) for the current program calendar and course offerings.

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