Undergraduate Programs

students on beach at night

Every year, 600-700 university students participate in academic programs at UGAMI. These students come from colleges and universities all over the U.S. and from many countries around the globe.  It is hard to overstate the impact of a visit to UGAMI for students. Come see us if you get the chance!

Visiting Sapelo Island with the Honors Science course was by far my favorite memory from my freshman year… The trip to Sapelo brought everything we studied in the classroom to life.

I will have the memories from Sapelo for the rest of my life. I learned so much and met so many amazing people. My main suggestion for the course would be to have more time on Sapelo.

2019 Residential Courses

Marine Biology Spring Semester

The Marine Biology Spring Semester offers immersive, field-based learning experiences in marine biology at the University of Georgia Marine Institute (UGAMI) on Sapelo Island.  The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students, from any college or university, pursuing degrees in biology, ecology, fisheries biology, wildlife biology, environmental science, earth & oceanographic sciences or other related fields.  Students take up to 17 credit hours of formal coursework in marine biology and ecology, and have an opportunity to conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.

Detailed program information and Application

Maymester: Geography of the Georgia Coast Domestic Field Study program

UGA’s Geography of the Georgia Coast Maymester offers engaging, service learning experiences about the politics of land, resources and conservation at the University of Georgia Marine Institute (UGAMI) on Sapelo Island.  The program is open to undergraduate students, from any college or university and fulfills UGA’s Experiential Learning (EL) requirement.

This field program provides students the opportunity to explore the diverse development pressures the Georgia coast is facing and the conservation strategies being used by residents on Sapelo Island.  The program’s service-learning, experiential approach emphasizes community-based learning in partnership with island residents and stakeholders.

Introductory sessions will be held at UGA in Athens May 15, 16, 17. The program will then move to Sapelo Island for two weeks between May 19 and June 2.  The program consists of 6 credit hours, including:

  • GEOG 2610: Geography of Georgia
  • GEOG 4810: Conservation Ecology and Resource Management

Contact: Professor Nik Heynen

For more information and to apply, go here.

UGA Coastal Summer Semester (Summer Short Session I)

The Coastal Summer Semester is an immersive learning experience in marine ecology for undergraduate students from any college or university.  The program will take place June 3 – 28, 2019 at the University of Georgia Marine Institute (UGAMI), on Sapelo Island.  Students and faculty live on-site at the Marine Institute.  UGAMI is a world-renowned center for marine ecological research attracting a vibrant community of scientists and students from around the globe. The program consists of two 4-credit courses: MARS 4500 – Field Study in Oceanography and Marine Methods and Independent Research (either MARS 4510 or BIOL 4960). Students will be introduced to the marine organisms and ecosystems of the Georgia Coast, and will be trained in the field and laboratory methods used to investigate them. With this information, students will carry out a research project of their own design, under the mentorship of faculty.

Contact: Dr. Damon Gannon, dgannon@uga.edu

For more information and to apply, go here.

Field Trips

UGAMI is a destination for University of Georgia courses, as well as other University System of Georgia institutions, and beyond. Field trips are generally arranged over a weekend, although some classes visit for longer periods of time.

College or university-level instructors who are interested in arranging a class field trip to UGAMI should fill out a UGAMI education request form or contact the Program Coordinator, Gracie Townsend.

Classes that have visited UGAMI:

University of Georgia

Course IDCourse Name
ANTH 2120HIntroduction to Anthropology
ECOL 3300Field course in Ecological Problem Solving
FISH 4650Georgia Fishes Field Class
GEOL 2010Life, Ecology and Environments of the Past
IFPHonors Interdisciplinary Field Program includes a visit to UGAMI
MARS 1010LIntroduction to the Marine Environment
MARS 3450Marine Biology
WILD 3580Vertebrate Natural History

Other universities

NameCourse IDCourse Name
Armstrong State University (GA)BIOL 4970Barrier Island Ecology
Ball State University (IN)BIOL 420/520Coastal Ecology
Brown University (RI) BIO 144Marine Ecology
GA College & State University (GA)GEOL 4951Hydrogeology
Georgia Gwinnett College (GA)BIOL 3150 Temperate Biology
Georgia Perimeter College (GA)BIOL 2108Principles of Biology II
Middle Georgia State College (GA)BIOL 3360Plant Biology
Middle Georgia State College (GA)BIOL 3450General Microbiology
Middle Georgia State College (GA)BIOL 3666Entomology
Oglethorpe University (GA) BIO 380Conservation Biology
University of North Georgia (GA)BIOL 4461Marine Field Study
South Georgia State College (GA)BIOL 2107Principles of Biology I
South Georgia State College (GA)BIOL 3545Vertebrate Zoology
South Georgia State College (GA)SCIE 1111Environmental Science
Valdosta State University (GA)BIOL 3250 Ecology and Evolution
Valdosta State University (GA)BIOL 3650Plant Systematics
Valdosta State University (GA)BIOL 4020Coastal Biodiversity
Valdosta State University (GA)ISCI 3103Natural History of Georgia

Academic Programs

UGAMI does not grant degrees. However, several academic programs at University of Georgia partner with UGAMI for part of their programming.


The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER project runs a summer internship program, with opportunities at UGAMI.