Pre-requisites for admission to the Marine Semester

  • For marine science majors, prerequisites are:
    • EE 144 and BI 260
    • MA 213 or equivalent
    • BI 107/108 or equivalents
    • CH 101/102 or equivalents
  • For all other students, prerequisites are:
    • EE 144 OR BI 260
    • MA 213 or equivalent
    • BI 107/108 or equivalents (recommended)
    • CH 101/102 or equivalents (recommended)
  • Admission to the Marine Semester is not restricted to students from a particular undergraduate major or a particular graduate program.
  • Inquire with the BU Marine Program at if you are unsure if you have satisfied the requirements for admission.

To Apply 

  1. Review prerequisites to make sure you will meet them by the beginning of the Marine Semester.
  2. Complete the application. Applications for Fall 2023 are now closed. If you have any questions, please contact Julia Hammer Mendez at
  3. Complete all required medical forms:
    1. Program Waiver
    2. Medical Information– Appendix 3 only
    3. Medical Release
  4. Course selection will take place close to Spring 2023 registration.
  5. If you are not a BU student, email a copy of your academic transcript to  and arrange to have 1 letter of recommendation provided by a professor or academic advisor attesting that you are qualified to participate in the Marine Semester and explaining how it would contribute to your educational and/or career goals.

Applications for Fall 2023 available now! Click here to complete your application.

Admission and course registration

  • Applications are due by February 28.
  • Upon admission to the Marine Semester, you will be sent confirmation email.
  • Course selection will take place separately, and close to the Spring 2023 registration dates.
  • Admission to the Marine Semester is contingent upon completing all prerequisites. Your acceptance into the semester can be revoked if you do not pass all prerequisite courses.

General notes about the Marine Semester

  • By the end of the Marine Semester, you will earn 1 unit in each:
    • Scientific Inquiry II
    • Oral/Signed Communication
    • Creativity and Innovation
    • Teamwork
  • Boston University tuition covers most costs of the Marine Semester except for personal field gear (i.e. boots, rain coat, waders), required books, air travel to Belize and personal snorkel gear (wetsuit, fins, mask, booties).
  • The Marine Semester begins on the first day of the Fall Semester with a mandatory two-day orientation (September 5-6), and ends on the last day of the final exam period (December 20). You should plan to be in class every day that BU classes are in session.
  • Courses are offered in block format with one course being taken for about 4 weeks.
  • Expect to spend 8 hours per day or more on course-related work.
  • It is not possible to take any outside courses or serve as a teaching fellow in another course while enrolled in the Marine Semester. Inquire with the instructor of a particular course if you have other scheduling concerns. It is also recommended that you do not schedule any outside work, internships, or other regularly scheduled commitments during weekdays for the semester.
  • This is not an off-campus program, but some courses involve extensive local field work, and enrollment in one of the Belize courses will involve 12 days of travel to Calabash Caye Field Station on Turneffe Atoll and enrollment in Coastal Sedimentology includes a 3 night trip to Acadia.
  • You do not need to be SCUBA-certified or have previous snorkeling experience to participate in the Marine Semester. The only exception is the Scientific Diving course, which does require you to be SCUBA-certified. Please see the Scientific Diving course page for details.
  • For details on specific courses, please visit individual course pages.


Contact the Program Manager, Julia Hammer Mendez (; 617-358-4961)