Auburn University Marine Biology Program

Information for MARB students and students who wish to participate in the Marine Biology Offerings.

  The purpose of this page is to provide some basic information about the Auburn Marine Biology Undergraduate Major and associated programs. This page is a work in progress and is not complete and will continue to be adjusted and updated. Updates will bear the date of the adjustment.

This information is provided as a general guideline. Final answers and/or decisions reside with your advisor or the Program Coordinator as appropriate (not this page or another student). If you are without an advisor contact Dr. Tony Moss, the program coordinator, at

Also remember that the AU Marine Biology Club has a FaceBook page. Please feel free to ask and post answers there - but remember - your advisor, not other students have the latest and most accurate information.

To get this started and because of the time of year the first installment will deal with the 16 SUMMER HOURS that are part of the curriculum.

  Where do I take summer hours?
There are a variety of choices. Most AU students take courses at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), but a growing number attend Gulf Coast Research Laboratories (GCRL). Students can also elect to take independent study or research internships for credit - these must be approved by the Program Coordinator, Dr. Tony Moss.

Who has to approve the summer hours?
The Program Coordinator. You advisor can help but the Coordinator must ultimately sign off. You will need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tony Moss -

Do I have to take 8 hours each summer?
No, what matters is that the course work is field oriented (at the coast) and covers at least two field seasons (e.g., summers). Thus one can take, for example, 10 hours one season and 6 the next.

Where do I find information about which courses are offered at DISL or GCRL?
Browse to the following sites:

What is the timeline for taking these courses?
This answer depends on the course. You need to apply for each of the courses. Some courses are more competitive than others. For internships or research hours, see below.

For DISL: courses are announced middle December - Applications due middle of February
For GCRL: courses are announced middle November - Applications Early January thru May
For both, applications are accepted until classes are filled.

Timelines for other labs are different - you need to find out their calendar. Be proactive! And, stay in touch with the coordinator.

How do I apply and enroll for DISL and GCRL?
You should start by reading the application forms for where you are interested in going. In general, you apply to DISL or GCRL, at least for the first summer (many students go elsewhere for their second summer). The specific program will tell you into which classes you have been enrolled. At that point you will work with the AU Program Coordinator to enroll in the courses at AU!

Can I get "shut out" of a course?
Yes but this is the decision of DISL or GCRL. Once they enroll you in the course you will not "closed" out at Auburn.

Who do I pay?
You will pay AU for tuition because you are enrolled through AU. You will pay DISL or GCRL for lab fees, room and board. Thus you will end up paying both institutions.

Can I list alternate choices for DISL and GCRL?
Yes this is a good idea. The personnel at both labs work hard to get everyone his or her top choice(s).

Can I switch classes once the summer term has started?
Yes - but be aware that you are responsible for informing the AU Program Coordinator as soon as possible. You MUST follow up at the end of the season/summer to make sure everything is recorded properly. This situation is the biggest cause for grades being reported late or for causing incorrect billing.

Can I take courses elsewhere and Why are DISL and GCRL different?
Yes you can take courses elsewhere, but AU has a special arrangement with DISL and GCRL such that your credit hours and your GPA are transferred back to AU fairly easily. Courses taken elsewhere are usually treated as transfer credits. As a result, your grade in that course won't be figured into your GPA. Because of the close relationship students develop with their instructors in the small-class marine lab and lecture courses, most students learn very effectively, and so benefit from the transferred grades.

If you take courses elsewhere, you will need to do some digging: find out all the relevant details - the course name, type, the sort of work you'll be doing, who's doing the teaching (professor's name is very useful and his/her affiliation), and provide that information to the Program Coordinator, Dr. Moss. For a place to look for labs, see the National Association of Marine Lab's page ( where they list all the labs in the USA and a few elsewhere.

Can I get independent credit or research hours for summer credits?
Yes. You can obtain 1-4 credit hours per research endeavor. Please note most internships will take most of your summer and thus you should plan your hours between the two years.

If you want to take internship hours for you summer credit you need to do the following:

By email, send program information to the AU Marine Biology Program Coordinator (Tony Moss: Who is hosting it? What is the time commitment (hours per week for how many weeks?). What will you actually be doing? Who will be your direct, actual supervisor? How will a grade be assessed?

After this you will need to figure out how to fit the credit hours into your schedule.

Can I do international study abroad for the summer credits?
Yes. This could be a fabulous experience! In such cases, it is often best to go through the AU International Studies Office. You should contact them and the Marine Biology Program Coordinator about the course or experience you are interested in.

Please look back here for updates.