Marine Semester

Fall 2018

The UNB Saint John Marine Semester is an intensive, 12-week immersion programme offered every two years in a marine setting.

It provides students with a "hands-on" study experience of diverse marine organisms, including mammals (whales and seals), algae, fish, and invertebrates.

The semester consists of five courses for a total of 19-20 credits. It is equivalent to a full-semester course load, and students are expected to take all five courses. Three courses run for 2-4 weeks each, and two run throughout the semester.

The semester involves lectures, research seminars, discussions, labs, field trips, and independent research projects. It is designed to promote critical thinking and expose students to innovate research in marine biology.

Where and when

The UNB Saint John Marine Fall Semester will run out of the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (HMSC) in picturesque St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Students will live in residence at HMSC throughout the duration of the semester.

The next Marine Semester will be held from Tuesday 04 September 2018 to Friday 23 November 2018


The marine semester is intended for motivated University students with the necessary course prerequisites (see below). Priority will be given to UNB Saint John students majoring in Marine Biology, and remaining seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Enrollment for the semester will be limited to 18-20 students.

Non-UNB students will have to apply and be accepted as a visiting student. Please see UNB Prospective Students.

How to register

You can register for the semester by emailing Dr. Heather Hunt, who is the Coordinator of the Marine semester.

In your email, please provide the following information: your name, your home/university, and confirmation that you meet the course prerequisite requirements.

You will be asked to provide a $400 deposit by February 1, 2018 (non-refundable after May 31, 2018); and a $1,000 deposit by July 15, 2018 (non-refundable). This deposit will go toward HMSC costs.


The cost of the 2018 Marine Semester will be determined in the fall 2017 (2016 cost was $4,543). This includes accommodations (room + food for 12 weeks), campus fees (to use Huntsman premises and labs), cost of all field trips (including 20 hours on the HMSC vessel), as well as all applicable taxes. It does not include UNB tuition fees.

Course prerequisites*

  • STAT 1793 Introduction to Probability and Statistics I (or equivalent)
    Concepts of population and sample, data collection, descriptive statistics and exploratory data analysis, frequency distributions, basic probability concepts, random variables, discrete and continuous probability models and their applications, central limit theorem and its applications and an introduction to statistical interference.
  • BIOL 2585 Introductory Ecology (or equivalent)
    Introduces concepts of ecology common to terrestrial, fresh water, and marine ecosystems. Provides a basis for further ecological or environmental studies. Introduces man's influence on ecosystems.
  • BIOL 2615 Introductory Zoology (or equivalent)
    Classification, functional morphology, development and evolution of the major animal groups.

*All three with a grade of "C" or better

Courses included

  • BIOL 3903 Diversity and Habitats of Marine Organisms (5 Credits)
  • BIOL 3913 Adaptations of Marine Organisms (5 Credits)
  • BIOL 3933 Directed Studies in Marine Sciences (5 Credits)
  • BIOL 3943 Current Topics in Marine Sciences (2 Credits)
  • BIOL 3953 Functional Ecology of Coastal Fishes (3 Credits)


Rebecca Hogan: "The UNBSJ marine semester is simply something I cannot easily describe. The experience is amazing and the hands-on education was highly effective in experiencing the real world of marine biology. We fished, ran projects, scaled tidepools, profiled the intertidal zone, and worked with the seals at the Huntsman. We grew together as a family, both the professors, students, and staff members. The UNBSJ marine semester is something all marine biology majors should experience. It is like no other. Highly recommended."

Tammy Sha Bo: "Doing the marine semester was the best decision I have ever made, and it was incredible!"

Margaret Helen Folkins: "I found that the marine semester was very informative and one of the most positive experiences of my undergraduate degree. For myself, I was nervous in doing this because in the past I had trouble keeping up with some of my courses and I knew the marine semester would be challenging. In the end I found this type of hands-on learning experience challenged me in all the right ways. The marine semester not only provided me with the opportunity to learn about the marine environment but also it made me improve my independent research skills, communication skills, presentation skills and I was able to make new friends and see some beautiful areas around the St. Andrews area."

More information

If you have any further questions about the marine semester, please contact Dr. Heather Hunt.