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  • Locations: San Salvador Island, Bahamas
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • Restrictions: UC applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 11/15/2018
Rolling Admission 05/06/2019 05/22/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type Detailed: UC Faculty-Led Program Program Type General: Faculty-Led
Level of Study: Graduate, Undergraduate Academic Theme: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Credit Offered: UC Credit Click here for a definition of this term Registration Term: Spring
Housing Options: Residence Hall Program Lead Faculty: Krista Smilek
Program Advisor: Matthew Paul
Program Description:

Program Overview

 The Ocean Margins field course involves a two-week excursion to San Salvador Island, Bahamas to study modern and ancient marine environments. Trips into the field on the island involve a lot of snorkeling where we observe and compare the marine communities present on the coral reef, in the seagrass beds, within the mangrove roots, in the intertidal zone, and on the sand flats. We conduct a transect from a sand flat to a seagrass bed to examine changes in mollusk communities from one substrate to the other. To investigate the carbonate and paleontological history of the island, we draft numerous stratigraphic sections at road cuts, in quarries, and along the shoreline and examine fossilized coral reefs. We conduct beach mapping and profiling to see how currents and storms create a dynamic shoreline. We also explore caves, tromp through inland saline lakes, snorkel in a blue hole, and jump off a cliff into the sea for a little added thrill! After being in the field all day, we gather in the classroom in the evening for a recap of the day's activities, lectures, projects, and for student presentations on a variety of topics from stromatolites to color variations in reef fish. It's an eventful (and sometimes exhausting!) two weeks, but we have a great time and students learn a lot about field techniques and past and present life in and around the ocean.

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San Salvador is home to many monuments, ruins and shipwrecks that directly reflect its rich history, including five memorials that commemorate Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1492. One of them, an underwater monument, is said to mark the spot where the Pinta dropped anchor. In addition to its profound past, the island showcases miles of secluded beaches, crystal-clear seas and sparkling inland lakes. Visitors looking to embark on an adventure full of history and culture will find that San Salvador Island is the perfect place to begin their journey. It’s no wonder that Columbus dubbed it “The New World.”

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Who Can Participate?

Geology majors or related science majors only.
  • Sophomores
  • Juniors
  • Seniors
  • Graduate Students

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Academic Program and Course Information

All students in this program are required to enroll in GEOL4023-001 or GEOL6023-001 for 3 credits for the spring semester.

Tuition and fees are assessed based on total enrolled hours for a term. This includes the hours associated with the study abroad class. Students who enroll for more than 18 hours for the term will be assessed additional per credit hour fees over and above the flat fees associated with being enrolled full-time (for most students full-time is 12-18 hours).
Co-op students selected to participate in this program are required to enroll in the course during the designated term, regardless of when the student may be on co-op.  If the course is during a term when the student is on co-op, tuition and fees will be charged per a student’s residency status and college, based on the part-time per credit hour rate.
A student can see his/her full and part time tuition rates and college fees here:

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Krista Smilek 
Director of Academic A&S Geology

After completing my Master's in the summer of 2009, I joined the Department of Geology here at the University of Cincinnati as the Academic Director.  In the department I perform various academically-related tasks and I serve as an advisor to prospective, new, and returning geology graduate and undergraduate students.  I also enjoy taking part in departmental field trips.  I run a field trip to the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador Island, Bahamas called Ocean Margins Field Trip (GEOL6023) where we study modern and ancient marine environments.  This course is offered every other year (2013, 2015, etc.).  In addition to the daily going-on in the department, I also enjoy visiting local schools to share the joys of geology and marine science to students of all ages.

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Living Arrangements

 Participants stay in dormitories at the local research center.  The Centre provides accommodations, laboratory space, and logistical support for both teachers and researchers interested in the diverse and unique tropical environments available on San Salvador.
 All meals are provided at Centre. 

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Getting There

Students will fly as a group from CIN to San Salvador and back, by way of Miami, included in the trip cost.

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Program Costs

2019 Program Cost: $2150

Included in Program Cost:
  • Accommodations (both in Miami and San Salvador)
  • International Airfare
  • CISI Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
  • Most Meals
  • In-country transportation for program-planned activities
  • Cultural excursions/entrance fees
  • International emergency and evacuation insurance
Not Included in Program Cost:
  • Personal Spending
  • Tuition – (at your standard tuition rate)
  • Passport application/renewal fees (~$165)
  • Recommended/required immunization/vaccination fees (~$)
  • Some meals (~$)
  • Personal spending/souvenirs (~$)
This program has been awarded an $400 UC International Scholarship (matriculated, UC degree-seeking students only). 

Note that both program charges and UC International scholarship will be posted separately on a student’s OneStop bill on the semester in which the course for the study abroad experience is given.  Program charges are posted shortly after students commit to the program through the online application process.  Scholarships are posted after all students 1) register for the course connected to the study abroad experience, and 2) complete all study abroad online paperwork.

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UC Financial Aid and Scholarships

For full details on using your financial aid to help pay for your study abroad experience, you should contact UC Financial Aid.

UC International awarded over $800,000 in student scholarships last year. Please refer to the UC International webpage for more information.

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Passports and Visas

A valid passport is essential to your international travel and study abroad. If you are planning to travel abroad, it's best to apply for a passport now as processing times may vary. Please see for more information.

In order to obtain country-specific visa instructions and resources, refer to your host country’s embassy web page. One way to access this information is via the US Department of State’s webpage at:

UC International is happy to guide UC faculty, staff and students to possible resources about visas for study abroad. Although, applying for the necessary visa for travel is the responsibility of the individual UC traveler. Entry requirements change frequently, and we advise you to pay close attention to consular updates. It is your responsibility to know and address the requirements for your host study abroad destination.

Applying for a visa can be a complicated process. Some UC travelers choose a third party to assist with this process, for example Travisa or A Briggs (mention UC for a possible discount).

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Health and Safety Abroad

UC International is committed to student and faculty safety while abroad. The following are a few resources for travel abroad.

UC faculty, students and staff are responsible for their own health and safety abroad. The US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and International SOS are excellent resources for country specific information.

UC partners with International SOS medical and security advice. UC code is 11BCAS000010

UC students, faculty and staff can utilize International SOS in the following ways:
  • Sign up to receive email alerts for medical and security information, customizable to various locations abroad
  • Read about travel health information with medical advice, food and water safety, and cultural tips
  • Explore travel security with personal safety tips and travel risk ratings for locations abroad

UC faculty, students and staff traveling abroad should register their travel abroad through the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of an emergency abroad.

All UC students participating in a University of Cincinnati sanctioned or funded international travel program are required to purchase and maintain insurance while abroad. UC International partners with CISI to provide insurance for UC students.

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Contacts for More Information

Krista Smilek
Academic Director
Department of Geology
500 Geology-Physics Building

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This program is currently not accepting applications.