Skip to main content

Marine Science

Application now available for Summer 2024!

Application for Fall 2024 and Winter 2025 available now!

A limited number of spots are available in each course in order to maintain a low student-instructor ratio. Please apply as soon as possible to receive consideration for a spot in your desired program(s). For inquiries, please email UCSD Pre-College Programs (precollege@ucsd.edu) and nyen@ucsd.edu.

The following programs are designed to empower high school students to share learning, network with peers, and become environmental advocates. The goal of this program is to develop problem solving, organization, creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills that will support future career goals and aspirations.

Tier 1 courses offer students a foundation in ocean sciences, specifically marine biology and related disciplines. Students will explore the diversity of life and how biological, chemical and physical processes drive ecosystem dynamics in a marine environment. Each course is designed to target relevant, contemporary environmental issues while providing a pathway for students to participate in our Tier 2, research workshops. Tier 1 courses are also designed for students who are simply interested in learning more about the marine environment and associated marine science career pathways.

Tier 1 Courses are currently offered online and in-person. These 4 or 8 week courses are designed to acclimate students to a university summer and quarter systems, respectively. Each week, students will have 2 asynchronous, interactive and gamified lessons. Synchronous sessions are designed for student collaboration and discussion, guest speaker interactions, and guided virtual lab experiences. These courses are aimed to foster next generation critical thinkers, communicators, creators and stewards of the ocean environment.

Tier 2 courses offer students a multidisciplinary practical research experience in collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography graduate students and other active marine science researchers in various industries. Students will partner with researchers and can participate in, design and run their own projects on California Coastal Ecology, Coral Reef Ecology and Restoration, Animal Physiology, Thermodynamics, Metabolics, and Fisheries Science to name a few. Field-based excursions to intertidal zones, salt marshes, and other marine ecosystems in San Diego are an integral part of this program; however, some projects are also adapted with an at-home lab component for non-local students.

Tier 3 courses offer students that have participated in one or more Tier 2 courses the opportunity to practice critical literacy skills specifically needed in scientific writing and publish studies in our Marine Science Research Scholars Journal. The purpose of Tier 2 and 3 workshops is to participate in scientific studies that generate data needed to advocate for the environment and the communities that rely on a healthy system.


Tier 1 Courses

Introduction to Marine Science (Fall 2024 - Online)

Introduction to Marine Science (Click here to apply!)

Dates:  September 24, 2024 - November 14, 2024 (8 weeks) 

Tuition: $2000 

Grade Level: 9-12th grade 

Instructor: Nicole Yen 

Schedule:  

  • Synchronous – Tuesday, Thursday (4-5:20 PM PST) 
  • Asynchronous - 2 lessons / week (2-3 hours/week of additional work) 
     

The Introduction to Marine Science course offers a deep dive into the vast and complex world of our oceans. It provides students with an immersive experience into the dynamic processes that govern the marine environment, from the microscopic plankton that form the base of the food web to the majestic blue whales that traverse the ocean basins. Students will explore the intricate chemical cycles that sustain life in the oceans, the physical forces that shape marine habitats, and the diverse biological communities that inhabit them.  

The course covers a wide range of topics, including:  

Chemical Oceanography: Examining the chemical properties of seawater, biogeochemical cycles, and the role of the oceans in global chemical processes. 
Physical Oceanography: Studying ocean currents, waves, tides, and the physical structure of the oceanic environment.  
Biological Oceanography: Investigating the diversity of marine life, their ecosystems, and the biological processes that sustain them. 
Marine Ecology: Investigating the relationships between marine organisms and their environments, including food webs, symbiotic relationships, and ecosystem dynamics. 
Human Impact: Assessing the effects of human activities on marine ecosystems, including pollution, overfishing, and climate change.  

 

Students will also have opportunities to engage with current research and learn about the latest technological advancements in marine science. It prepares students for diverse careers in marine research, policy development, environmental stewardship, and other related fields. By exploring the intricate web of life and the physical dynamics that shape the marine environment, students will learn to appreciate the ocean’s significance to global ecosystems and humanity’s role in safeguarding its future. This course is designed to inspire a new generation of marine scientists, equipped with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the understanding and preservation of our oceanic world. 

 

This course is available for 4 pre-college units and can act as a prerequisite for any Tier 2 courses offered.  

 

Topics Include 

  • Fundamentals of Oceanography 
  • Introduction to Organismal Biology 
  • Marine Ecosystem Diversity and Services 
  • Marine Conservation and Marine Science Careers  

Seafood Sustainability: Practices and Perspectives (Fall 2024 - Online)

Seafood Sustainability: Practices and Perspectives *Formally Seafood Fraud Detectives (Click here to apply!)

Dates: (4 weeks) September 24, 2024 – October 17, 2024 

Tuition: $1500 

Instructor: Nicole Yen 

Advisors: Sarah Mesnick, Mar Mancha-Cisneros 

Grade Level: 9-12th grade 

Schedule:  

  • Synchronous 
  • Session: Tuesday and Thursdays (5:30-6:30 PM PST) 
  • Asynchronous – 1-2 hours of additional work/ week 

 

This course offers a comprehensive exploration of sustainable practices in the seafood industry. Students will delve into the environmental and socio-economic impacts of seafood production and consumption, learning about the challenges and opportunities in aquaculture management and wild fisheries, which are crucial sources of food and livelihood for many communities. The curriculum covers:  

 

Environmental Impacts: Understanding how fisheries affect marine ecosystems and the innovative management practices that promote sustainability.  
Wild Fisheries: Exploring the dynamics of natural bodies of water and free-ranging fish populations, their commercial value, and the reliance on the carrying capacity of local ecosystems. 
Aquaculture Food Chain: Examining the growth of seafood demand, its production processes, and the consequences of unsustainable practices.  
Sustainable Solutions: Evaluating the benefits and limitations of various aquaculture species on health and the environment and exploring solutions to improve management. 
Consumer Awareness: Identifying ‘sustainable’ seafood products and applying knowledge to address the sustainability challenges of consuming living marine resources.  

This course is for individuals aiming to become informed consumers, aspiring marine biology students, and students seeking expertise in environmental and fishing policy. This course will also feature guest lectures from esteemed experts, including professionals from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and leading figures in seafood sustainability and management. This course is available for 2 pre-college units. 

 
Topics Include 

  • Marine Fish Systematics & Ecology 
  • Fisheries and Management 
  • Seafood Traceability 
  • Sustainable seafood practices and consumer choices  

 

After this course it is highly recommended to participate in: 

  1. Tier 2, Advanced Seafood Fraud Detectives (Hybrid) where students will examine seafood mislabeling and traceability in San Diego using molecular tools (Offered WINTER 2025) 
  2. Tier 2, Advanced Sustainable Seafood Science (Online) where students will explore seafood sustainability and traceability in their own communities (Offered WINTER 2025) 

Tier 2 Courses

Advanced Marine Biodiversity: Life on the Edge (Summer 2024 - Residential)

Advanced Marine Biodiversity: Life on the Edge (Application Open for Waitlist Only - Click here to apply)

Course Dates: July 8 - July 26, 2024
Check-In Date:
July 7, 2024 - Students must check-in on July 7th.
Check-Out Date: July 27, 2024 - Students must check-out by 2pm. 
Course Delivery: Residential
Course Tuition:
$4,100
Residential Fee: $1,850
Grade Level:
9th - 12th grade 
Schedule: 

Monday - Friday
9:00am - 11:30am (Class/Lecture/Lab)
11:30am - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 4:00pm (Class/Lecture/Lab)

The rocky intertidal is one of the most accessible marine coastal environments teeming with an incredibly diverse living community. Because of this unique quality it has immense commercial, recreational, and educational value to communities worldwide. However, this quality also makes these habitats highly susceptible to changing ocean conditions such as sea-level rise, invasive species, and pollution.

Thermal imaging cameras record infrared radiation (IR) and convert it to a visible image. The primary source of IR is heat or thermal radiation - the warmer something is, the more infrared radiation it emits. Infrared thermography (IRT) is being increasingly utilized by ecologists and physiologists to observe and investigate small-scale thermal variability and thermal stress on the distribution and abundance of marine species.

Monitoring intertidal ecosystems becomes increasingly important as we continue to see global climate changes. In this Tier 2 course, students will be part of ongoing research in partnership with the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument. Students will explore how heat transfers between organisms and their environment using a FLIR thermal camera. We will relate our data to organismal anatomy, physiology, thermoregulation, species adaptability, ecology, and/or climate change.

Archived project SU23: https://researchscholars.ucsd.edu/project-archives/index.html#2023-Summer-Session 

Archived project SU22: https://www.researchscholarsmarinescience.com/pre-college

Prerequisites

Option 1: Take our Tier 1 Heat Spies: Using Infrared Cameras in Marine Ecology 

Option 2: Have taken an advanced biology, environmental science, or marine science course prior to the start of our program.

*This course is strictly a residential program and is open to both domestic and international students. Students will not be able to check-in and out during the duration of the program. Students will be housed with Academic Connections students. More information will be available once we get closer to the program dates. 

 

The Molecular Basis for Bioluminescence and the Environment (Summer 2024 - Residential)

The Molecular Basis for Bioluminescence and the Environment (Application Open for Waitlist Only -Click here to apply)

Course Dates: July 8 - July 26, 2024
Check-In Date:
July 7, 2024 - Students must check-in on July 7th.
Check-Out Date: July 27, 2024 - Students must check-out by 2pm. 
Course Delivery: Residential
Course Tuition:
$4,100
Residential Fee: $1,850
Grade Level:
9th - 12th grade 
Schedule: 

Monday - Friday
9:00am - 11:30am (Class/Lecture/Lab)
11:30am - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 4:00pm (Class/Lecture/Lab)

As climate change and pollution drive changes to the chemical properties of the ocean, the activity of enzymes responsible for the functioning of countless cellular processes are being affected. In this brand new research experience, students will generate their own research question to investigate the impact of environmental changes on bioluminescence. To accomplish this we will focus specifically on the chemical and molecular mechanisms that govern bioluminescence. We will be isolating the genes associated with bioluminescence from Aliivibrio fischeri and transforming them into a model organism, Escherichia coli, to specifically study the enzyme luciferase and the supporting genes needed to express a functional enzyme.  Students will then generate their own hypothesis on how changes to the environments where host organisms of A. fischeri live could change the catalytic ability of luciferin. Some host organisms that students can explore include the Hawaiian bobtail squid, pinecone fish, and opossum shrimp that all have light organs that are colonized by A. fischeri.


Prerequisites 

Option 1: Take our Tier 1 Molecular Biology of Marine Life

Option 2: Have taken an advanced biology, environmental science, or marine science course prior to the start of our program.

 

*This course is strictly a residential program and is open to both domestic and international students. Students will not be able to check-in and out during the duration of the program. Students will be housed with Academic Connections students. More information will be available once we get closer to the program dates. 

 

Advanced Seafood Fraud Detectives (Winter 2025 - Hybrid)

Advanced Seafood Fraud Detectives (Click here to apply!)

Dates: February 4 – March 29, 2025

Tuition: $3000

Grade Level: 9-12th grade 

Instructors: Nicole Yen 

Advisors: Hayley Nuetzel, Zack Gold, Sarah Mesnick, Mar Mancha-Cisneros 

Synchronous Schedule: 8 weeks 

  • Virtual Meetings (2 weeks)  
  • Session: Tuesdays; Thursdays (4:00-5:00 PM PST) 
  • Hybrid Meetings (6 weeks)  
  • In Person Sessions: Saturdays (9AM-12PM PST) 

Asynchronous Schedule: 2-3 hours/week of additional work 

 

From lobster rolls and New England clam chowder to beer-battered fish tacos, seafood dishes are beloved worldwide. Yet, the seafood industry faces challenges with fraudulent practices, including widespread mislabeling. This issue persists across both domestic and international markets, proving to be a complex problem to address. In Southern California, DNA barcoding studies have uncovered high mislabeling rates in species like halibut, red snapper, yellowfin tuna, and yellowtail. Mislabeling may partly stem from the vast amounts of seafood imported into the U.S., prompting the FDA to continuously update industry guidelines. This course involves students in an ongoing effort to monitor seafood fraud in San Diego, imparting essential skills in molecular biology. By the end of the course, students will create a research poster that will be shared on Research Scholars, Marine Science Website and potentially at Birch Aquarium during an informal poster session. Moreover, the course will offer unique opportunities to engage with local culinary experts who will share their cooking wisdom, as well as interactions with local fishermen and connections with NOAA scientists, enriching the learning experience with practical insights and real-world applications. This course is available for 4 pre-college units.  

 

Students that have participated in this course can also apply to be a Sustainable Seafood Intern with Research Scholars, Marine Science that begin at the start of every quarter. 

 

Topics Include 

  • Scientific Method 
  • DNA Extraction, PCR and gel electrophoresis  
  • Phylogenetic Analyses Tools and Interpretation 
  • Poster Presentation Pedagogy 
  • Culinary Conservation 

 

Course Requirements: 

  1. Able to attend in-person meetings at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
  2. Take a Tier 1 course, Seafood Sustainability: Practices and Perspectives (Recommended) 
  3. Taken an advanced marine science, environmental science, or AP biology course.

Advanced Sustainable Seafood Science (Winter 2025 - Online)

Advanced Sustainable Seafood Science (Click here to apply!)

Dates: February 3 – March 26, 2023 

Tuition: $2000

Grade Level: 9-12th grade 

Instructors: Nicole Yen 

Advisors: Sarah Mesnick, Mar Mancha-Cisneros 

Synchronous Schedule: 8 weeks 

  • Virtual Meetings (8 weeks)  
  • Session: Tuesday; Thursday (5:00-6:20 PM PST) 

Asynchronous Schedule: 2-3 hours/week of additional work 

 

From lobster rolls and New England clam chowder to beer-battered fish tacos, seafood dishes are beloved worldwide. This online course invites students to explore the global appreciation for seafood while addressing the critical issue of mislabeling and fraud in the industry. Participants will engage in independent research projects tailored to their local community, focusing on either molecular testing of seafood samples or investigating the social dimensions of seafood traceability. 

 

Example projects can include:  

 
DNA Barcoding of Local Seafood: Students can collect seafood samples from local markets and use DNA barcoding to verify species identity, contributing to the detection of mislabeling and fraud. Students will send samples to Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) for testing.  
Community Survey Project: Students can create a simple survey to ask neighbors and friends about their thoughts on where their seafood comes from and why it’s important to know. This helps understand the community’s views on seafood sustainability. 
Seafood Supply Chain Mapping: A project to trace the journey of a seafood item from catch to plate, highlighting sustainable practices and areas for improvement. 
Policy Review and Recommendations: Analyzing local, state, or national policies on seafood sustainability and developing recommendations for policy enhancements. 

 

Students will develop skills in marine science and social research, contributing to the integrity of the seafood industry and consumer awareness. By the end of the course, students will create a research poster that will be shared on Research Scholars, Marine Science Website. The course is designed to empower students to become active participants in combating seafood mislabeling and promoting sustainability within their communities. This course is available for 4 pre-college units. 

 

Students that have participated in this course can also apply to be a Sustainable Seafood Intern with Research Scholars, Marine Science that begin at the start of every quarter. 

 

Topics Include 

  • Scientific Method 
  • Seafood Sustainability 
  • Social Research vs. Research in Natural Sciences 
  • Poster Presentation Pedagogy  

 

Course Requirements: 

  1. A Tier 1 course, Seafood Sustainability: Practices and Perspectives (Recommended)
  2. Taken an advanced marine science, environmental science, or AP biology course

Tier 3 Courses

Introduction to Scientific Writing (Fall 2024 - Online)

Introduction to Scientific Writing (Click here to apply!)

Dates: September 23, 2024 - November 13, 2024

Tuition: $2000 

Grade Level: 9-12th grade 

Instructor: Nicole Yen and Sonya Timko 

Schedule: 

  • Synchronous – Monday, Wednesday (4:30-5:50 PM PST)
  • Asynchronous – 3-5 hours of additional work/ week 

 

Introduction to Scientific Writing is a course tailored to students who have completed a Tier 2 course and are ready to transform their research into a manuscript. This course guides students through the process of writing and publishing their work, either as a preprint or as a manuscript, in esteemed Marine Science journals. It focuses on honing the students’ abilities to write with precision and clarity, making them adept technical writers and communicators. The curriculum includes practice in graduate-level science communication, particularly mastering the art of the 3-minute flash talk. This technique equips students to effectively distill and present their research findings to a broad audience, ensuring they can engage listeners from various backgrounds. This course will be available for 4 pre-college units.  

 

Any prior Tier 2 students are welcome to apply.  

 

Topics Include 

  • Principles of Effective Writing and Reading in Science 
  • Organization and Formatting Manuscripts 
  • Preparation of Figures and Citation Style 
  • Communicating Science to a Diverse Audience  

Other Program Information

Marine Science Application

Students can access the application from the "Apply Now" tab here.

Marine Science Acceptance

Students will be notified of acceptance within 10 days of submitting their application until the program is full.

Marine Science Cancellation/Refund Policies

CANCELLATION POLICY

Cancellation or withdrawal for any reason 2 weeks prior to the course start date.

Refunds for cancellation or withdrawal after the 2 weeks deadline be issued for serious illness (doctor's certificate is required) or extenuating circumstances only. Tuition is not refunded for students who are dismissed from the program.

 

HOW TO REQUEST A REFUND

All refund requests must be made in writing to Maysoon Dong, Associate Director for the Education & Community Outreach Department at: precollege@ucsd.edu. You will receive a confirmation of your request. Refunds will take approximately 4-6 weeks to process. Refunds are issued in the same method of payment (check or charge) of payment to UC San Diego Academic Connections.

COVID Policies - Hybrid Courses

  • Masking on campus is optional. For latest updates on our policies, please click here.  
  • If you are experiencing or have had COVID-19 symptoms within the past 14 days, please stay at home.
  • If you believe that you have been in recent contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, please stay at home. 

COVID-19 Policies - Residential Programs

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for Academic Connections 

The following replaces pp.11-12 of the Academic Connections Handbook 

  • Per University of California Policy, the following elements are NOT required of attendees of Academic Connections: 
    • COVID-19 vaccination 
    • Masking, UNLESS symptomatic OR a close contact 
    • Pre-arrival or upon-arrival COVID-19 testing 

What is required: 

Weekly Testing 

Provider-observed weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for each attendee.   

The provider-observed verification form that is emailed to the student after a test is observed must be submitted by the student to the Academic Connections office via a secure, HIPAA-compliant form between 9A Monday and 9A Tuesday of each week.  A secure, HIPAA-compliant form will be e-mailed to the student each Sunday night from the Director of Residence Life and must be returned with the provider-observed verification form attached by 9A Tuesday of each week of the program. 

Failure to submit the weekly provider-observed verification form will result in parental notification and may result in expulsion from the program with no opportunity for refund. 

Symptomatic Testing 

Each student must independently monitor for COVID-19 symptoms throughout the program.  Symptoms include any of the following:  cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigued muscles or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.  If any of these symptoms occur, the student must immediately test with a provider-observed COVID-19 testing kit.  The provider-observed verification form that is emailed to the student after a test is observed will need to be submitted by the student to the Academic Connections office via a secure, HIPAA-compliant form right away.  Failure to submit the  provider-observed verification form will result in parental notification and may result in expulsion from the program with no opportunity for refund. 

Exposure to COVID-19 

If a student becomes exposed to a close-contact who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must take the following steps: Close contact is defined as sharing the same airspace with an infected person for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.  

 Test immediately, and again 3-5 days post-exposure via a provider-observed COVID-19 test kit.  The provider-observed verification form that is emailed to the student after a test is observed will need to be submitted by the student to the Academic Connections office via a secure, HIPAA-compliant form right away.  Failure to submit the provider-observed verification form will result in parental notification and may result in expulsion from the program with no opportunity for refund. 

Additionally, those exposed to a close-contact must: 

Mask when around others for the next 10 days. 

Self-monitor daily for symptoms for the next 10 days. 

If symptoms develop, test at that time via the provider-observed testing kit and submit results using the secure, HIPAA-compliant form right away.  Failure to submit the provider-observed verification form will result in parental notification and may result in expulsion from the program with no opportunity for refund. 

Supplies 

We recommend https://shop.emed.com/collections/all and the eMed Flu+Covid Telehealth Kit 6-pack that is $150 for the provider-observed test.  It is HSA/FSA approved and is the most affordable option that we have found. 

 

Parents or guardians must purchase or acquire at least 20 individually packaged KN95 or 10 N95 masks to send with their students to the program in case they become symptomatic during the program or if they come in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. 

Parents or guardians will be notified by Academic Connections staff as soon as we know that a student tests positive for COVID-19 or influenza.  Since there may be a gap in between your student’s test and submitting the results of that test to the Academic Connections staff, we strongly encourage parents/guardians to inquire frequently with their students about the results of any provider-observed test that they take, whether weekly, on a symptomatic basis, or as result of a close contact.   

Students who test positive for COVID-19 or influenza must immediately mask and will be isolated until their guardians arrive to pick them up from the program, preferably within 8 hours of a positive test.  However, a student must depart from the program with their guardian no more than 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19 or influenza.  During isolation, meals will be provided to students by program staff and they will be monitored.  Should symptoms worsen before being picked up, students will be transported to UC San Diego Health for assessment and treatment. 

 

Learn More

You can also learn more about the program by visiting our Research Scholars Marine Science website here

https://precollegescholars.community/research-scholars-marine-science/