Summer: Rutgers- Coral Reef Internship

Little Cayman, Cayman Islands

Program Overview

Term Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Summer 2020
Jul 12, 2020
Aug 01, 2020
Mar 15, 2020
Language(s) of Instruction
Class Standing
Rising Sophomore
Rising Junior
Good Academic Standing
Program Type


Program Advisor

The Program

Under the sea...

Study coral identification and other advanced marine biological techniques under the direction of a professional researcher and marine biologist. Take part in dives on some of the most beautiful and ecologically diverse reefs in the Caribbean. Live and study at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI)’s newest tropical field station, the Little Cayman Research Centre.

Program Location

Coral Reef

Cayman Islands

Little Cayman

The Cayman Islands are one of the world’s centers of marine research and conservation, offering remarkable biodiversity both in and out of the water. They consist of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, which is of course the smallest. Despite its relative lack of size—it’s a mere 10 miles long by one mile wide—Little Cayman has superb diving at Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson’s Bight.  Your residence at CCMI’s headquarters at Little Cayman will position you for some of the best field experiences in marine biology the ocean has to offer.


To view the program’s 2017 syllabus, please click here.  Please note this is a sample syllabus, all of its content is subject to change.

In the Summer Coral Reef Research Internship at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute, you will be conducting coral reef ecosystem field research with a principal investigator.  At the end of the program, you will receive 4 RU credits.  

Before departure, you are required to complete pre-trip reading assignments to make sure time spent in the field is productive.

For the first week of the program, you will participate in field trips each day to gain a better understanding of shallow marine, coastal, and coral reef habitats. Lectures and discussions will take place during the late afternoon and evening. The objective of the first week is to provide you with the marine biology and conservation understanding and skills needed to prepare them for the following three weeks of field work.

The second and third weeks will involve research training and data collection.  In the fourth week, students will analyze the data collected and prepare a final report and poster for presentation.  Students will be expected to produce a research poster that could be presented at a national or international conference.  It is not possible to take classes not-for-credit, nor is it possible to take classes as Pass/Fail.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

Housing and Meals

Students will be housed in shared rooms on the second floor of the Little Cayman Research Center. There is also a lounge on the second floor available to everyone. There is a separate Bath House Pavilion. 

Meals are included in the cost of the program.  All food arrives on the island by barge prior to your stay. If you have specific dietary requirements, please notify us no later than 2 weeks prior to your arrival.  Meals are designed to be healthy and hearty including a variety of local cuisine. Meals are taken in the dining pavilion overlooking the ocean.

Financial Information

Program Costs

This is the billed amount that will appear on your Rutgers term bill during the term you study abroad.
NJ Resident non-NJ Resident
Undergraduate $5,050 $5,430
Graduate $5,290 $5,650
Program Cost includes:

•    Tuition 
•    Housing
•    Meals
•    Excursions 
•    Administrative Fees
•    International SOS Health Insurance

Out-of-Pocket Costs

These are estimated expenses that are not part of your term bill. Students will need to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.
Airfare $700
Personal Expenses $100
DAN Insurance $75
Diving Gear Rental $270
SCUBA Certification $349
Total $1,494.00
Out-of-Pocket Cost includes:

The above costs are estimations and represent the known out-of-pocket costs students encounter during their time abroad. 
Some of these expenses will be paid for prior to going abroad, such as an airline ticket and visa costs, while some of these expenses, such as meals and local transportation, will be paid in-country as part of your daily expenses. As you plan, you will need to budget these costs and spend wisely throughout your time abroad.


Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Rutgers Global–Study Abroad program. Applications can be found inside of your study abroad program application. For more information, please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

 Available to SEBS students only.  For more information please visit the SEBS Scholarships web page.


Dr. Carrie Manfrino

Carrie founded CCMI in 1998 and has since built CCMI around her dream of sustaining biodiversity through research, education, and conservation. As a professor of oceanography, Carrie has dedicated over 12 years to marine research in Little Cayman.

Summer 2017

"When I realized that Rutgers had a coral reef internship program in the Cayman Islands, there was no doubt that I had to apply. I expected this internship to teach me all about corals and its conservation, but I learned so much during this internship along with other surprises; therefore this experience has exceeded all my expectations. Before this trip I was a little concerned about my diving skills. It had been more than three years since I haven’t dived, therefore I would consider this to be my biggest challenge. Fortunately our first two dives were skill and buoyancy dives which allowed us to practice our skills underwater. After those dives everything ran smooth and beautiful and I felt like I was part of the ocean."

Rob Helsel

"Aside from the fact that the program took place on a beautiful Caribbean island, the academic, professional, and research
content of the program aligned very well with my own goals. Earlier this year I worked to become certified in SCUBA diving, with the goal of eventually integrating the skill into my career and personal life. This program was the first large-scale application of this goal, and it was extremely satisfying. There is an entire world that most people are unable to ever experience under the water, and I am privileged to experience it so intimately. In addition, all of the dives we completed on the reefs around Little Cayman will be a boon for me moving forward in my certification and career journeys."