Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis (Scotland) - Coastal Carolina University
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Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis at the Scottish Marine Institute

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This faculty-led program will take a select group of Chanticleers to the Scottish Marine Institute (SAMS; in Oban, U.K., for three weeks of international study. SAMS is a world-class research and teaching center with areas of emphasis in Arctic Seas, Dynamic Oceans (climate research), and Marine Renewable Energy. Students complete a 3/1 credit MSCI laboratory course while abroad, learning how to work with oceanographic data: how to acquire data (online or shipboard sampling), process seawater samples using analytic techniques, process data using appropriate software, and present data to a scientific audience. Each student will choose a type of data to process, interpret, and display in an oral presentation at the end of the course.

This program leverages the local setting by inviting guest lecturers to introduce students to the types of data they use. The group will compare and contrast data from Long Bay with data from the SAMS, and students will take a sampling cruise aboard the Research Vessel Seol Mara to collect physical measurements from Loch Etive for analysis.

Outside of the classroom, students have the opportunity to explore the highland town of Oban and the surrounding area known as the "Gateway to the Islands." Day trips to nearby islands for research and sightseeing include excursions to Mull, Iona, Staffa, and Kerrera. Students are able to tour several castles and enjoy the highland spring!

Physical Requirements: Extensive walking in both urban and rural (rocky) areas. Participation in a day-long cruise aboard a research vessel, ferry crossings and small boat cruises in the open ocean will be required.

Course Information

MSCI 315 and MSCI 315L Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis. (3 credits + 1 credit). (Prereq: MSCI 111; MATH 131 or equivalent).
This course is an introduction to oceanographic data collection and analysis at a field station. The lecture will include an introduction to data processing and analysis using computer software, using examples and case studies drawn from the ongoing oceanographic research at the field station. Students will learn how to import, visualize, analyze and interpret oceanographic data including Eulerian and Lagrangian time-series, profile data and 2-D bathymetric and remote sensing data. A large case study will be the analysis of the data collected during the laboratory portion of the class.

Students will have an opportunity to learn skills at a research station with environmental conditions that are different from CCU. Collecting oceanographic data in the inner Scottish seas and lochs is a completely different experience from doing so in the marshes and bays near CCU; it is beautiful and harsher at the same time. It is much more like the environments that Marine Science students will experience in parts of the world that are dealing with the effects of climate change. This will give students the experience of setting up the experiments and protocols to collect the data. Very importantly, as well, students will have the opportunity to interact with Marine Science faculty and students at the institute. Since science is a global enterprise, learning how to make connections with and work with scientists in other countries will be a valuable skill.

Instructor: Louis Keiner

Accommodations and Meals

The group will stay in dorm-like accommodations in the city of Oban. The accommodations are run by the Oban Backpackers Plus hostel, and rooms accommodate two to four students each with shared bathrooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, cooking facilities, and linen service. The hostel is within easy walking distance of the entire downtown.
During class days, box lunches are provided by SAMS. For dinner and weekend meals, students are free to enjoy the wide array of options available in Oban. 

Program Leaders 

Louis E. Keiner, Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science, 843-349-2226
Louis Keiner is an associate professor of physics and physical oceanography at Coastal Carolina University. He earned his Ph.D. in marine science from the University of Delaware, and was a post-doctoral researcher at NOAA before coming to CCU. His research focuses on using satellite sensors to observe and analyze processes in the coastal ocean. He has served as director for CCU’s Center for Effective Teaching and Learning and as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. He regularly teaches both introductory and advanced physics, including Geophysical Fluid Dynamics and Remote Sensing. Keiner has also traveled extensively in Scotland, photographing the country (, and is happy to work with students on their travel photography skills.

‌‌Teresa E. Burns, Associate Professor of Physics,
Department Physics and Engineering Science, 843-349-2225
Teresa Burns, Associate Professor of Physics, brings many relevant travel experiences. Most recently, she co-led this Scotland program in May 2017 and May 2018. Previously, she led a CCU Education Abroad program to Arezzo, Italy, which included travel to Rome and Florence. She has accompanied three CCU Education Abroad programs: Amsterdam, Heidelberg and Paris; Oxford in an add-on tourist capacity; and Florence, Italy. Other professional travel includes an NSF travel course to Florence, Italy, as well as travel with students to Moscow, Russia, and Yerevan, Armenia, for the purposes of research and presentation. In addition, she has lived abroad in Saarbruecken, Germany, for more than a year and traveled independently to Ireland, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. As an undergraduate, she participated in a short-term university program that traveled to Munich and West Berlin with a day trip to East Berlin. Her teaching experience includes many years of experience teaching introductory physics to science majors as well as non-science majors.

Cost to Participate = Program Fee + Tuition (Number of Credits x Tuition Rate) + Out-of-pocket Expenses

The tuition for this course is for Maymester term. 

Included in Program Fee: Roundtrip airfare from U.S. to Scotland; ground transportation in-country; accommodations; excursions; breakfasts and lunches; and emergency medical insurance ($1.80 a day for every day traveling).

Not Included in Program Fee:

  • Estimated out-of-pocket expenses: $570 for meals not covered by program fees plus $250 for optional excursions and miscellaneous expenses. Please note that this estimate will vary based on individual spending habits and does not cover the cost of a new passport. Students should ask their program leaders for more details about estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Pre-departure housing: Students will be meeting on campus in the week leading up to the departure date and must have accommodations during this period. Students should confirm the departure date with their program leaders before securing housing.
Discounted Tuition for Education Abroad Students: $366/credit
CCU credits  Program Fee Tuition  Technology Fee
Cost to
4 credits $4294 $2196 $20 $820 $7330


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Due
Deposit Oct. 30 $300 (refundable before commitment deadline of Dec. 5)
Program Fee Payment Feb. 11 $3994
Tuition and Technology Fee Payment May 9 $2196

Deposits can be made in-person at Student Accounts (Baxley Hall) or over the phone. After acceptance to the program, payments can be made either online through WebAdvisor or at Student Accounts.  Please note that payments made with a debit or credit card will be charged a service fee of 2.7 percent. For more information about methods of payment, visit Student Accounts.

Helpful Links

Photos of Scotland 

General Travel Information about Scotland