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Field Methods in Oceanographic Analysis: Study Abroad at the Scottish Marine Institute

The students who participate in this program will spend three weeks studying at the Scottish Marine Institute in Oban, UK. SMI is a world-class research and teaching center, having areas of emphasis in Arctic Seas, Dynamic Oceans (climate research), and Marine renewable energy. Students in the program take a 3/1 credit MSCI laboratory course, Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis, where they will learn how to work with oceanographic data, to be able to acquire data (online or shipboard sampling), 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.

The course will take advantage of the setting by using local guest lecturers to introduce students to the types of data they work with, and we will be comparing/contrasting data from Long Bay with data from the Scottish Marine Institute. We will take a sampling cruise aboard one of the SAMS research vessels, during which students will participate in the collection of physical measurements in Loch Etive for analysis.

Outside of the classroom, students will have the opportunity to explore the highland town of Oban and the surrounding area, known as the "Gateway to the Islands." There will also be day trips to nearby islands for both research and sightseeing, including Mull, Iona, Staffa and Kerrera. Students will be able to tour several castles, and enjoy the highland spring.

This program will require students to do 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/L Field Methods in Oceanographic Data Analysis. (3/1). (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.

This course at will provide the students 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 & Meals

The group will stay in dorm-like accommodations in the city of Oban, run by the Oban Backpackers Plus hostel. The rooms accommodate 2-4 students each, with shared bathrooms. There is free WiFi, continental breakfast, cooking facilities, and linen service. The hostel is within easy walking distance of the entire downtown.
During class days, box lunches will be provided by the Marine Institute. For dinner and weekend meals, students are free to enjoy the wide array of options available in Oban. 

Faculty Leaders 

Dr. Louis E. Keiner, Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science • 843-349-2226
Dr. 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. Dr. Keiner has also traveled extensively in Scotland, photographing the country (, and is happy to work with students on their travel photography skills.

‌‌Dr. Teresa E. Burns, Associate Professor of Physics,
Department Physics and Engineering Science • 843-349-2225
Dr Teresa Burns, Associate Professor of Physics, brings many relevant travel experiences. Most recently, she co-lead the program to Scotland in May 2017, and has previously lead a study abroad CCU program to Arezzo, Italy, that included travel in-country to Rome and Florence. She has accompanied three CCU travel abroad trips: 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 over a year and traveled independently to Ireland, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico. As an undergraduate, she participated in a university short trip that traveled to Munich and West Berlin with a day trip to East Berlin. Her teaching experience includes many years’ experience teaching introductory physics both to science majors and to non-science majors.

Cost of the Program

Cost of the Program = Program Fees + (Number of Credits x Tuition Rate)

In-State Students ($357/credit)

CCU credits  Program Fees Tuition  Cost of Program
4 credits $3,999 $1,428 $5,427

Out-of-State Students ($432/credit)

CCU credits Program Fees Tuition Cost of Program
4 credits $3,999
$1,728 $5,727

Included in Program Fees: Roundtrip airfare from U.S. to Scotland, ground transportation in-country; accommodations; excursions to the islands of Mull, Staffa, and Kerrera; breakfast and lunch each day; and emergency medical insurance.

Not included in Cost of Program:

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $520 for dinner each evening, lunch on free days, and optional excursions. These are expenses not covered by the program fees that students should expect to cover, and will vary based on individual spending habits.  
  • As students will depart from MYR or a nearby airport, students will need to make sure they have accommodations leading up to the program departure date.  Students should confirm with faculty leaders the date of departure before securing housing.

Payment Schedule for Program Fees and Tuition

Program Fee & Tuition Schedule Due Date Amount Due
Deposit November 1, 2017 $300
1st Payment December 8, 2017 $1,233
2nd Payment January 12, 2018 $1,233
3rd Payment February 12, 2018 $1,233
Tuition April 20, 2018 In-State: $357/credit
Out-of-State: $432/credit

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

Helpful Links

Photos of Scotland 

General Travel Information about Scotland