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Bahamas, Summer 2018

Dolphin Behavior and Communicaton

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Summer 2018

I) Summary

Location: Bimini, Bahamas

Dates: June 17 - 28, 2018

Credits Offered:

Undergraduates: PSYCH 195.59 (3 credits)
Graduates: PSYCH 717.51 (3 credits)

Application Deadline: March 22, 2018 Deadline extended to April 5, 2018!

Financial Aid: TAP, PELL, student loans

Scholarships: Chancellor’s Global Scholarship

Program Fee: $2,470 (estimate) includes housing, 3 meals/day, snacks, drinks, boat trips, snorkel gear rental, and international health and travel insurance. TUITION and AIRFARE are NOT included in the program fee. All students are responsible for arriving at their study abroad location by the first day of the program.

Students should not purchase flights before the orientation session. Arrival and departure information will be discussed then, and details are subject to change.

Payment Schedule: $350 application fee and deposit is due with the application. $2,120 (program fee balance; estimate) is due April 24, 2018. Payments must be made with certified check or money order. NO CASH, PERSONAL CHECKS OR CREDIT CARDS.

Students are responsible for meeting the payment deadline regardless of funding source, i.e. Macaulay Opportunities Fund, loans, or any other type of financial aid. Late fees will be applied to all delayed payments (see Education Abroad Application Instructions and Policies).

II) Program Description

This field course provides students with a unique opportunity to gain research experience in the field by participating in a study of the vocalizations and behavior of wild dolphins. The course has two components: 1) a one-day lecture-workshop held at Hunter College in May prior to the field course, and 2) participation in a twelve-day field program in June at the Bahamas field site.

The Bahamian dolphin populations are very acclimated to human beings, allowing for the unique opportunity to observe these animals in their natural environment. Students and volunteers who join our team during our research trip will assist the researchers in studying the underwater and surface interactions of wild dolphins - this includes assisting with photographing and identifying individual dolphins and recording their behavior. Observations are made underwater while snorkeling, and on the water's surface from a research boat.

Students will take part in onboard ship observations and may (if desired) take part in underwater observations. Students who feel comfortable with photo ID may also assist in taking underwater photo ID pictures. Above water data collection includes recording environmental data, recording details of sightings, and recording behavioral observations. Underwater data collection includes recording details of sightings, and recording behavioral observations. Additional activities include matching photos of dolphins seen to the photo ID catalog in order to identify the dolphins, and being 'on watch' to look for approaching dolphin groups.

Daily schedule: a typical day out at the research site will include a morning or evening lecture, morning photo ID work and data entry, and an afternoon boat trip. Weather permitting, we will have 8 boat trips during the field course. We will have additional time on one or two boat trips to snorkel at a beautiful local snorkeling site.

The trip will be led Dr. Daisy Kaplan, former instructor at Hunter College.

Bahamas Dolphin Field Course SYLLABUS

Credits & Grades

Students in this program will receive both credits and letter grades. Grades will count toward their Hunter GPA.

III) Prerequisites & Application Requirements


  • 3.0 GPA
  • Must know how to swim and snorkel.
  • Undergraduate students: PSYCH 100; Hunter MA students: approval of Dr. Diana Reiss, ABC MA concentration coordinator; Non-matriculated students need the approval of Dr. Daisy Kaplan.

In addition to completing the study abroad application forms, those wishing to apply must complete the following requirements:

  • One letter of recommendation from a CUNY faculty member who has worked with or taught the student within the last 3 years. This letter must attest to the ability of the applicant to work well as a team member and to follow instructions. Due to the nature of this course and that fact that students are in the water, the student must be able to obey authority immediately (faculty or the boat staff) in order to ensure the safety and research experience for all.
  • Interview and approval from the faculty member teaching the course.

IV) Costs of Attendance

Tuition (3 credits, calculated at the undergraduate, in state rate) $855
Tuition (3 credits, calculated at the graduate, in state rate) $1,320
Program Fee $2,470 (estimate)
Airfare $600
Ground Transportation $15
Gratuity $130
TOTAL Undergraduate (estimate)
TOTAL Graduate (estimate)

V) Further Inquiries

Academic Inquiries
Faculty: Dr. Daisy Kaplan

Administrative Inquiries
Education Abroad Office, Room E1447
Office Hours: 9:30am - 5:30pm Mon-Fri
Phone: (212) 772-4983
Fax: (212) 772-5005

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Office of Education Abroad, Room E1447
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NY, NY 10065