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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?
2. What makes for a successful application? What courses should I be taking as an undergraduate to help me get into grad school?
3. What if I am missing some of the prerequisite coursework?
4. What types of research are being conducted at the institution and what are the faculty research interests?
5. Do I need to know what I want to study before I apply?
6. How do I select a project to work on?
7. What makes GPMB different from other grad programs?
8. What are the funding options? Do I have to find my own funding? Are there fellowship opportunities?
9. Will I be able to TA? If so, for how long?
10. What is it like to live in Charleston?
11. What is the cost of living in Charleston? Where do most students live?
12. How much is tuition?
13. Do I need to apply for legal residency? If so, what do I have to do?
14. How long does it take to finish the program?
15. What if it takes me longer than three years to finish?
16. What are recent graduates doing?


1. Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?

In considering which graduate school to attend there are several items to think about including everything from how much individualized attention you will receive to how much input you will have in your own research. For some advice, click here.

2. What makes for a successful application? What courses should I be taking as an undergraduate to help me get into grad school?

We have certain requirements for admission to the graduate school including prerequisite coursework, the general GRE test, letters of recommendation, and others. Please click here for more information.

3. What if I am missing some of the prerequisite coursework?

The Admissions Committee may approve a substitution for a required course if you can demonstrate that the substitute course covered the same basic material as the required course (typically via a syllabus). They may also decide to waive a particular requirement if you have sufficient background in or accumulated the skills or knowledge the course would provide. Waivers are not typically granted for the upper division Ecology or Cell/Molec requirement.

4. What types of research are being conducted at the institution and what are the faculty research interests?

Research is being conducted in animal physiology, biodiversity, ecology, estuarine dynamics, evolution and systematics, fisheries science, microbial processes, plant physiology, toxicology, and marine genomics, among others. To view faculty by general research areas, click here. To see what types of projects current students are working on, click here.

5. Do I need to know what I want to study before I apply?

No, it is not necessary for a student to have already decided upon a project prior to enrollment. It is possible to contact faculty that you may share research interests with and try to identify a project, but this is not required prior to enrollment.

6. How do I select a project to work on?

During the first two semesters in the program you will be introduced to faculty looking for students to work on projects in their labs. You may also peruse the faculty list and make contact on your own with certain faculty members that share your research interests to see if they have availability in their lab or are taking on students.

7. What makes GPMB different from other grad programs?

A great strength of this program is the various research options available through our collaboration with other institutions, most right here on the Fort Johnson campus. We have over 100 marine scientists on our faculty that are conducting research and can mentor graduate students. Another difference is that you need not have an advisor, project, or funding identified prior to enrollment.

8. What are the funding options? Do I have to find my own funding? Are there fellowship opportunities?

Several internal (CofC) as well as other local and national funding opportunities are available. Visit our funding page for more in-depth information.

9. Will I be able to TA? If so, for how long?

Teaching assistantships are available to all students that start in the fall semester (as long as they are proficient in English and not on academic probation) for their first year in the program. Teaching assistantships are not guaranteed and may not be available with spring admission. We are often able to support second and third year students on TAs as well.

10. What is it like to live in Charleston?

Charleston is a beautiful, historic, southern town with a population of just over 105,000 in the city and approximately 575,000 in the metro area. There are many things to do including everything from boating, attending arts festivals and baseball games, eating at fantastic restaurants, going to the theater, and visiting the aquarium, to just relaxing in the sunshine at one of the many parks. We find that many of our students enjoy the city so much that they set up permanent residence here upon graduation. To learn more about Charleston, click here.

11. What is the cost of living in Charleston? Where do most students live?

The Grice Marine Lab is located on James Island. Because of this most students choose to live on James Island or in neighboring West Ashley. Many students live together in a shared house or apartment rental. Approximate cost of housing is $400-$500/month. The Lab also has housing available for first-year students at a rate of $1895/semester.

12. How much is tuition?

Tuition for the 2017-2018 year is $550/hr. for in-state students and $1,393/hr. for out-of-state students. Most students take 18 credit hours their first year in the program (9 each in the fall and spring semesters). If you are on an assistantship (TA, RA, GA) you may apply for an abatement of the out-of-state portion of your tuition. For a list of fees, please click here.

13. Do I need to apply for legal residency? If so, what do I have to do?

Whether or not you choose to apply for South Carolina residency is up to you. Obtaining residency may help with tuition costs if you find you are ineligible to apply for an out-of-state tuition abatement. To learn more, visit Legal Residency at the College of Charleston.

14. How long does it take to finish the program?

The program is designed to be completed in three years or less. The first year is spent in the classroom, organizing a thesis committee, and starting your research project. The second year is spent conducting field and lab work. The third year is spent analyzing data and writing the thesis.

15. What if it takes me longer than three years to finish?

Sometimes a student will take longer than three years to complete the program. The deadline is four years, but if there are extenuating circumstances, a student may apply for an extension with the support of their thesis committee and the program director.

16. What are recent graduates doing?

Most students are employed immediately after graduation. Many stay in the Charleston area and are often employed right here at Fort Johnson. A high percentage of our students remain in an area of marine science such as policy, research, and education. About a quarter of our graduates go on to earn a Ph.D. To see a list of alums and what they are doing now, click here.