The Cape RADD Marine Science Field Course is an immersive educational experience designed for students, graduates, and dive professionals interested in marine biology, conservation, and scientific diving. The course offers:

  • Hands-on Learning: Participants gain practical experience in research methods, working alongside field biologists and dive specialists.
  • Dive Training: The program includes dive training and acclimatization, with a focus on developing buoyancy skills and familiarity with sampling techniques.
  • Comprehensive Knowledge: Students learn about local fish, invertebrate species, and the unique biodiversity of the Cape Peninsula.
  • Research Projects: The course involves survey dives and data collection for various research projects, utilizing observation techniques learned during the program.
  • Additional Skills: Workshops on GIS, freediving, and R programming are introduced to enhance the participants’ skill set.
  • Community Outreach: Participation in community outreach is part of the curriculum, fostering engagement with local stakeholders.

This field course is open to all levels of experience and aims to provide a deeper understanding of the marine environment and equip participants with the skills needed to pursue a career in marine science.

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Here is a sample of what you can expect to gain from taking part in the Cape RADD Field Course

  • Gain experience and understanding of a broad spectrum of Research methods
  • Work alongside field biologists and dive specialists
  • Practical instruction in data collection Techniques and analysis
  • Comprehensive knowledge of fish, invertebrate and coral species
  • Understanding of threats and challenges to the local marine environment
  • Community outreach participation
  • Further SSI dive qualifications, an advantage in marine science

Week 1

This week focuses on dive training and acclimatisation and a thorough introduction to the course and research. Lecture subjects include an introduction to the area, substrates, fish and invertebrate species, and the systems and processes that create the unique biodiversity found in the Cape Peninsula. The scientific method is introduced through various Citizen Science initiatives. Practical diving sessions in this week focus on developing buoyancy skills and familiarisation with sampling techniques and equipment.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  • Orientation
  • Fish ID
  • Introduction to Diving in South Africa
  • Double Boat Dive
  • Scientific Diving Theory
  • Scientific Diving Theory
  • Research Cruise
  • Peninsula Drive
  • Skills Refresher
  • Fish Survey
  • Scientific Diving Skills
  • Scientific Diving Skills

Week 2

In week two we put to use the skills developed during the first week. Research projects are introduced with comprehensive lectures on project backgrounds and methods. Students begin survey dives and collect data for the various research projects utilising the observation techniques learned in week one. Workshops on additional skills like GIS, Freediving, and R are also introduced this week.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  • GIS Workshop
  • Project Proposal
  • Double Boat Survey Dive
  • Survey Dive
  • Double Boat Survey Dive
  • Research Cruise
  • Survey Dive
  • Introduction to R

Week 3

Week three continues data collection for the projects introduced during week two and for new projects that will be introduced in this week. We discuss the concept of biodiversity and how this is measured from study design to statistics and inferences. Students will also begin to process data collected in the previous weeks.

Fish swimming through Kelp Forest
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  • Freediving Workshop
  • Survey Dive
  • Double Boat Survey Dive
  • Survey Dive
  • Double Boat Survey Dive
  • Research Cruise
  • Measuring Biodiversity
  • BRUV video analysis

Week 4

This week wraps up the course with continued data collection and developing biological and analytical knowledge. Lecture topics cover a variety of subjects and can include shark physiology, white shark population dynamics and population modelling and others depending on the interests of students.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
  • Biological Knowledge
  • Survey Dive
  • Double Boat Survey Dive
  • Survey Dive
  • Survey Dive
  • Biodiversity Exercises in R
  • BRUV Video Analysis
  • Biological Knowledge

Experience/ Qualifications required

No experience or qualifications required, however an interest in Marine Sciences, Oceanography or related subject is recommended OR Dive Professionals (Dive Master, Dive Instructor).


This program is open to all nationalities (subject to visa requirements. Program is taught in English)

Faculty lead & University Trips

Please inquire if you would be interested in organizing University field trips.

Typical Hours

Monday-Friday; 6-8 hours per day; Weekends are free for personal time and activities. Activities may be moved around to accommodate weather and logistics.


  • 4 weeks: $4,200
  • 3 weeks: $3,200
  • 2 weeks: $2,500
  • 4 week :£3,500
  • 3 week : £2,900
  • 2 week : £2,200

If you wish to stay longer we can arrange an extended period.

What does the cost cover?

  • All diving and equipment hire
  • Accommodation (self-catered)
  • Transport between headquarters and accommodation
  • Airport transfer
  • Cape RADD tuition and Marine Protected area permits

What’s not included?

  • Flights
  • Any necessary visas
  • Food and drink
  • Health and travel insurance which must cover SCUBA diving (DAN cover)