Jun 24, 2021  
2020 - 2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020 - 2021 Graduate Catalog

SMS: VIMS Campus and Student Activities

School of Marine Science students participate in graduate studies at an active, year round research facility with approximately 400 scientists, support technicians and staff. The 35-acre main campus of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science is located in Gloucester Point at the mouth of the York River, a major tributary and natural passageway to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a voluntary organization open to all graduate students in the School of Marine Science. The purpose of the GSA is to advance the academic and social interests of its members. Students will find information on the GSA website about funding opportunities and housing availability. Officers are elected each spring for the following academic year.

Graduate Program Ombuds Team

Faculty ombuds and student peer advisors are available to help graduate students resolve issues and address concerns that arise within the university setting.  Acting as an advocate for fairness, a member of the team can provide information about institutional policies and work to help you manage a conflict, understand the university system, and find productive ways of communicating. Examples of concerns brought to an ombuds include adjusting to graduate school, relationships with major professors, academic and funding difficulties, and other issues related to graduate education. Visit the Graduate Program Ombuds webpage for more information.

Cultural Life at VIMS and William & Mary

Many activities on William & Mary’s campuses and in the local communities enrich the lives and career development of students enrolled in SMS. Students have the opportunity to interact with top national and international marine scientists during an annual seminar series. Luncheons with the speaker and social gatherings also allow students to interact with these scientists in less formal settings. After Hours Lectures feature experts from VIMS and main campus who shed light on the natural history of Chesapeake Bay and the current issues it faces. Marine Science Day, which takes place in May is the biggest public event at VIMS. Many members of the VIMS community, including faculty, staff, and students get involved – it’s a great way for scientists to engage with the public and discuss implications of current research for the local community and the globe. The GSA also offers many social opportunities to students and the VIMS campus. Parties during the fall and spring are open to all members of the VIMS community and their families. The annual GSA Community Yard Sale is a great way to buy and sell household items and to mingle with locals.

Gloucester Point and Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing are the areas closest to the VIMS campus. They boast popular beaches that attract local citizens. Gloucester Point and other areas along the York River are great locations for water sports including kayaking, sailing, and windsurfing. VIMS staff and students are in charge of a William & Mary’s Sail and Paddle Club. The club has kayaks, windsurfers, and sailboats that are available to its members. Lessons and weekend trips are offered many times a year.

Farmer’s markets and local produce and seafood stands on both sides of the York River offer local foods and are a great way to network with local community members. Nearby venues display art and hold concerts featuring local and national artists. Live music is regularly accessible at the Crab Deck in Gloucester Point and at Yorktown’s Riverwalk Landing.

Gloucester and Yorktown hold many celebrations of local and national pride. In Gloucester, the Daffodil Festival in spring is a large celebration of Gloucester’s history of flower cultivation. Seafood festivals in Gloucester, Poquoson, and Urbanna celebrate traditional lifestyles centered around the Chesapeake Bay. Yorktown holds wonderful fireworks displays and the VIMS campus at Gloucester Point is a prime location for viewing.

Many cities in Virginia are easily accessible from Gloucester, including Richmond, Williamsburg, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. These cities each provide an array of businesses and cultural and entertainment events throughout the year. Washington, D.C. is a three hour drive and is also accessible by train from Williamsburg. As part of the William & Mary community, School of Marine Science students have access to all of the amenities and events offered at William & Mary. Students have access to Swem Library, the Rec Center, theatric performances, art exhibits, concerts, sporting events and lectures. All SMS students also have a William & Mary email address, through which important information about student requirements and upcoming events are disseminated. Look for “Student Happenings” emails to find out about upcoming events. With a William & Mary ID card, SMS students also have free access to the buildings at Colonial Williamsburg.

Students should refer to the School of Marine Science Quick Reference Guide (accessible via the VIMS Intranet) to learn more about VIMS and local area resources and services.

Housing & Transportation

There is no student housing on the VIMS campus, and most students live in rural Gloucester Point or in surrounding communities. Rental housing is somewhat limited in the Gloucester Point area, but apartments in nearby Gloucester, Mathews, Yorktown, and Newport News are more plentiful if one is willing to commute a short distance by car. One bedroom apartments generally range from $500 to $1000, while multiple bedroom apartments will generally cost about $300 to $500 per occupant. These figures do not include utilities or amenities. Students often elect to share housing in order to keep costs to a minimum. A limited number of apartments for graduate students are available on the Williamsburg campus. Located next to the William & Mary Law School, the Graduate Housing Complex is within walking distance of William & Mary’s main campus and historic Colonial Williamsburg.

Information and application forms can be obtained from the Office of Residence Hall Life located on the main campus (757) 221-4134, or email living@wm.edu.

Recreational Sports

The Recreational Sports Department at William & Mary provides a variety of recreational opportunities to all students, faculty and staff through intramural, sports clubs, informal recreation, fitness/wellness and outdoor programs. Facilities include the Student Recreation Center, Adair Gymnasium, William & Mary Hall and various outdoor facilities. For building hours, intramural schedules, sports club listings, and fitness/wellness services, see the Recreational Sports website at http://www.wm.edu/rec.


All motor vehicles, including motorcycles and motorbikes, parked on VIMS property must be registered with W&M Parking Services. Registration includes the purchase of a William & Mary or VIMS-only parking decal or temporary pass, which must be displayed on or in the vehicle. Illegally parked or unregistered vehicles are subject to citation. The VIMS-only decal is valid only at the William & Mary Hall lot when visiting the main campus in Williamsburg. Students with unresolved citations will not be allowed to register a vehicle on campus until the debt is resolved. Outstanding debt to Parking Services may result in an administrative hold in Banner, which will limit registration for classes or to receive degrees. At the end of the semester outstanding debt will be forwarded to the Bursar’s office and will be posted to student accounts. A full description of campus motor vehicle regulations is contained in a brochure available from Parking Services or online at www.wm.edu/parking. You may also contact Parking Services at telephone (757) 221-4764 or email parked@wm.edu.