Ocean Exploration: Wonders of the Deep Blue

HOW TO APPLY

FINANCIAL AID & COSTS

PROGRAM BLOGS

CONTACT ADMISSIONS

APPLY NOW

Study three-quarters of the world in just one semester…

The oceans cover more than 70% of our planet, yet we know more about outer space than we do about our own waters. Spend one semester exploring the global ocean through multiple lenses with students from a variety of academic backgrounds. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and take your learning out of the classroom and into the field. You’ll never look at the world in the same way again.

FALL 2022: August 22, 2022 – November 12, 2022
View program information for Spring 2023
Dolphins at bow
OE 2022

Fall 2022 Voyage:

Cruise Track: Woods Hole, MA to St. Croix, USVI

Planned Port Stops (subject to covid conditions): New York,  Baltimore, St. Maarten and St. John.

August 22, 2022 – October 1, 2022: Shore component in Woods Hole

October 3, 2022 – November 12, 2022: At sea

Program Highlights

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the world’s oceans
  • Make a long, blue-water sailing passage on a sustainably powered research vessel
  • Take your learning out of the classroom and into the field
  • Develop new skills in leadership, teamwork, and research
  • View full program description

Academic Credit

Ocean Exploration carries 17 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.  View course descriptions & syllabi

Who Should Apply?

This program is open to matriculated college students of all majors as well as gap year/winter start students who have graduated from high school but not yet matriculated at a college or university. This program offers a full semester of college credit.

SEA Admissions and Financial Aid staff members offer individual advising and assistance to help students complete the application process. We encourage you to contact one of us to learn if SEA is right for you.

CONTACT ADMISSIONS
SSV Corwith Cramer
Working on the boat

“In the little amount that we have been in the program, we have been sponges absorbing incredible amounts of knowledge. The challenges we face, the hard work, the different work hours, the classes, the research projects and the boat life during our SEA Semester are all incredible life and educational lessons, which I believe will bring us far as ocean advocates and scientists.”

Mareike Duffing Romero, Humboldt State University

Program Description

Experience the Deep Blue – Voyage on a cruise track on which the closest human beings may very well be on the International Space Station!

Understanding the oceans is an essential component of appreciating how the world works and how we relate to it as human beings. The sea is so complex that it is impossible to comprehend from the perspective of a single academic discipline. With that in mind, this interdisciplinary program combines insights from oceanography, the humanities, and the social sciences with practical skills in seamanship, allowing students to deepen their awareness of and appreciation for both the near coastal environment and the open ocean through hands-on research and personal experience. In this semester, students will address and answer some of the most pressing global questions related to the last true wilderness on the planet – the open ocean “Deep Blue” environment.

During an initial six-week shore component in Woods Hole, academic coursework will prepare students for their research voyage. With full access to SEA faculty, guest lecturers, and the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Marine Biological Laboratory Library, students will design original research projects to be completed during the open ocean crossing. Maritime Studies coursework will complement this research by offering a wider historical, economic and social perspective on the impact of humans on the world’s oceans, and on the experience of going to sea.

Finally, Nautical Science coursework will introduce practical seamanship skills and the theoretical background necessary to for students safely operate a tall ship at sea, hundreds of miles from land. As full, working members of the scientific team and sailing crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer, students will then spend the next six weeks at sea managing shipboard operations, navigating by the stars, analyzing oceanographic samples, while making a blue-ocean passage from the North Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. Perhaps most importantly, students will learn to challenge themselves and will develop new skills in leadership, teamwork, and research.

Students on ship
Students on ship

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
The ships and people who sailed these deep blue ocean environments have acted as agents of contact change and served as inspiration for countless instances of art and literature. This course discusses the political and economic forces that have shaped historical and contemporary marine affairs. From cultural contact to war to conservation, the relationship between humans and the sea has been at times tempestuous. An appreciation for the humanities will frame your own ocean crossing and enable you to experience the voyage in a more profound way.

Syllabus

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
To prepare for this open ocean crossing, hundreds of miles from land, you will learn the fundamentals of navigation, safety, weather, sailing theory, and engineering. There are no passengers on this deep blue passage, so Nautical Science will prepare you to be an active crewmember.

Syllabus

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
The deep blue ocean environment is home to countless scientific marvels – to appreciate them you need a background in fundamental oceanography. This course explores the physics of ocean currents and weather systems, the chemistry of seawater and marine life, the geology of the ocean floor, and the biological wonders of near coastal and deep ocean ecosystems.

Syllabus

(Previously titled Practical Oceanography I)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Learn about the most current oceanographic equipment, techniques, and methodology to become an active member of the shipboard science community. Explore traditional oceanographic equipment and scientific methods and some of the newest wonders on the frontier of genetic sampling techniques.

Syllabus

(Previously titled Practical Oceanography II)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Design a collaborative project or experiment driven by your intellectual curiosity. Working as a team, create a hypothesis, collect data, analyze results, and present your findings about the oceanographic topic of your choice.

Syllabus

Life on Shore

At the beginning of every SEA program, up to 25 students from various institutions across the U.S. — and often the world — come together on SEA’s residential campus in Falmouth, Massachusetts, on scenic Cape Cod, just down the road from the village of Woods Hole, a world-renowned hub of oceanographic research and discovery.

During this initial shore component, you’ll undertake coursework with SEA faculty that will prepare you personally, academically, and practically for the second part of your experience at sea. You’ll develop an original research project, explore the connections between humans and the ocean, and learn the principles necessary to crew a tall ship. You’ll also have access to some of the world’s foremost scientists and policymakers addressing the leading environmental questions of today.

Living in fully furnished private cottages on our campus, you’ll share all of the responsibilities of community living including grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. From day one, your class will begin building skills in teamwork, communication, and collaboration, all of which will prepare you for the demands of living and working together at sea. Everyone will play a role in meal planning, provisioning (each house gets a pre-paid grocery card on a weekly basis), and meal prep, which is a great opportunity to hone your organizational and budgeting skills – not to mention putting your culinary skills to the test!

Morning and afternoon classes take place a short walk away from the cottages in the main academic building, the Madden Center. This facility also hosts the library, computer lab, science lab, faculty offices, and is home to the SEA administrative offices. A midday break allows time for lunch, a pickup game of frisbee, soccer, or volleyball, or a run along the local beach. Then it’s back to the classroom. The course schedule is intensive, with academic activities scheduled from roughly 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. Evenings and weekends are usually free, though sometimes community activities are organized by your faculty or the Head Resident on campus.

The shore component is one of the hallmarks of SEA programs. It prepares you to be effective in your roles as researcher, crewmember, and shipmate at sea, and equips you with the tools to embark upon a successful ocean voyage.

C-300 Class at Woods Hole
Volleyball on campus
Student at helm

Life at Sea

While the shore component is one of the hallmarks of SEA programs – providing important preparation for a successful open ocean voyage – not surprisingly, students look forward to the day they ship out to the deep blue.

As your time in Woods Hole comes to an end, you’ll feel a mix of excitement and perhaps some trepidation as well. You and your shipmates may ask, “Can we really do this?” Because of the intentional design of all SEA programs, you can be confident that the answer is, “Yes!”

The sea component of SEA programs immediately immerses you in applying practically what you have just learned in the classroom on shore. As you set sail, you take on three roles: student, crewmember, and researcher. Life at sea is full as you take ocean measurements and samples; participate in classes; stand a watch as part of an around-the-clock schedule, on deck and in lab; and assist with navigation, engineering, meal preparation, and cleaning. On this open ocean voyage, you will get to experience the thrill of being hundreds of miles from shore, with nothing but an unbroken horizon and the wonders of the deep blue all around you.

Privacy and sleep are both limited aboard ship, yet there is always time for personal reflection. Teamwork takes precedence as you assume increasing levels of responsibility for the well-being of your shipmates and the ship itself. “Ship, shipmate, self” will be your new mantra, representing a shift in priorities for all on board. A phased leadership approach over the course of your time at sea will allow you to gradually assume the majority of shipboard responsibilities under the watchful eye of the professional crew. Near the end of every program, each student will lead a complete watch cycle as part of a rewarding final capstone experience.

When you step off one of our ships, you’ll take away academic credit, self-confidence, lifelong friends, a toolbox of skills and knowledge, and a sense of direction that will serve you far beyond your voyage.

APPLY NOW

Latest News

2022-07-22T18:05:45-05:00
Go to Top