Oceans and Climate






  • Embark on a blue water voyage from Fiji to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Deepen your understanding of the ocean’s role in climate dynamics
  • Explore topics in climate science through hands-on oceanography

FALL 2023:
August 21, 2023 – November 15, 2023
Sofia and Vuk taking shots of the sun

Fall 2023 Voyage:

Cruise Track: Fiji to Aotearoa New Zealand

Planned Port Stops (subject to covid conditions): TBD

August 21, 2023 – September 23, 2023: Shore component in Woods Hole

September 23, 2023 – November 7, 2023: At sea

November 8, 2023 – November 15, 2023: Shore component in Aotearoa New Zealand

Program Highlights

  • Conduct baseline climate research
  • Interpret findings for a broad audience
  • Make a long, blue-water sailing passage
  • Interface with leading climate science and communication experts in Woods Hole
  • View full program description

Academic Credit

Oceans & Climate carries 18 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.  View course descriptions & syllabi

Who Should Apply?

Oceans and Climate is ideal for upper-level science students to help them develop their understanding of the ocean’s role in climate dynamics and to build their tool kit in research, data visualization, and science communication. Students interested in exploring the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and climate system, as well as investigating the history, challenges and uncertainties of climate-related policies from local to international are encouraged to apply.

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.

SSV Robert C. Seamans

“I couldn’t be more proud of my shipmates, and how far we have all come from the first day on the ship. We have grown as a unit to be a successful, powerful team that can conquer any challenge.

Jaeger Hodge, University of Southern California

Program Description

Understanding climate change and its associated impacts is the critical scientific challenge of today, and the timely application of this knowledge to public policy is crucial to the future of our planet. Our oceans are at the forefront of these changes but remain some of the least understood parts of the global climate system.

This intensive semester invites upper-level science students to develop their understanding of the oceans’ role in climate dynamics and to build their tool-kit in research, data visualization, and science communication; skills all climate scientists must have in order to be effective advocates for our oceans.

You will conduct baseline climate research on this long sailing passage, and the potential projects open for investigation are diverse. Our voyage comprises an extended blue-water transect from Fiji to Aotearoa New Zealand, allowing you to explore a range of ecosystems each characterized by distinctive biological communities and complex and dynamic current systems. The transfer of carbon through the coupled ocean/atmosphere system is influenced by many attributes we can investigate, so our voyage track becomes an excellent natural laboratory for studying almost all aspects of oceanic carbon cycling. You’ll leave this program with skills that will put you ahead in the field of climate change research and communication.

Skills Gained

  • Primary literature analysis
  • Proposal development
  • Data interpretation and visualization
  • Communication of science for the general public

Featured Blog

Lexi Valachovic, C-Watch, Cornell University

I can’t believe this journey is almost over; I am writing this with only 5 days left together on this boat. As sad as I am that I will soon have to leave this 134-foot boat that I now call home, we have made the most of our last few days.

The past 4 days we spent at dock in Raiatea. This was a huge change from the bustling city of Papeete. Morgan, Stella, Ali and I started exploring the town. Of course, we started walking through the grocery store (my favorite place to go at any new place I visit). Then, we just walked through the town in awe of the beauty and how nice the locals are, always greeting us with a joyful “ia ora na”.

We found so many fruit trees, coconut, mango, breadfruit, etc., and so many flowers (always tucking one behind our ear!) Then we made our way to the water. You would think we would be sick of it because we just spent a month straight without land in sight, but it never gets old. It was crazy to see the different colors throughout the ocean – the blue water in the distance, brown water by the shore, and green moving throughout the two. It was such a nice day of just walking and stretching our legs, something we hadn’t had the chance to do in a while.

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.

Ocean as carbon source and sink. Examine global-­‐scale flux patterns and carbon storage mechanisms, from solubility/biological pumps to geo-engineering. Explore buffering capacity and mitigation strategies in the face of anthropogenic carbon cycle perturbations. Oral presentation and written research proposal required. Syllabus Oceans-in-the-Global-Carbon-Cycle

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Junior standing or consent of instructor.
Seminar focusing on communication skills development for environmental scholars. Introduces the field of environmental communication, examines environmental attitudes and behaviors, and develops a toolkit of communications strategies. Includes projects in data visualization, multi-media presentation and digital storytelling.

Sample Syllabus

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Learn the fundamentals of sailing ship operation, in preparation for direct application at sea. Navigation (piloting, celestial and electronic), weather, engineering systems, safety, and sail theory. Participate as an active member of the ship’s crew on an offshore voyage.


Prereq: Admission to SEA. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Tools and techniques of the oceanographer. Participate in shipboard laboratory operations to gain experience with deployment of modern oceanographic equipment and collection of scientific data at sea. Emphasis on sampling plan design, advanced laboratory sample processing methods, and robust data analysis.


Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Design and conduct original oceanographic research. Collect data and analyze samples. Compile results in peer-reviewed manuscript format and share during oral or poster presentation session. Emphasis on development of research skills and written/oral communication abilities.


Syllabus for previous years are available for review. Detailed course content for future programs is dependent on cruise track, seasons, port stops, current events and faculty, and will be available closer to the program start date.

Go to Top