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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Type of Program: Study Abroad Area of Study: Biochemistry, Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Marine Science, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Sciences
Language of Instruction: English Class Eligibility: 2 Sophomore, 3 Junior, 4 Senior
Program Description:
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Who Should Apply?

This program is designed for students of any major who are interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of our world’s oceans while acquiring first hand experience in field-research and sailing aboard a tall ship. Students earn 11 semester-hour credits for successful completion.

Program Description

The SEA Semester Summer Session begins with a 14-day shore component in California. During this time you’ll undertake coursework with SEA faculty that will prepare you academically and practically for the second part of your experience at sea. You’ll develop a research project, explore the connections between humans and the ocean, and learn the principles necessary to crew a tall ship. You will develop and practice scientific survey skills in local environments, and learn about ocean conservancy efforts off the U.S. west coast and in international Pacific waters. During this shore component you will also work to establish a known COVID-free cohort who will join the SSV Robert C. Seamans.

Following the shore component, you will board the SSV Robert C. Seamans for an 41-day voyage sailing out of San Diego, CA. This voyage traverses the western seaboard of the United States off California, exploring marine biology, chemical and physical oceanographic processes, and marine plastic debris in the near-coastal environments of California and further offshore within the Northern Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Students will study the California Current System, upwelling along the continental margin, and processes within submarine canyons that provide deep-water access relatively close to shore. Once on board, students become working members of the crew - one of the hallmarks of all SEA programs. Commitment to the successful functioning of a team, in a supporting role or as a leader, is an essential element of the sea component as students learn the operations of the vessel on deck — steering by compass and by the stars, setting and striking sails, plotting the ship’s position using modern technology and traditional celestial navigation tools — and in the lab — deploying nets to catch marine plants and animals, sending sensing equipment hundreds of meters below the surface, listening to the underwater soundscape to observe dolphin and whale behavior, and otherwise contributing to ongoing research projects focused on human impacts on marine ecosystems.

Academic Coursework & Credit

SEA Semester: SEA Summer Session carries 11 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Be an effective leader while leveraging the individual strengths of a team. Use leadership theory and case studies to understand how decisions affect outcomes. Participate as an active member of a ship’s crew, progressively assuming full leadership roles.


Nautical Science (200-level, 3 credits)
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.

The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Ocean ecosystem change in the anthropocene: warming, acidification, fisheries depletion, and pollution. Review principles of circulation, seawater chemistry, nutrient dynamics, and biological production to understand causes and consequences of change. Conduct field measurements for contribution to time-series datasets.

Your Choice of Research Courses:

Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 credits)
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.

-- OR --

Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Introduction to oceanographic research. Design a collaborative, hypothesis-driven project following the scientific process. Collect original data. Conduct analysis and interpretation, then prepare a written report and oral presentation.



Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2022 04/01/2022 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.