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SEA Semester Field Programs in Marine & Environmental Studies


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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This program is designed especially for environmental science and biochemistry students but may be of interest to students with many different majors and career aspirations. SEA Semester is based at Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Students spend part of their time in academic courses and cultural immersion on shore and part of their time at sea, conducting experiments and learning how to operate a ship. Since 1971, SEA has equipped students with the tools to become environmentally literate leaders prepared to address the defining issue of the twenty-first century: the human impact on the environment.

SEA is a global teaching, learning and research community dedicated to the exploration, understanding and stewardship of marine and maritime environments. SEA empowers students with life-changing sea voyages of scientific and cultural discovery, academic rigor and personal growth. The program features an interdisciplinary curriculum and dynamic leadership-development experience, at sea aboard tall ships and on shore. Students begin the program with an intensive shore component at Woods Hole, MA, before joining one of SEA's sailing research vessels in the Atlantic, Caribbean, New Zealand or Polynesia.

There are many programs from which you may choose:

SEA Semester: Caribbean Reef Expedition - visit several Caribbean islands to chronicle the state of their coral reef ecosystems in response to environmental change and human impacts (October - December)

SEA Semester: Climate and Society - Explore the intersection of climate change and human society:  Survey the social and cultural impacts of climate change while engaging with stakeholders, community leaders, and policymakers addressing these issues at the local and global levels. Pursue independent social science research on shore in New Zealand before embarking on a tall ship sailing voyage throughout its waters.

SEA Semester: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean - explore the legacy of European colonialism in the history, culture, and marine environment of the Caribbean (January - March)

SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation - apply modern biodiversity research to place-based resource management in the coastal and open ocean (designed for upper-level science students, with prerequisites) (March - June)

SEA Semester: Ocean Exploration - the original SEA program, open to any student interested in gaining an in-depth understanding of the world's oceans (September - November)

SEA Semester: Oceans & Climate - an upper-level research & policy program in which students examine the role of the oceans in one of the most significant scientific dilemmas of our time: global climate change (designed for upper-level science students, with prerequisites) (February - May) - note that this is a term program that doesn't fit our academic calendar  - students who choose this may be short 3 credits at the send of winter-spring terms.

SEA Semester: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems - visit several South Pacific islands to confront challenging questions of colonial conflict, cultural identity, and environmental justice (September - November)

SEA Semester: The Global Ocean - explore human impacts on the ocean and coastal environment through this place-based program, with elective options (September - December; January - March)

Credit: 3 Knox credits for a successfully completed term

Note that the SEA Semester programs are unusually compressed and intensive.  Beginning in the Fall of 2017, SEA Semester and Knox have an agreement that the programs will be term programs, with term tuition and a total of three Knox credits transferring in for successful program completion.  Always check the program dates carefully on the SEA Semester website.

Program advisor: Professor Stuart Allison

Learn more about SEA Semester Field Programs in Marine & Environmental Studies.

Click here for more information about the application process, program selection, and more!

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022