This study at sea semester welcomes students from all majors. Elective credit allows students to choose a program track that best meets their academic needs.
Encounter Maori culture, environmental history, and conservation
Explore relationships between people and ocean/coastal environments
Choose from electives to tailor coursework
Sail and conduct research in some of the healthiest waters in the world
Human impact on the oceans is one of the most important and challenging environmental issues of the 21st century, affecting human health, global economic systems, and local cultural practices. Coastal communities are already struggling to cope with sea-level rise, depleted fisheries, loss of habitat, plastics and other pollution, and increased catastrophic storm effects.
Multiple research disciplines converge to examine not only how natural systems work, but also the histories, cultures, and policies of people who live on coasts and islands, while improving communication across disciplines for smarter problem-solving frameworks and more effective solutions.
Our laboratory comprises the ship and the ocean and coast of New Zealand, where innovative policy and conservation efforts compete with other imperatives. New Zealand’s marine ecosystems range from subtropical to subantarctic, deep trenches to shallow banks, and coastal mangrove forests to coral reefs.
Explore the unique environmental and complex cultural influences that shape these ecosystems during an initial shore component in Woods Hole, a sea component in New Zealand waters, and a final workshop shore component in New Zealand. Visit a range of coastal communities and marine and coastal protected areas to examine the relationship between New Zealanders and their ocean environment.
Academic Coursework & Credit
SEA Semester: The Global Ocean carries 17-18 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.
Required Core Courses
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.
Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 credits) Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Explore impacts of European maritime ventures on the societies they contacted in the Atlantic or Pacific, with focus on the resulting social, political, economic, and cultural changes. Investigate responses documented in the post-Colonial literature of indigenous people.
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.
Electives - Choose One or Two
Cultural Landscapes & Seascapes: A Sense of Place (300-level, 3 credits) Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Field-intensive analysis and documentation of dynamic relationships between nature and culture in specific coastal, island, and ocean places. Apply cultural landscape and related interdisciplinary bio-cultural approaches to place-based environmental studies.
Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management (300-level, 3 credits) Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Comparative and issue-driven introduction to managing human uses and conserving coastal and ocean places and resources. Explore concepts of technology, governance, sector and ecosystem management, and marine protected areas through expert content lectures, topical seminars, and field trips.
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.