SEA focuses on the coastal and offshore marine environment around Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
To a large extent, the fate of the oceans determines the fate of the planet. The sea is so complex that it is impossible to understand and appreciate from the perspective of a single academic discipline. The SEA Summer Session takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines data and insights from oceanography, the humanities and social sciences, and public policy with practical skills in nautical science so students can develop a broad understanding of the sea. This knowledge is increasingly important today, when society is becoming more aware of how the world’s oceans affect the operations of the planet, from climate patterns to the origins of life itself.
During the 4-week shore component, intensive academic coursework prepares students for their research cruise. With full access to SEA faculty and the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Marine Biological Laboratory Library, students design original research projects to be completed at sea. Maritime Studies provides a wider historical and social perspective on the impact of humans on the world’s oceans, and on the experience of going to sea. Nautical Science introduces practical seamanship skills and the theoretical background necessary to safely operate a tall ship on the open ocean.
As full, working members of the scientific team and sailing crew on one of SEA’s state-of-the-art research vessels, students manage shipboard operations, navigate by the stars, analyze oceanographic samples, and visit foreign ports off the beaten path. Most importantly, students learn to challenge themselves and develop new leadership, teamwork, and research skills.