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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Multi-Country, Multi-Country
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: SEA Semester 
  • Restrictions: UNCW applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 04/01/2020 ** 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.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Program Type: Study Abroad
Provider: SEA Semester Field of Study: Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geology, Marine Biology
Minimum GPA: 2.5 High Impact Experiences: Research
Class Standing: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Advisor: Kathy McDaniel
Program Description:
SEA Header 2018

Who Should Apply?

This study at sea program is ideal for any undergraduate with an interest in the oceans. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Description

Students will have the rare opportunity to contribute to a growing body of knowledge about the susceptibility of remote coral reefs to climate change: an important question, since they support some of the richest diversity of species on the planet.

Unlike all other SEA Semester study abroad at sea programs, Pacific Reef Expedition does *not* begin with a shore component at our Woods Hole, Massachusetts campus. Therefore, the program requires participation in and successful completion of four online training modules (live webinars, discussion forums, and associated assignments) prior to sailing.

After completing the initial online coursework and upon joining the SSV Robert C. Seamans in Tahiti, students will set sail for Hawaii, conducting snorkel-based photographic and visual surveys of the local corals, fish, and invertebrates found among three distinct island atolls along the way. Comparative research of environments that have experienced wide variations in development— Caroline Island (none), Rangiroa (moderate) and Kiritimati (extreme)— will allow students to document and compare the potential effects climate change. Data collected during this voyage could help shed new light on the ability of reefs to endure and adapt to global climate change.

Coursework in Practical Oceanographic Research and Nautical Science offers the opportunity to carry out oceanographic research projects while developing leadership and sailing skills across the Equatorial Pacific. In small teams, students will examine the richness and variety of marine life in coral reef environments at different locations along the cruise track. No science prerequisites – see what field research is all about!

All students will participate as full, working member of the scientific team and sailing crew aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans.

Academic Coursework & Credit

SEA Semester Summer: Pacific Reef Expedition carries 7 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Course Descriptions

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.

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.