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Program Description:

SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity and Conservation

Cramer ship

SEA Semester (SEA) is an educational adventure in a study-abroad program, open to students in all majors, that takes you to the deep ocean on a traditional sailing vessel to learn about the sea. The semester long program is for 12-weeks with half taking place on shore and the other half at sea. The interdisciplinary program begins in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, one of the world’s great centers for ocean research. There you will study the chemistry, biology, physics, and geology of the oceans and you will design your own research project that you will carry out at sea. You will learn the history and culture of mariners who for centuries have gone to sea, an ancient tradition that you will join. You will discuss the major policy issues that will be tomorrow’s headlines. And you will learn what it requires to take a vessel under sail safely to the deep ocean and to international ports.

After six weeks on shore, you will be prepared to go to sea. You and your classmates will join the crew on one of their 135-foot vessels, in the Atlantic/Caribbean. You will participate in all of the duties the ship requires, as mariners have done for generations before you. Every day, you will be given more responsibility as your skills increase until, towards the end, you are running the ship. SEA voyages follow various cruise tracks depending on the research focus and weather conditions. There are typically two port stops with one outside the United States.

Program Details

  • Minimum GPA: 2.75
  • SU required course load: 12-19 credits for undergraduate students
  • No language prerequisite
  • Science prerequisite: minimum of three lab science courses, including one at the 300-level or higher (or SEA faculty permission)

Program Calendar
Varies per cruise track

This semester attracts upper-level science students interested in complementing marine science research with the wisdom, concepts and skills necessary to effectively operate within the world of public policy. Engage in real-time, real-world research related to biodiversity and conservation efforts in this integrated semester that applies modern biodiversity research to place-based resource management in the coastal and open ocean. Use cutting-edge technology to collect and analyze data. Close out your experience with a formal conference with a panel of scientific and policy experts to showcase your project. 

You will earn up to 17 credits for your semester. The semester program consists of three, 3-credit courses on shore and two 3 or 4-credit courses at sea.  All courses are taught in English.

For a list of courses pre-approved for SU credit, please click on the "Courses Offered" link at the top of this page. There is no guarantee courses on the list will be offered during your semester abroad, so please refer to the World Partner website for the most up-to-date course offerings. If you want to take a course that is not already approved, Syracuse Abroad will assist in obtaining approval from the appropriate SU academic department.

At Woods Hole, you will live in one of five fully furnished cottages. In preparation for going to sea, you will function as a team with your roommates and be responsible for the housekeeping, shopping, and cooking. While you are at sea, you will live onboard the ship.

Program Cost
You will pay SU tuition and a program fee. You may apply all SU financial aid except work-study. The program fee includes: pre-departure meeting, international travel insurance, orientation, room and prepaid grocery card on shore, and room and board at sea. For the program fee and further explanation of estimated costs, please see the most recent financial planning budget here: SEASemester Marine Biodiversity.pdf.

?Cara Hardy, Counselor,

Apply Now
Applying to this program requires completion of both the Syracuse Abroad and SEA application.

Syracuse University

SEA Semester
  • Complete SEA’s application.
  • Follow instructions from SEA for supplemental documents.
SEA Semester


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2022 10/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission 01/02/2022 01/02/2022
NOTE: Dates are tentative and subject to change.

** 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.