SEA Semester Undergraduate Study Abroad Programs

Video and Photos

SEA Semester students
SEA Semester students
One of the SEA Semester student sailing vessels
One of the SEA Semester student sailing vessels
The Sea Semester Illustration Lab
The Sea Semester Illustration Lab


The importance of understanding the ocean is more important now than it has ever been. SEA Semester helps students to achieve that understanding through studies in Nautical Sciences, Oceanography, and Maritime Studies.

The program is broken up into two components, with the first starting at our campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. During this six-week shore component, students prepare for their research cruise in the second part of the trip and design their own research projects to be conducted at sea. During the research cruise, students take on the roles of both the scientific team and the sailing crew on one of SEA's research vessels. Students navigate the state-of-the-art vessel by the stars, analyze oceanographic samples, and visit foreign, less-traveled-to ports.

Choose from nine SEA Semester programs offered during the fall and spring.

  • Based in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
  • Students are active crew members participating in all science and deck operations at sea aboard one of our two custom designed and build sailing research vessels.
  • No sailing experience necessary.
  • Open to all majors, from all over the world.
  • Transferable academic credit from Boston University.

Questions & Answers


based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
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Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

I went to PIPA on S-287 in summer of 2019. This trip has had a serious impact on me, and I am not sure I will ever experience anything like it. If you are at all into the outdoors, the ocean or communal living, sailing with SEA is a great experience. I can’t speak to a social scene, because for six weeks I saw no one but the 40 people living on Kanton in Kiribati and the 35 people on the SSV Robert C. Seaman’s, but the people I met on this boat have become extremely close friends, and the things I’ve seen are unlike anything else. I learned so much about the kind of life I want to lead, and am so thankful to SEA for making this kind of adventure accessible to students. I wouldn’t recommend this to folks who are not okay with being constantly active or uncomfortable, as sailing can get really crazy, and the watches make for an intense schedule.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The six weeks on the boat go super quickly. Don’t waste time and appreciate every moment, even the ones that aren’t picturesque.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

SEA Semester: The Best Three Months of My Life

Every part of this program was well worth the price. The staff were great, the classes were interesting and informative (for someone with little science background), the facilities were phenomenal...there really was nothing I did not like. I completed this program after college due to scheduling conflicts, and I am so glad I did, because I can say with confidence that I have never been happier than during those two months at sea. Granted, if you get sea sick easily, you might not enjoy it as much as I did. But I highly recommend you give it a shot if you have any interest at all in sailing.

The best part of this program is that you are the crew. You may be a student, with classes and homework, but you are also responsible for the function of the ship. It is not easy, but it is a hands-on learning experience that will teach you a lot about yourself as well as the topics covered in class. I want nothing more than to go back to French Polynesia to sail once more. I did Semester at Sea as well during my college years, and while it was informative and fun circumnavigating the globe, it was not nearly as rewarding as actually steering the ship, navigating using nautical charts, and setting sails.

An absolute ten out of ten adventure from start to finish!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish it had been longer. I had a fantastic time learning all about sailing, oceanography, nautical science, and marine cultures, but it was all compressed into such a short period