Academic Credit

Academics

Academic Credit

Each SEA Semester program offers 17-18 semester hour credits through Boston University, SEA's primary academic partner. The SEA Summer Sessions offer between 3 and 11 semester hour credits through Boston University or Hawaii Pacific University depending on the program.

Our programs are designed to fit seamlessly into students' undergraduate coursework as either major, minor, or elective credit. Each SEA Semester program's courses are offered as a set curriculum, so all students enrolled in the same program take the same classes regardless of their major.

Program credit is issued either as direct credit from a student's home institution (if affiliated with SEA) or as transfer credit from Boston University. Exactly how SEA Semester credit transfers is ultimately up to each student's home institution. Therefore, it is important that students work with their academic advisor to determine how the credit will best work for them. That being said, SEA Semester enrolls students from a wide variety of colleges and universities each year, and almost all students are able to successfully transfer the full credit.

If you need assistance with the credit transfer process, download the Academic Program Guide to share with your faculty and/or contact your SEA Admission Counselor with questions. We are often able to direct students to faculty or alumni on their home campus for specific guidance.

Below are the course offerings for each SEA Semester program; the course numbers reflect how they are listed in the Boston University course catalogue.


Course Overview by Program

Colonization to Conservation
in the Caribbean 
(17 credits)

Maritime History & Culture
  4 credits; CAS NS 322
Marine Environmental History
  4 credits; CAS NS 323
Maritime Studies
  3 credits, CAS NS 222
Nautical Science
  3 credits; CAS NS 223
Oceanography
  3 credits; CAS NS 221

Marine Biodiversity
& Conservation 
(18 credits)

Advanced Topics in Biological
   Oceanography: Biodiversity

   4 credits; CAS NS 450
Ocean Science & Public Policy
   3 credits; CAS NS 320
Nautical Science
   3 credits; CAS NS 223
Advanced Ocean Policy
   Research

   4 credits; CAS NS 460
Directed Oceanographic
   Research

   4 credits; XAS NS 325

Oceans & Climate (18 credits)

Oceans in the Global
   Carbon Cycle

   4 credits; CAS NS 321
Ocean Science & Public Policy
   3 credits; CAS NS 320
Nautical Science
   3 credits; CAS NS 223
Advanced Oceanographic Field Methods
   4 credits; XAS NS 324
Directed Oceanographic
   Research

   4 credits; XAS NS 325

Ocean Exploration (17 credits)
not offered in 2014/2015

Maritime Studies
  3 credits, CAS NS 222
Nautical Science
  3 credits, CAS NS 223
Oceanography
  3 credits, CAS NS 221
• Oceanographic Field Methods
   4 credits; XAS NS 225
• Practical Oceanographic Research
   4 credits; XAS NS 226

Summer:
Transatlantic Crossing 
(3-4 credits)

Leadership in a Dynamic
   Environment

   3 credits; CAS NS 329
- OR -
Practical Oceanographic
   Research

   4 credits; CAS NS 226

Summer:
Historic Seaports
of Western Europe 
(3-4 credits)

Maritime History & Culture
  4 credits; CAS NS 322
- OR -
Leadership in a Dynamic
   Environment

   3 credits; CAS NS 329

Summer:
Aloha `Aina: People & Nature
in the Hawaiian Islands 
(6 credits)

Marine Resource Management
   3 credits; MARS 2100*
Ocean Environment of the
   Pacific Islands

   3 credits; MARS 2110*

*Denotes Hawaii Pacific University course

Summer:
Protecting the Phoenix Islands 
(11 credits)

The Ocean & Global Change
   4 credits; CAS NS 326
Toward a Sustainable Ocean:
   Conservation & Management

   3 credits; CAS NS 328
Advanced Ocean Policy
   Research

   4 credits; CAS NS 460    
- OR -
   Directed Oceanographic
   Research

   4 credits; XAS NS 325

Sustainability in Polynesian
Island Cultures & Ecosystems 

(17 credits)

Maritime History & Culture
  4 credits, CAS NS 322
Marine Environmental History
  4 credits, CAS NS 323
Maritime Studies
  3 credits, CAS NS 222
Nautical Science
  3 credits, CAS NS 223
Oceanography
  3 credits, CAS NS 221

The Global Ocean (17-18 credits)

Core:
Maritime History & Culture
   4 credits, CAS NS 322
The Ocean & Global Change
   4 credits; CAS NS 326
Leadership in a Dynamic
   Environment

   3 credits; CAS NS 329

Electives (Choose Two):
Toward a Sustainable Ocean:
   Conservation & Management

   3 credits; CAS NS 328
Data Communication &
   Visualization

   3 credits; CAS NS 330
Cultural Landscapes &
   Seascapes: A Sense of Place

   3 credits; CAS NS 327
Directed Oceanographic
   Research 

   4 credits; XAS NS 325
   - OR -
   Practical Oceanographic
   Research

   4 credits; CAS NS 226


Core Course Descriptions

Advanced Ocean Policy Research (400-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Junior standing or consent of instructor.  
Advanced policy research focusing on a topic of current importance (may include fisheries, biodiversity, marine spatial planning, and cultural heritage). Emphasis on theoretical concepts, research methods, and communication skills. Requires critical review paper, original research, final report and presentation.

Advanced Oceanographic Field Methods (300-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Tools and techniques of the oceanographer. Participate in shipboard laboratory operations to gain experience with deployment of modern oceanographic equipment and collection of scientific data at sea. Emphasis on sampling plan design, advanced laboratory sample processing methods, and robust data analysis.

Advanced Topics in Biological Oceanography (400-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
In-depth treatment of a single topic in biological oceanography.  Extensive review of classical and contemporary literature.  Introduction and practice of current laboratory techniques.  Oral presentation and written research proposal required.  Topics may include marine plankton ecology, marine biodiversity, and satellite oceanography.

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.

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.

Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Employ methods and sources of historians and social scientists. Examine the role of human societies in coastal and open ocean environmental change. Issues include resource conservation, overfishing, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.

Marine Resource Management:  Social, Ecological, and Cultural Dimensions (300-level, 3 credits)

Note: this course carries Hawaii Pacific University credit & is only offered in Summer I Pacific: Aloha ‘Aina.
Coastal communities throughout the world are highly reliant on ocean ecosystems, and threats to ocean resources places at risk the livelihoods, cultures, and economies of coastal people. In this course, students will develop an understanding of the key threats to ocean resources such as land-based pollution, overfishing, and climate change adaptation, and critically examine innovative solutions to these threats. Students will gain a deep understanding of cultural resource management approaches, and their application in modern policy contexts, providing a transferable skillset for emerging ocean leaders and professionals.
 

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.

Maritime Studies (200-level, 3 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Relationship between humans and the sea. History, literature and art of our maritime heritage. Ships as agents of contact change. Political and economic challenges of contemporary marine affairs. Destination-specific focus.

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.

Ocean Environment of the Pacific Islands (200-level, 3 credits)

Note: this course carries Hawaii Pacific University credit & is only offered in Summer I Pacific: Aloha ‘Aina.
An introduction to the oceanography and the technologies for operating at sea. The concepts of navigation (piloting, celestial, and electronic), and the physics of sail are taught from their bases in astronomy, mathematics, and physics. During classroom instruction and while standing watch, students learn how to operate basic oceanographic equipment, the methodologies involved in the collection, reduction, and analysis of oceanographic data, and the attendant operations of sailing an oceanographic research vessel.
 

Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Culture, history, political systems and science can shape ocean policy. Practice current strategies to build, analyze, and communicate about diverse policy issues. Examine the power, use and limitations of science and the scientist's voice in determining ocean policy.

Oceanographic Field Methods (200-level, 4 credits)

(Previously titled Practical Oceanography I)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Exposure to basic oceanographic sampling methods. Participate in shipboard laboratory operations to gain experience with deployment of modern oceanographic equipment and collection of scientific data at sea. Emphasis on practicing consistent methods and ensuring data fidelity.

Oceanography (200-level, 3 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Explore how interconnected ocean characteristics (bathymetry, seawater chemistry, biological diversity) and processes (plate tectonics, surface and deep-water circulation, biological production) shape global patterns across multiple scales. Discuss destination-specific environmental issues and hot topics in marine research.

Oceans in the Global Carbon Cycle (300-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor. 
Ocean as carbon source and sink. Examine global-scale flux patterns and carbon storage mechanisms, from solubility/biological pumps to geo-engineering. Explore buffering capacity and mitigation strategies in the face of anthropogenic carbon cycle perturbations. Oral presentation and written research proposal required.

Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 credits)

(Previously titled Practical Oceanography II)
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.

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.

Global Ocean Electives

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.

Data Communication & Visualization (300-level, 3 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Information visualization strategies and associated software, emphasizing communication to diverse audiences. Select between geospatial (GIS) and qualitative data foci. Develop graphics and/or multimedia products supporting research projects in concurrent courses. Compile iterative digital portfolio.

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.