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Ocean Exploration

SEA Semester: Ocean Exploration

Study three-quarters of the world in just one semester… the oceans cover more than 70% of our planet, yet we know more about outer space than we do about our own waters. Spend one semester exploring the global ocean through multiple lenses with students from a variety of academic backgrounds. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and take your learning out of the classroom and into the field. You’ll never look at the world in the same way again.

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Overview: Fall 2016 | New Zealand

Voyage Map

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Application Deadline: Program Closed

What?

After an introductory 6 week shore component, students will board the SSV Robert C. Seamans as full, working members of the scientific team and sailing crew. The next 6 weeks will be spent at sea managing shipboard operations, navigating by the stars, analyzing oceanographic samples, while sailing in the coastal waters of New Zealand. Perhaps most importantly, students will learn to challenge themselves and will develop new skills in leadership, teamwork, and research.

Where?

Cruise Track: Auckland, NZ to Auckland, NZ
Destinations: Auckland > Bay of Islands > Kermadec Islands > Napier > Auckland

Port stops subject to change.

When?

September 26 – December 21, 2016

Sept. 26 – Nov. 4: On shore in Woods Hole
Nov. 13 – Dec. 21: At sea

Who Should Apply?

This semester attracts students interested in all academic disciplines who want to gain an in-depth understanding of our world’s oceans. Gap year and winter start students who have graduated from high school but not yet matriculated at a college or university are welcome to apply.

Program Description

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Understanding the oceans is an essential component of appreciating how the world works and how we relate to it as human beings. The sea is so complex that it is impossible to comprehend from the perspective of a single academic discipline. With that in mind, this interdisciplinary program combines insights from oceanography, the humanities, and the social sciences with practical skills in seamanship, allowing students to deepen their awareness of and appreciation for the ocean through hands-on research and personal experience. In this semester, students will address and answer some of the most pressing global questions related to the ocean environment.

During an initial 6-week shore component in Woods Hole, academic coursework will prepare students for their research voyage. With full access to SEA faculty, guest lecturers, and the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Marine Biological Laboratory Library, students will design original research projects to be completed at sea. Maritime Studies coursework will complement this research by offering a wider historical and social perspective on the impact of humans on the world’s oceans, and on the experience of going to sea. Finally, Nautical Science coursework will introduce practical seamanship skills and the theoretical background necessary to for students safely operate a tall ship at sea.

As full, working members of the scientific team and sailing crew aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, students will then spend the next six weeks at sea managing shipboard operations, navigating by the stars, analyzing oceanographic samples, while sailing in the South Pacific Ocean. Perhaps most importantly, students will learn to challenge themselves and will develop new skills in leadership, teamwork, and research.

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Academic Credit

SEA Semester: Ocean Exploration carries 17 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Courses Descriptions

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.

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.

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.

Syllabi

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"When I applied for SEA Semester I knew that I was signing up for a semester unlike most study abroad programs. What I did not expect was to have my entire world turned upside down by a plethora of new and exciting experiences."

Timothy Bateman
University of Connecticut
Marine Sciences Major