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SEA Summer Session

Transatlantic Crossing

Cross an entire ocean... Join the ranks of world-class sailors and pre-19th century world travelers. You will cross the second-largest ocean from North America to Ireland in this exciting and adventurous 4-week summer program. Choose from coursework in either leadership or oceanographic research while making the crossing, a culturally significant event given the role it played in the expansion of Western Civilization to the New World.

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Overview: Summer 2016 | Ireland

Voyage Map

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Application Deadline: April 1, 2016


This program will explore the shifting state of the North Atlantic marine ecosystem on an offshore, transatlantic voyage.


Cruise Track: Woods Hole, MA to Cork, Ireland
Destinations: Woods Hole > Cork, Ireland (Transatlantic, open ocean passage)


May 26 – June 30, 2016

May 26 – June 2: On shore in Woods Hole
June 3 – June 30: At Sea

Who Should Apply?

This program is ideal for any undergraduate with an interest in the oceans. Students may choose a leadership or science track, offering flexibility in project topics and transfer credit. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Description

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Transatlantic Crossing is designed for students representing a wide diversity of backgrounds and interests, but especially those excited about exploring the shifting state of the North Atlantic marine ecosystem on this long offshore voyage. All students will participate fully in the scientific mission and hands-on sailing while on board the SSV Corwith Cramer but may select from two course options to focus their academic efforts during the program.

Course one – Practical Oceanographic Research – offers the opportunity to carry out predetermined research projects investigating spatial patterns in ocean ecology. On shore, students will be introduced to the Atlantic Ocean environment. In small teams, they will then examine the richness and variety of marine life across the basin in conjunction with the underlying physical and chemical conditions influencing these populations. Research topics may include recent dramatic changes in the phytoplankton community, zooplankton biogeography, comparisons of continental shelf/open ocean regions, current dynamics, marine pollution, or climate-associated changes. No science prerequisites – see what field research is all about!

Course two – Leadership in a Dynamic Environment – offers students of any major the opportunity to develop lifelong leadership skills. The demands of working and living aboard a tall ship at sea create a powerful learning environment for these skills. Students will explore leadership theory, voyage planning, and team management while in Woods Hole. They will then serve as active crew members at sea, assuming increasing responsibilities under the professional crew until a series of final exercises will test their full leadership capabilities.

Regardless of the academic track chosen, all students will participate as full, working member of the scientific team and sailing crew aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer.

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Academic Credit

Summer Session I - Transatlantic Crossing, carries 3 or 4 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Course Descriptions

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.

-- OR --

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.


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"SEA Semester was the perfect environment to learn about a vastly important but often overlooked part of our world, the oceans. The classroom time was very engaging and I learned a great deal in this more traditional academic environment. Of course, the sea component will probably be the most memorable aspect of my undergraduate education."

Evan Oleson
Economics Major
Williams College