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Admissions - How to Apply to SEA Semester

How to Apply to SEA Semester

SEA Semester undergraduate programs are limited in capacity with a maximum of 24 or 25 student spots per class. Therefore, we welcome applications as early as one year in advance of the program start and encourage students to apply early to ensure placement in their preferred program.

We review all SEA Semester applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each class is full.

Upcoming Application Deadlines

Admissions for SEA Semester and SEA High School Summer Programs operates on a rolling admissions basis. Although we do not maintain our own application deadlines, SEA Semester applicants should check in with your home institution and/or study abroad office regarding internal application deadlines on your campus.

We are currently accepting applications for the following terms and programs:

Spring 2021: SEA Semester

Summer 2021: SEA Semester || SEA High School Summer Programs

Fall 2021: SEA Semester || SEA Gap Programs

The First Step

To learn which SEA Semester program is right for you, contact your Admissions Counselor! You should also discuss your study abroad plans with your study abroad office and/or academic advisor to make sure of any additional requirements and procedures. We welcome applications from U.S. students as well as from students enrolled in international universities who are seeking a semester's worth of undergraduate credit.

Every semester, SEA Admissions Counselors travel far and wide to visit colleges and universities across the country. Meeting an SEA Admissions Counselor in person is the best way to learn more about SEA Semester, so you should also take a look at our Campus Visits calendar to find out when a Counselor might be in your area!

Finally, review our Essential Eligibility Criteria to be sure SEA is right for you.

Connect with a Recent Alum!

Program alumni are some of your best resources for learning more about SEA Semester. We encourage you to connect with a recent alum, or read through some alumni testimonials, to hear about the experience from their perspectives!

SEA Semester Application Checklist

  1. Complete an application form
    Apply online. (Note: the application fee is waived for students from affiliated institutions. Contact your Admissions Counselor for the code!)
  2. Submit two writing samples (500-750 words each)

    List your full name on each. Submit via email to or fax to 857-386-7986.

    1. Two-part essay (500-750 words): Why have you chosen to apply to SEA Semester and what do you expect to gain from your experience? How will the SEA Semester program to which you're applying (The Global Ocean, Oceans & Climate, etc.) complement your education? Be sure to address both questions.
    2. Academic writing sample of your own choosing (2-4 page excerpt if longer than 4 pages). This should be a reflection of your best written work from a recent course, and on a topic applicable to your SEA Semester program of interest (science, history, environmental studies, literature, etc.). Please include your name and the context of the sample (course title and brief description of the assignment). Poetry or college entrance essays may be submitted only as a secondary sample.
  3. Request and submit transcripts
    Official college transcripts are required for all applicants. E-transcripts must be emailed to Hard copies must remain sealed and be sent directly from your institution to:

         SEA Office of Admissions
         P.O. Box 6
         Woods Hole, MA 02543

    High school transcripts are required for students who have not yet completed two years of college. They may be unofficial and submitted via email to or by fax to 857-386-7986.
  4. Submit two (2) undergraduate academic references
    The online application will provide a link to email the reference form to your professors directly. If you require a PDF version, please click here.

    Both should be from undergraduate level instructors; at least one should be from an instructor (i.e. professor, academic advisor) who has taught you within the past year. We also welcome additional references (i.e. coach, academic, personal, etc.). Letters of reference will only be accepted as supplemental to the online form.
  5. Schedule an interview with your Admissions Counselor
    Interviews may be conducted over the phone or in person, depending on the Counselor’s schedule. Topics of conversation may include life at your college/university, academic and extracurricular interests, transition from high school to college, your expectations for life at SEA, and how you learned about our program. The interview is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about SEA.
  6. Submit the Student Participation Approval Form to the appropriate authority (study abroad office or academic advisor) on your campus
    This form is accessible through our online system and ensures that you go through the appropriate channels at your school for off-campus study approval (if applicable) and credit transfer. If you're not sure who to contact on your campus, ask your SEA Admissions Counselor.

​Apply for a Passport: Please note that all SEA Semester students must have a valid passport - NOT a Passport Card - before joining the program.

Apply for Financial Aid: If you plan to apply for need-based financial aid, download a financial aid application (pdf) and submit it with your application for admission.