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International Study Abroad

Accepted Students - Preliminary Information

Please read the following carefully. It is important that you consider your preparations well in advance and complete most/all requirements before you get to campus. Once you arrive on campus, your time will be spent in rigorous course schedules which will allow little time for the completion of those requirements. Additional information concerning your class will be sent approximately a month before the program begins.

Required Documents and Forms

Student Contract and Liability Release: Your Student Contract is due to SEA, ATTN: Student Services within two weeks of your acceptance, along with your $750 deposit. You may send a check payable to Sea Education Association or you may charge your deposit/payments by contacting our Business Office at 508-444-1933. You may also pay online (a 3% convenience fee applies to tuition/deposit payments). Note carefully the conditions of the contract and keep a copy for your records.

Check the “Expenses” sheet for schedule of payments.

Medical Record: Your participation in the program is contingent upon medical clearance. You must have a complete physical no more than 180 days prior to your program. Please complete the form in a timely fashion.  Once we receive it, we may have questions or additional advice for you that should be discussed before the start of your program. It is extremely important to communicate any needs for special accommodations.

Please be clear and forthright when completing your medical form.  It is critical that both you and SEA understand any challenges that SEA Semester may pose for you; we can accommodate a wide range of medical conditions with advance information and communication. Be confident that we will work collaboratively with you and your doctor, as necessary, through the medical clearance process. All health issues (physical and mental) must be brought to the attention of SEA, since without full disclosure, a medical officer or doctor may be unable to render vital treatment ashore or at sea.

Please notify us if you have been exposed to a contagious disease, or if any changes in your health occur between the time of your physical exam and the beginning of your program. If you require regular medication, please work with your doctor and insurance company to ensure that you have a 100% redundant supply during your SEA Semester.
Return the medical form, thoroughly completed and signed by you and a licensed physician, to the attention of Student Services.


Vaccinations & Immunization: Vaccinations beyond the standard pediatric sequence offered in the United States are not required for most places our ships travel. In some areas and for some participants, your doctor may recommend additional immunizations.  Please speak with your doctor about your cruise track and consult the Centers for Disease Control for suggestions & recommendations that may be appropriate for you.
Please contact Student Services if you have any questions about the medical clearance process.

Insurance Verification: SEA does not carry medical insurance for students and accepts no liability for medical costs. You MUST have coverage for sickness, accident and hospitalization on shore as well as at sea. On most SEA Semester programs, at least one foreign port will be visited; subsequently, it is imperative that your coverage extends to foreign areas. Be sure the information provided on your SEA Medical Record and Student Information is current and complete.

Passports: A valid passport is required for every SEA Semester program, even those without international port stops. The Passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the date of entry to any foreign country. Mail us a copy of your passport along with your housing reservation form prior to arrival at SEA. If you do not have a passport, apply immediately as it takes 4-6 weeks to process. You must inform us if you are not a U.S. citizen. You will also need to find out if visas are needed for your port stops.

Visas: All international students must have, or must obtain, a US student visa in order to enroll with SEA Semester. If you currently matriculate at a US college or university, your existing F-1 visa should suffice, but please contact us well in advance of your SEA Semester to confirm your status. You may need to ask your home institution to amend your I-20 to include enrollment with SEA Semester.

If you do not have an F-1 student visa, please contact the SEA Ofice of Student Services which will guide you through the process of securing an I-20 through Boston University. Once you have an I-20, you will be able to make an appointment at the US Embassy in your home country to apply for an F-1 student visa.

You may not enroll with SEA Semester on a B-1/B-2 visa.

Depending on your cruise track, you may need additional visas to enter other countries that your program will visit. You are responsible for securing these visas in advance of your SEA Semester. You must make the applications yourself, but SEA’s Office of Student Services is happy to provide supporting documentation that you may need with your visa applications and answer any questions that we can.

Please contact us early in the admissions process so that we can help confirm what credentials you will need for you intended SEA Semester and so that we can begin working together to get your paperwork in order.

DAN Membership: Included in the tuition is membership in Divers Alert Network (DAN), whose benefits include emergency evacuation insurance through AIG Travel Assist. Click here for more more details. 


All students are expected to live on the SEA campus in student housing. Each house accommodates 10 students. Please take note of the following:

  • The cost of food is included in your program cost. Each house is provided with a weekly prepaid grocery card and students purchase their food and do their own cooking in fully equipped kitchens. You will plan menus, shop, cook, and clean after meals as a house. This setup provides great community building!
  • Bring bed linens and towels. Each student is provided with a pillow and a standard size twin bed. There are laundry facilities in one of the student cottages.
  • Each student bedroom has desks and storage areas.
  • Students may bring cars to campus. A bicycle is also helpful to have during the Shore Component (spring, summer, fall).
  • No pets allowed.

On board ship, you will share space with up to 35 people. Your bunk will line the inside of the ship somewhere between the bow and the stern. Each bunk has two small storage areas. Though there is very little personal space, your ship and shipmates become your home and family for six weeks.

Take a virtual tour of one of SEA's ships!

Travel Arrangements

Travel to the SEA Campus for the Shore Component

SEA’s campus is located at 171 Woods Hole Road in Falmouth, Massachusetts, equidistant between Falmouth and Woods Hole.

Air Travel. You should plan to fly into either Boston Logan International Airport or T.F. Green Airport in Providence/Warwick, RI. Both airports are approximately 75 miles from Falmouth. Note that bus transportation is more frequent and more convenient from Boston than from Providence/Warwick (see below).

Getting to Woods Hole. Peter Pan Bus Lines ( or 800-556-3815) serves Logan International Airport. Buses leave each terminal outside the baggage claim areas. Tickets may be purchased on board the bus with cash. T.F Green does not have direct transportation to Falmouth from the airport. You must get to the bus terminal in Providence city center in order to get transportation to Cape Cod. Once you get to the bus stop in Falmouth or Woods Hole, you can take a taxi to the SEA campus (a 5-minute ride).

Arriving on Campus. All accepted students must arrive on campus by 3pm the day their program begins.

*If you are taking the bus to Falmouth, SEA staff will meet the busses arriving at 11:30am and at 3:30pm and provide transportation to the campus on orientation day.  Please notify Dale Dean at or ext. 535 to let us know if you’ll need a ride.

*There will be a Student Orientation for every class on the first day of the program. All orientations begins at 3:45pm.

*Students may arrive one day early if needed due to travel logistics. You must contact Dale Dean in Student Services to request and confirm an early arrival.

*A Class Memo and a Travel Memo will be emailed to each class about a month before the class begins. If you need information regarding travel earlier than that, please contact Dale Dean at or ext. 535.

*All classes end by noon on the last day of the Shore Component. All students should plan to depart campus on that day, after 12:00 PM. Students should schedule travel to join the ship between 2-4pm on the day that the Sea Component begins.

Travel to the Ship for the Sea Component

Students should plan to be aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer or SSV Robert C. Seamans between 2pm and 4pm on the designated day of departure for the sea component. Make your travel arrangements accordingly. Please note that you will not be allowed to join the ship unless you have passed all shore component courses, paid your tuition, and submitted to SEA the required forms noted above.

Itinerary. The precise itinerary and intermediate ports of your cruise will depend upon weather conditions, vessel maintenance or repair needs, the unpredictable timing of scientific projects, etc. Though scheduled arrival and departure times are normally met, they are subject to change or delay.

Port Calls. On average, five to six days are spent in port throughout each sea component. While ashore, including in Woods Hole, you are guests in the community. The dictates of common sense and courtesy should be followed - presentable appearance, politeness, respect for local laws and customs, and mature behavior.

Leaving the Ship. The ships typically arrive as scheduled by 9am on the last day of your sea component. When booking flights, please allow plenty of time to clear Customs and travel to the airport.

Flights Home. Tickets for travel to and from the ship should be secured in advance. You will receive detailed information specific to your voyage prior to program start. Return tickets may be deposited with the Captain for safekeeping during the cruise.

Academics on Shore

During the Shore Component in Woods Hole, students participate in academic courses centered around classroom learning (classes vary by program). Morning classes are held Monday through Friday from 8am to 12pm. After a break for lunch, afternoon labs, discussion groups, and research proposal preparation typically lasts three to four hours. All classes are held on the SEA campus.

On most days you will be in class from 8am to 4pm.

Registration.* Students are registered with Boston University upon arrival. Students from affiliated institutions remain registered at their home schools.

Transcripts.* Official transcripts are available from Boston University upon completion of the program. Transcripts from SEA are sent directly to affiliated institutions. Information regarding this process will follow the sea component. A full semester of transfer credit is awarded.

Computers. The SEA campus has a computer lab with about 15 machines. If you have a personal laptop computer, you are encouraged to bring it to the program. Your machine will be scanned for viruses and security risks before you are permitted on the SEA network. You may also bring your laptop to sea, recognizing that extra care will be required to ensure that it is safely stowed when not in use. Computers at sea are for research purposes only; there is no internet access from the ship.

Books. Your “All Inclusive” Fee covers rental of books through the MBL/WHOI Library.

Libraries & Labs. SEA’s campus classrooms, library and laboratory are at students’ disposal. Students also have access to the world renowned WHOI/MBL research library 24 hours a day.

*SEA Semester: Gap Year programs do not offer academic credit. Students will not be registered with Boston University and will not receive a transcript.

Instructions and Recommendations

Physical Conditioning. Get in shape before joining the ship. You will enjoy the cruise more and be a healthier, more effective participant. You will also be less subject to stress and injury.

Diet. With advance notice SEA can usually accommodate vegetarian diets. Students with medically required dietary restrictions can also frequently be accommodated. Please contact Student Services to discuss your dietary needs and confirm that SEA can meet them.

Money. You will require money for expenses while traveling to and from the ship. Most students bring extra cash to make small purchases in port, experience local cuisine, etc. The ship cannot cash checks. Money may be deposited with the Captain in the ship's safe.

Mail. Correspondence and packages may be sent to SEA during the Shore Component. The mailing address for correspondence and packages is SEA, P.O. Box 6, Woods Hole, MA 02543. Please note the student's Class Number on the package (i.e. S-244, etc.). The physical/shipping address for SEA is 171 Woods Hole Rd., Falmouth, MA 02540. This address should be used for shipping packages via any courier service. PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to deliver mail to the ship. Please contact SEA if an urgent message must be conveyed.

Telephone. SEA's main office telephone number is (800) 552-3633. During shore component, there is a telephone in each student house. These telephone extension numbers will be provided with housing assignments when you arrive. Long distance calls may be made with a calling card. During sea component, the ship maintains a daily radio-telephone schedule with the SEA office. Routine personal messages will not be transmitted; however, emergency messages may be passed through the Marine Office to the ship.

Emergency Contact. During working hours call (800) 552-3633. Home phone numbers of SEA Administrators and/or Faculty for emergency only will be given to you upon arrival in Woods Hole. Please send these numbers to your family.

Check Cashing. SEA has an arrangement with a local bank (Bank North) that allows you to cash personal checks. There is a $100 limit. You will be required to have your check authorized by SEA prior to cashing.

Communication with Family. As a courtesy, please try to keep your family informed of your activities and whereabouts. They will appreciate telephone calls and letters. Upon final departure from the ship making them aware of your travel plans/itinerary becomes mandatory!

Communication with SEA. Be sure to call or write the Student Service Office – Dale Dean x535 ( or Virginia Land McGuire x557 ( - if you have any questions. Please keep us informed of any changes in your plans prior to the beginning of your class (including address and phone changes).

Parent Reception. Please ask your parents to join us on Orientation Day! Parents are welcome to attend student orientation after which they will be greeted by SEA's President at a Parents' Reception. At that time they will meet your faculty and staff as well as other parents, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

We will provide information regarding communication while you are on campus and at sea. Parents are especially interested in your sailing itinerary; be sure to keep them updated during your shore component. While you are sea, they will be able to track your progress on our website via ship position reports and daily blogs.