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The Class Is Underway!

Follow the Voyage!
Students and faculty on a boat in the ocean
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We are no longer accepting applications for the 2024 voyage. 


Stanford@SEA is an exciting biological and oceanographic 16-18 unit course offered through the Biology and Oceans Departments. This course has been offered biannually for over 20 years at Stanford, with Spring 2024 marking the 11th voyage. To date, 240 Stanford students have participated in this experiential learning environment, which is academically and physically rigorous, and develops knowledge of the ocean as well as leadership and teamwork skills. In addition, this year, we guarantee an extraordinary ocean expedition and adventure in French Polynesia. 

The first half of the course occurs at Stanford University‚Äôs Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove; the other half aboard the R/V Robert C. Seamans, which the Sea Education Association (SEA) operates in the Pacific Ocean, built with the support of the National Science Foundation. Stanford@SEA follows the traditional model of the SEA program at Woods Hole, Massachusetts: shore-side classes followed by an intensive open sea component. At Stanford, the shore component is comprised of five weeks of full day (8-5) classes and afternoon discussion and labs in four subject areas: Oceanography, Nautical Science as it relates to our shipboard experience, Maritime History with a focus on the Pacific and Polynesia, and Marine Conservation and Policy. These classes are immediately followed by the shipboard component, which emphasizes practical shipboard oceanographic techniques, the excitement of Tall Ship open ocean sailing, coral atolls, and student research projects. All of these aspects create a highly focused learning environment with few distractions. The class will leave from Papeete Tahiti and occurs entirely at sea with port stops along the way.

Photo of a large sailboat on the ocean
SSV Robert C. Seamans

Once the entire class moves shipboard, the interdependence of the professors and students, who rely upon each other to collect ocean data and to sail the boat safely, enhances the sense of responsibility they all feel toward the learning experience. The class is led by Professors Barbara Block and Robert Dunbar of Stanford, Professor Jan Witting and Mary Malloy of Sea Education Association, and a Coast Guard certified captain, Mr. Rick Miller. Visiting scientists in 2024 include Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University and noted environmental author and professor Dr. Carl Safina. Shipboard, there are 4 professors (Drs. Block, Dunbar, Whitting, Visiting Scientists), along with a captain and up to 10 professional sailing and teaching staff of Sea Education Association and Stanford University, which assures safety at sea in the learning environment. During the voyage, faculty to student ratio is two faculty/staff to one student. For more information on the ship, please see

2024 SEA Track

The 2024 voyage will begin in May at Papeete, Tahiti. We will then sail and visit several atoll and islands in French Polynesia, including: Rangiroa Atoll, Nuku Hiva (the largest island in the Marquesas), Mangareva in the Gambier Islands and Hao Atoll in the Tuamotus.