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Follow the Voyage!


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How many students can participate?

We plan to admit 21 undergraduate students in 2024. In addition, two Stanford graduate students and one former Stanford@SEA alumni will be teaching assistants for the course and aboard the ship. We’re looking for students who are independent and motivated self-starters, and are ready for an educational adventure like no other. Experience at sea is not required. Please keep in mind there are always more applications then bunks on the ship.

What does the quarter entail? 

Tall ship on the ocean sailing into the sunset

You will spend five weeks at Hopkins Marine Station where you will immerse yourself in learning about the ocean environment from some of the world’s top marine biologists and oceanographers, while in class full time (8-5, Monday-Friday.) While ashore, students take courses and develop a detailed plan for an independent research project, which they carry out at sea. Weekend field activities will help generate group bonds that help facilitate strong bonds for the shipboard passage to come. 

SEA courses include:

Introduction to Oceanography I (8 units including shipboard portion): This survey course covers biological, geological and chemical oceanography with attention to general principles of ocean circulation and coral reefs. This is a basic oceanography course intended for students without an advanced background in oceans or marine sciences. Topical subjects relevant to the area of the ocean where the sea component will take place are emphasized such as open ocean oceanography and coral reef biology. Stanford and SEA faculty teach this course. If you want to learn how the biosphere works this class will essentially teach you oceans and earth history along with marine science in 10 weeks on land and at sea. All students conduct a research project at sea with up to 2 others shipboard.

Problems in Oceanography II (8 units). For advanced Earth Sciences, Marine Biology or civil engineering students of the Stanford@SEA 2024 class, we teach a problem-based learning course emphasizing more recent topics in oceanography. The students begin the week on a set of papers that provide the opportunity for discussion of key concepts in modern ocean science. Five topics throughout the quarter are introduced in this forum and student projects result from the immersion approach to the subject matter. Stanford faculty teach this course. 

At sea we carry out the Oceanographic Research Techniques portion of both oceanography courses as one class together. Students conduct the research projects developed during the shore component. They learn how to deploy a variety of advanced oceanographic equipment at sea. They collect oceanographic data for their projects, analyze the data obtained, and present their findings orally and in writing before a shipboard team of scientists, staff and other students.

Several photos of men and women on a research vessel on the ocean

Maritime Studies (3 units): This multi-disciplinary course puts the students’ sea experience into the context of humans’ relationship to the ocean. It includes literature, history, legal and political aspects of current marine conservation and management issues. Stanford and SEA faculty teach this course.

Nautical Science (5 units, including sea time): This practical course covers principles of physics, astronomy, meteorology and oceanography that comprise navigation and ship handling. The course prepares students for the assuming sailing responsibilities on the ship. The captain of the Robert C. Seamans teaches this course.

Marine Conservation (2 optional units). Professor Block leads a conservation seminar and class on shore which then continues at sea with weekly lectures. You will need to audit or enroll in BIO 173HA/OCEANS 173HA to earn the two additional units. Five extraordinary marine conservationists will come visit the class and three will join with us on the sail portion of the trip.

During the five weeks at sea, students continue with Nautical Science II and take increasing responsibility for running the R/V Robert C. Seamans.

Do I need to be a science major to apply?

No. We’re interested in students with a diversity of majors. We’ve had participants whose majors include earth systems, anthropology, history, English and engineering, international relations and biology. We believe that everyone can benefit from learning about our planet’s oceans, and our integral relationship with them. We explore science, art, literature, philosophy and political elements of the oceans.

Do I need sailing experience?

No. We will teach you how to sail. 

How do I apply?

Click here to get started!