A. Stanford@SEA is looking for participants for the spring of 2017. This year we are using an on-line application process. The application period closed on January 15. All applications currently in process must be completed and submitted by January 25. To apply, please click here. If you run into problems or have questions, please contact
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Stanford@SEA?
A. Stanford@SEA is an exciting biological and oceanographic 16-unit course offered through Biological or Earth Sciences. Half the course occurs at Stanford University’s 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 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 comprises five weeks of daily morning classes in three subject areas followed by afternoon labs each day. It is followed by the sea component -- five weeks aboard the research vessel sailing the Pacific Ocean.
The unusually effective learning environment of Stanford@Sea is academically rigorous and develops leadership and teamwork skills. The shipboard component, with its emphasis on student research projects, creates a highly focused learning environment with few distractions. The interdependence of the students, who rely upon each other to collect data and to sail the boat safely, enhances the sense of responsibility they feel toward all aspects of the learning experience.
Q. How many students can participate?
A. We take no more than 23 students. We’re looking for students who are independent and motivated self-starters, and are ready for an educational adventure like no other.
Q. What does the semester entail?
A. You spend five weeks at Hopkins Marine Station where you immerse yourself in learning about the ocean environment from some of the world’s top marine biologists and oceanographers.
While ashore, students take courses and develop a detailed plan for an independent research project, which they carry out at sea. The courses include:
Introduction to Oceanography I (8 units including shipboard portion): This survey course covers physical, chemical, geological and biological oceanography, with some attention to general principles of oceanography. Topics relevant to the area of the ocean where the sea component will take place are emphasized. Stanford and SEA faculty teach this course.
Problems in Oceanography II (8 units). For advanced members of the Stanford@SEA 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 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.
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.
During the five weeks at sea, students continue with Nautical Science II and take increasing responsibility for running the R/V Robert C. Seamans. In an additional course, Oceanographic Research Techniques, students conduct the research projects developed during the shore component. They learn how to deploy a variety of oceanographic equipment. They collect oceanographic data for their projects, analyze the data obtained, and present their findings orally and in writing before a panel of scientists and other students. Students are expected to supervise the safe deployment of oceanographic equipment for at least four hours at sea.
Q. Do I need to be a science major to apply?
A. No. We’re interested in students with a diversity of majors. We’ve had participants whose majors include earth systems, anthropology,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.
Q. How do I apply?