Woods Hole, U.S.

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  • Fall Semester - Sept. - Nov. or Oct. - Dec.
  • Spring Semester - Jan. - March or Feb. - May
  • Summer 1 Semester - Mid-June - Mid-August

Application Deadline

  • Fall Semester - March 15
  • Spring Semester - October 1
  • Summer 1 Semester - March 1


Study Abroad Coordinator: Emily Ferraro (e.ferraro@neu.edu)

A semester with the Sea Education Association (SEA) is unlike any other study abroad program. It combines an intensive four-week shore component in Woods Hole, MA with a sea voyage either in the Atlantic/Caribbean or in the Pacific. (Depending on the time of year, some voyages may go to Nova Scotia). The interdisciplinary course work teaches more than just Maritime Studies, Nautical Science, and Oceanography; it teaches students about team work, cooperation, and seamanship. Students also learn how to sail a boat, from striking and setting sails to navigating and steering.

Note: This program fulfills most Arts & Sciences requirements for the Marine Studies minor. Please consult Peter Rosen in the Geology Department for more information.

Students may also participate in the Protecting the Phoenix Islands summer program. This 8-week summer session welcomes students to explore one of the last coral wildernesses on earth through one of two academic tracks: science or policy. The Phoenix Islands comprise the Pacific’s largest marine protected area (MPA) and were recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Students will join marine scientists from SEA, the New England Aquarium, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on an unprecedented research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), a region of the world which remains largely unexplored and unvisited.



Courses vary based on the specific voyage.  Students should work with OISP, your academic advisor, and the Environmental Studies department to determine the appropriate course equivalents for your voyage.

  • Students participating in the semester programs are required to take five courses.   A student can pay NU's standard undergraduate tuition and transfer back four NU courses, for a total of 16 NU credits. Alternatively, a student may elect to pay a course overload fee, as defined on the NU Registrar's website, and transfer back all five courses, for a total of 20 NU credits.  Please note:  See Cost section for additional Study Abroad fees.
  • Students participating in the summer voyage are required to take three courses. You will be charged NU tuition for 3 courses. See Cost section for additional Study Abroad fees.

View Evaluated Courses

If you are interested in enrolling in a course not in our database, please send this course for evaluation.

Policies and Process for Evaluations

Host University

Founded in 1971, the Sea Education Association, is recognized as the national leader in education under sail. SEA operates year-round, as do its sailing vessels, which sail as far north as Newfoundland, and as far south as Venezuela. Learning by doing is a powerful elements of SEA's approach to education.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2 completed terms at NU, one of which may be a summer term
  • GPA of at least 2.5
  • Transfer students and spring admits, please contact OISP for eligibility
  • Requirements vary by track - See SEA website for additional details

Application Procedure

    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 (Ocean Exploration, 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.
    • Official Transcript
    • High school transcript required if applicant has completed fewer than four semesters of college-level coursework
    • Submit two (2) undergraduate academic references. 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.). 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.
    • Photocopy of Passport ID page
    • Phone Interview with SEA admissions counselor required after full application is submitted.  Interviews may be conducted over the phone or in person, depending on the SEA 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.


Schedule Appointment →


Fall 2015 or Spring 2016: $22,660

Includes: Northeastern University (NU) tuition for 16 NU credits ($22,310), and International Security and Emergency Support ($350). Please note that this program requires students to take five courses. Should students choose to transfer back the fifth course, the student will be liable for an additional 4 credit overload fee ($5,577.50). Students are responsible for all other expenses, including housing and other non-academic costs for which they will be billed directly by the program provider or host institution. Students are also responsible for arranging and purchasing their own flights.

Summer 1 2015: $17,007.50

Includes: Northeastern University (NU) tuition for 12 NU credits ($16,732.50), and International Security and Emergency Support ($275). Students are responsible for all other expenses, including housing and other non-academic costs for which they will be billed directly by the program provider or host institution.  Students are also responsible for arranging and purchasing their own flights.


  • Students live with other SEA students in cottages on campus in Woods Hole, MA for the first two (summer program) or four (semester programs) weeks.
  • Students cook together in fully equipped kitchens. While on the research vessel, room and board is fully provided.


For the semester programs, students spend the first 4 weeks at Woods Hole, a village on the southwestern tip of Cape Cod. This hands-on program combines classroom lectures, lab work, small group discussions, and field excursions. The next 12 weeks are spent sailing on the boat, visiting ports along the way on voyages either in the Atlantic/Caribbean or in the Pacific. For example, cruise tracks in the past have been Papeete, Tahiti to Honolulu, Hawaii. Honolulu, Hawaii to San francisco, CA. Woods Hole, MA to St. Croix, USVI. San Diego, CA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Key West, Fl to St. Croix, USVI.

Students spend the first 2 weeks at Woods Hole for the summer program, and the next 6 weeks on the boat.