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Semester by the Sea

Offered by the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), Semester by the Sea is designed for undergraduate students to spend a semester immersed in marine studies at the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

The Fall Program uses an experiential learning approach, taking full advantage of the Southampton Marine Science Center, its research vessels, its waterfront marine lab facilities, and the unique campus location on the shores of Shinnecock Bay for direct access to coastal waters and the Atlantic Ocean. Students participate in intensive studies focused on the diverse marine habitats of eastern Long Island including bays, estuaries, salt marshes, rocky intertidal zones, dunes, beaches, tidal flats, and the open ocean, as well as on current environmental issues related to these ecosystems.  The program also introduces students to the historic and contemporary maritime traditions of Southampton, Long Island, New York, and New England via both classes and focused field trips to sites that have shaped these traditions.

The Spring Program offers additional opportunities for living and learning at the Southampton campus.  Students select courses from the exciting curriculum: Marine Conservation, Biological Oceanography, Unsinkable Technologies, Biology & Conservation of Sea Turtles, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, and Field Techniques in Marine Mammal Science.

Students interested in SCUBA have the opportunity to become certified during either semester (while earning academic credit), enroll in our Scientific Diving course in the fall, and gain additional underwater experience in Jamaica or the South Pacific through the Tropical Marine Ecology course during the winter session.

Both the fall and spring programs offer opportunities for involvement in Southampton marine research labs, internships with local organizations, and limited work-study positions.

Students may live in the Southampton Campus residence halls.

Any student may enroll, but the program is best suited for upper level science majors as several of the elective courses have prerequisites.

Visiting (non-Stony Brook) students must have a GPA of at least 2.5, have completed college level biology, and attend a member college or university in the National Student Exchange program.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

To enroll, complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out our information request form
  2. Select the option below that best describes you:

Stony Brook students can earn a Minor in Marine Science by enrolling in either semester (15 credits) and taking MAR 104 (Introduction to Oceanography) during the fall, spring, or summer.  MVB and MAR majors are not eligible for this minor.

What are students saying about the Semester by the Sea program?
Read student testimonials here, and about the experience of Jeanne, a visiting student, here. Follow our students through their coursework on the Semester by the Blog!

Watch this short video to see our students in action and to meet some of our local wildlife.

Follow our Semester by the Sea activities and view photos of students in action by selecting the Facebook link below.

For questions about program content, contact the program Director,

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