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  • Locations: St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Sea Education Association 
  • Restrictions: Wheaton applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Housing Options: Residence Hall or Dormitory Click here for a definition of this term Areas of Study: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Studies, History, Humanities, Independent Study, International Relations, Latin American Studies, Liberal Arts, Marine Science, Sciences, Social Policy & Administration
Program Type: Study Abroad Language of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Class Year: 2. Sophomore, 3. Junior, 4. Senior
Program Description:

Who Should Apply?

This hands-on coral reef study at sea program is ideal for students with an interest in conservation policy and/or marine ecosystems. Students will approach solutions to effective reef management in the context of history, policy, and science. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Highlights

  • Develop and refine snorkel-based reef survey techniques
  • Conduct research at a field station in the Virgin Islands
  • Contribute to marine conservation policy efforts
  • Assess effectiveness of reef management strategies

Program Description

Thriving, successful island communities depend on healthy oceans – and healthy coral reefs. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Caribbean. Throughout history, reefs and their linked ecosystems have protected islands and provided food for growing human populations. Today, they also attract tourists and drive economic development.

But coral reefs face many threats, including overfishing, reduced water quality, and rising temperatures and lower pH caused by climate change. Effective solutions require an understanding of the economic, political, and cultural landscape, as well as ocean and climate science.

Through fieldwork in Woods Hole and the US Virgin Islands, followed by a research voyage at sea, students in this semester will study tropical marine ecosystems, their diverse marine life inhabitants, and the impact of human actions upon them. Through this lens, you’ll examine how local, academic, governmental, and international organizations and businesses are working together to conserve and sustainably manage Caribbean coral reef ecosystems.

Skills Gained

  • Practical experience in oceanographic data collection, analysis, and reporting
  • Effective team leadership and membership, particularly environmental leadership
  • Policy evaluation and critique
  • Collaborative research and writing, including a peer revision process

Academic Coursework & Credit

SEA Semester: Caribbean Reef Expedition offers 18 credits from Boston University. Courses are as follows:

Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Be an effective leader while leveraging the individual strengths of a team. Use leadership theory and case studies to understand how decisions affect outcomes. Participate as an active member of a ship’s crew, progressively assuming full leadership roles.

Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Employ methods and sources of historians and social scientists. Examine the role of human societies in coastal and open ocean environmental change. Issues include resource conservation, overfishing, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.

Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Culture, history, political systems and science can shape ocean policy. Practice current strategies to build, analyze, and communicate about diverse policy issues. Examine the power, use and limitations of science and the scientist's voice in determining ocean policy.

The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Ocean ecosystem change in the anthropocene: warming, acidification, fisheries depletion, and pollution. Review principles of circulation, seawater chemistry, nutrient dynamics, and biological production to understand causes and consequences of change. Conduct field measurements for contribution to time-series datasets.

Your Choice of Research Courses:

Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Design and conduct original oceanographic research. Collect data and analyze samples. Compile results in peer-reviewed manuscript format and share during oral or poster presentation session. Emphasis on development of research skills and written/oral communication abilities.

-- OR --

Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Introduction to oceanographic research. Design a collaborative, hypothesis-driven project following the scientific process. Collect original data. Conduct analysis and interpretation, then prepare a written report and oral presentation.




Further information about SEA Semester programs specific to Wheaton College students


Wheaton College is committed to providing students with opportunities to broaden their understanding and vision beyond the borders of this campus and this country. We work in collaboration with carefully selected partner institutions around the world to support our students as they prepare to study abroad and while they are overseas. Students must apply to Wheaton's Center for Global Education as well as the institution through which they plan to study abroad. The most up-to-date information can be found on the program provider's website above.       

Courses & Credits:
Each 12-week SEA Semester program offers 17-18 semester hour credits through Boston University, SEA's school of record, which earns each student 4 credits at Wheaton College. 

Housing & Meals:
Students live in student housing on the SEA campus in Woods Hole during the shore component and student rooms aboard the ships. While at sea, three meals per day are provided. Prepaid grocery cards are provided for use during the shore component.

Budget Information:
Students studying abroad will continue to pay Wheaton tuition. Students are not charged Wheaton room and board, or the Wheaton technology, laundry, or student activities fees while on a study abroad program. Wheaton will, in turn, pay the program for all tuition and academic fees and international insurance. Students will pay costs directly to SEA Semester. Please note that this may or may not include a meal plan. Students will book and pay for their own flights.

Fees billed by Wheaton will be charged to students on their regular Wheaton College student account during regular billing cycles (July/December). 

Federal, state, Wheaton need-based and merit scholarships will be applied to these charges for Wheaton-approved programs. Students must consult with the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) for a comprehensive review of their aid. If a student receives aid beyond the cost of Wheaton tuition, they can request a refund through SFS. This can in turn be used to pay their program for room and board charges.

Please do your research as housing and meal costs vary greatly from program to program. This Budget Worksheet can help you estimate the total costs of your program. Refer to your program website for an overview of all additional expenses, which may include visas, international cell phones, and discretionary expenses.

 For Wheaton specific questions contact:                                    
 Center for Global Education
 5  Howard Street
 Wheaton College
 Norton, MA 02766-2322
 globaled@wheatoncollege.edu
 508-286-4950
 

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2023 03/01/2023 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.