Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships

STEMSEAS aims to provide ship-based, 6-10 day exploratory experiences for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds aboard NSF-funded research vessels. Students will sail with experienced faculty mentors and engage in geoscience and oceanography activities (while also having fun)!


Most expenses (travel to/from the ports of call, materials, and living expenses while on the ship) will be paid by the program- there is very little cost to participants. Want to see what a STEMSEAS cruise is like? Watch this video made by one of participants in 2016:

And this video made by another student in 2018:

You may also want to check out this TedX talk by one of our alumni about the impact of STEMSEAS, and other programs, on her path. She talks specifically about STEMSEAS starting around 04:00, but the whole speech is inspiring!


Here was our 2019 schedule. Watch this space for our 2020 schedule by late Fall 2019!

28 April – 10 May Sail on the R/V Neil Armstrong from Woods Hole, MA to Reykjavik, Iceland (must have U.S. passport)

15 May – 23 May Sail on the R/V Sikuliaq from San Diego, CA to Seward, AK

1 June – 11 June Sail on R/V Endeavor from Morehead City, NC to Bridgetown, Barbados (must have U.S. passport)

27 July – 2 August  Sail on R/V Atlantis from Newport, OR to San Diego, CA

31 Aug – 11 Sept Sail on R/V Sikuliaq from Kodiak, AK to Newport, OR

Be sure to visit  our blog page to read about student experiences past and present!


Are you interested in leading a STEMSEAS transit? We are always looking for excellent, enthusiastic, creative and flexible instructors and mentors! It’s rewarding, a lot of fun, and we’ll even pay you! You can apply here for these positions.



Application Process

The 2019 application deadline has passed. Applications for 2020 will be available in November 2019.  To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen 18 years of age or over and enrolled in an accredited 2- or 4-year college or university.  There are two deadlines – see the application for details. The application includes:


  • A completed application form
  • A copy of your latest unofficial transcript
  • Reference contact information for a professor, adviser or employer (current or former)


About the selection process: We select participants for cruises in the order they occur in the calendar. We will contact your reference for a letter and you for an interview 6-8 weeks prior to a cruise if you are a finalist. If you do not hear from us, then you are not selected for that cruise. But we will continue to consider your application for each cruise for which you’ve indicated you are available. Contact us privately with any specific questions!

Please look for updates here and on the STEMSEAS Facebook page.


Several articles about STEMSEAS:

From Oceanography Magazine

From IUP News

From University of Massachusetts

From our graduate student blog


From Gallaudet

See FAQ’s below for some common questions; for additional questions, please contact:

Sharon Cooper:

Jon Lewis:


FAQs (if you don’t see your question answered here, contact us!)

I am a non-STEM student but this sounds interesting. Can I apply?

Yes! We are interested in students from a few specific non-STEM fields participating for reasons of STEM awareness. Students in English, Education, Art, Film Studies, pre-Law and Journalism are especially encouraged to apply

I have already declared my major in Geoscience but I’m only a Freshman. Should I apply?

Yes. We are very keen to have students early in their studies participate.

I’m at a community college studying a non-STEM field that is not one STEMSEAS listed above, but I’m considering changing to a STEM field and completing a 4-year degree. Am I eligible?

Yes, We are very interested in students transitioning between 2-year and 4-year institutions.

Can high school students apply?

Students who have graduated from high school, are already 18 years old and plan to enroll at a 2-year or 4-year institution in the coming year may apply.

I am not a U.S. citizen but attend a U.S. university/college. Am I eligible?

Sorry but no. You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national OR permanent resident.

I am a U.S. citizen but attend school in another country. Am I eligible?


Are graduate students eligible?

Not as participants, as this program is specifically for undergraduates. However, we have one paid position on every expedition for a graduate student mentor. You can apply for those positions here.

I am a STEM major about to graduate this May, can I participate?

Yes. Although our focus is primarily on undergraduates, we are also interested in students making the transition from college to the workforce or graduate study.

I am a STEM major and I have done similar things. I am eager to have more experiences at sea. Should I apply?

Yes, but recognize that we are trying to provide experiences for students who are not as far along in their studies (e.g., freshman) or who are not certain which STEM field, if any, is right for them.

What research will we do on the ship?

The voyages are all transits between research expeditions so there will be no set research projects underway during the transits. However, we will attempt to make use of the ship to demonstrate an array of scientific research practices and techniques. Sometimes, we’ll be able to collect samples along the way and we will use these to run a suite of standard analyses. We also hope to generate data about both the water column and the seafloor that we will process. Some of these data may be contributed to globally shared databases. If samples are collected, it is possible that our mentors will analyze them for specific parameters that will then be shared. These data certainly could be used as the basis of a student-driven research project.

I get sick easily on buses, trains and planes. Should I apply? Will I get seasick?

If you are prone to motion sickness, in all likelihood you would find sailing on a research vessel more than just miserable. Take this into consideration. A lot of students do get seasick the first day or two; for most, it goes away after that.


STEMSEAS is funded by NSF Grant 1701174 and NSF Grant 1701168 in partnership with:


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