Academic Life on Semester at Sea (2024)


Live and learn with award-winning faculty aboard a floating college as you circumnavigate the globe and experience the world’s cultures.

Global Comparative Education

Global comparative education is a form of international study that identifies and connects the world’s peoples, patterns, cultures, and traditions. Students on Semester at Sea voyages learn to think critically through experiential coursework during their 100+ day journey visiting multiple countries by ship. Semester at Sea has served as a pioneer and leader in multi-country, comparative education for more than 58 years.

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How It Works

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Through coursework, co-curricular activities, and expert guidance, students gain knowledge and insights into the countries on the itineraries to give relevant and crucial context to the in-country experience.

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The in-country experience provides hands-on experiential learning, giving students access and the ability to engage with people, places, and cultures of the world.

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Traveling from country to country gives students the opportunity to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of cultures through an academic lens in order to gain deeper insights into our world.

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As the voyage progresses, you will integrate your new knowledge and understanding into the classroom, discussions, and community activities, creating a lasting impact and a well-rounded experience.

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Semester at Sea coursework is geared directly toward the itinerary of each voyage in a cumulative and comparative way, offering a relevant and unique study abroad opportunity. Each voyage has a unique course offering based on the expert faculty and the regions on the itinerary.

Our courses are offered at the undergraduate level and are accredited by Colorado State University. We offer 70-72 courses on a voyage, and students sailing with us enroll in four courses earning 12 credits by the end of the semester. Courses are taught both in the classroom on board the ship and through organized and independent fieldwork in the visited countries.

For more information on specific courses, visit your voyage page.

Find Your Voyage

View Frequently Offered Courses

Learning Cohorts

You may apply to participate in a learning cohort as part of your Semester at Sea experience. Semester at Sea currently offers two cohorts: 1) Social impact (the Chapman Impact Cohort); and 2) the Engineering Cohort. We encourage all engineering majors and students interested in the Chapman Impact program to indicate their interest when submitting their admission application.

Learn more:

Chapman Impact Cohort

Engineering Cohort

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An Academic Community of Experts

The Semester at Sea experience is fueled by the best and brightest minds in education, giving students unparalleled access to faculty, staff, in-country experts, and unique experiences.

  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Interport Lecturers & Students


At the core of the Semester at Sea academic experience is a team of innovative, stimulating educators who are passionate about international education. Our voyages include faculty who are internationally recognized experts in our varied fields of study on Semester at Sea voyages. Our faculty are selected not only for their accomplishments in the field but also for their excellent teaching skills and ability to connect with students both inside and outside of the classroom. With the world as their classroom, Semester at Sea professors teach in a global context and excel in the field of experiential learning.


The shipboard Semester at Sea voyage staff focuses on developing a dynamic and synergistic relationship between academic instruction and co-curricular learning. Our voyage staff includes a student life team, medical and mental health team, and an in-country field team.

Interport Lecturers & Students

Interport lecturers and students are visiting members of the shipboard community that join a voyage for 1-2 segments between countries.rnrnInterport lecturers vary each voyage and can include experts in the upcoming country or region, entrepreneurs, diplomats, authors, and artists. They offer guest lectures, give interactive presentations about cultural or geographical topics of significance, participate in informal discussions over meals, host crash courses in local languages, and inspire students toward future career paths. Interport students are typically also enrolled in university and are natives of the country into which the ship is sailing. While onboard, they attend classes alongside Semester at Sea students and help orient voyagers to the unique and diverse cultural elements of their home country.

In-Country Experiences

Experiential learning, exploration, and discovery are at the heart of the Semester at Sea experience. Our time in country offers opportunities for students to experience various aspects of what a country has to offer.

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Academic Field Classes

Each Semester at Sea course (with the exception of Global Studies) has one required, uniquely designed, day-long Field Class that takes place in one of the countries during the voyage. These Field Classes are developed by the professors to apply concepts from their course to real-life situations through meetings and activities with local experts and organizations. On these all-inclusive programs, students spend one day in the field with their professor and classmates, experiencing their course content in action and coming to life. For more information about individual Field Classes, visit the Courses page within each voyage page.

Find Your Voyage

Field Programs

Outside of required Field Classes, voyagers have the option of participating in Semester at Sea-designed Field Programs or planning their own travel experiences.

With your spirit of discovery and safety in mind, Semester at Sea Field Programs maximize your resources while providing unique insights, grand adventures, and a lifetime of memories!

Field Programs are co-curricular in-country experiences built on strong relationships with local partners. While prioritizing safety, Field Programs generate awareness, build deeper understanding, and facilitate meaningful action in the areas of environmental stewardship, community and family engagement, social equity and access, pathways to the past (history understanding), and human expression and the arts.

  • Field Programs can be one day, multi-day, or all the way up to the full port stay.
  • Programs are available exploring both the port city, as well as various areas (rural and urban) throughout the port countries.
  • All transportation, accommodations, and most meals are included.
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Field Program Benefits
  • Make the most efficient use of your resources.
  • Participate in responsible and sustainable tourism.
  • Gain access to experiences you cannot create on your own.
  • “Be here now.” Stay engaged in the present without worrying about planning what’s next.
  • Have peace of mind — safety is always our top priority. And, if there is an itinerary change or delay, Semester at Sea does all the rescheduling work.
  • Your new best friends await.

Hear From Past Voyagers

Read More Student Stories

Before embarking on my SAS journey I had no idea just how intense college courses would be. I am so grateful that I decided to do this program before entering my first year of college. It really provided me with an idea of what to expect in the fall.

My experiences prepared me for life, not just for college. After SAS, I was academically, socially and emotionally more than ready for college…I realized several aspects of my personality, and during SAS, my true personality showed up, and I was exposed to a whole new spectrum of myself…I loved it so much that I came back for another voyage, and I’m positive that I will sail again in future, not just once, but multiple times. MV Explorer is home for me.

One of the most valuable things I took away from my experience was the relationships I made aboard the MV Explorer, some of which I continue to connect with. They were all current college students, and offered me great advice when I began my freshman orientation during the fall after my summer voyage.

We learned a lot [about] how to live with others who are completely different [from each other] and still have respect and a lot of fun together and still hold our friendship until this day.

On SAS, I had the opportunity to feel a bond and closeness with people with whom I wouldn’t have otherwise had a connection. I learned about their lives, their children’s lives, their daily struggles, their most significant times of joy and began to really care. As I traveled, I became more connected not only to the people I met, but all people everywhere. We are all the same and every human life is important.

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Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.

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Academic Life on Semester at Sea (2024)
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