Semester by the Sea 2024: Information & Logistics

If you’ve been selected for Semester by the Sea at the Darling Marine Center, congratulations and welcome! This web page highlights what you can expect and what is expected of you at the DMC. 

Specific deadlines and links for necessary forms will be available soon, but are usually sent late April and submitted by early May. Failure to submit required forms on time may result in the student’s removal from the roster to be replaced by someone on the wait list.

Costs to Consider

There is an $850 course fee attached to SMS 350, which covers expenses for all the SBS courses in which a student participates, except for SMS 324, Scientific Diving, which requires an additional $850 for materials and certifications. Estimated Room & Board costs for 2024 are as follows:

Double room: $3147, Triple room: $2517. Due to limited space, single rooms are unlikely to be available, but would be prorated at $4042 for the semester. There will be a $35 laundry fee added to each housing cost, which will cover laundry for the entire semester!

Meal plan: $3442

Prerequisites & Participation

Semester by the Sea courses are open to students with sophomore year standing, or equivalent background, with one year of biology and one year of chemistry. Students admitted to the program must create a course wish list in MaineStreet. You can view Fall 2024 course offerings HERE.

When registration for the fall semester opens, Jodie Feero will enroll students. Preference will be given to those students graduating in the 2024-2025 academic year in the event that we reach enrollment capacity of 30 students.

Semester by the Sea is a residential program and all students are expected to live on campus unless the residential facilities of the Darling Marine Center are unable to support accessibility needs of an individual as determined by UMaine Student Accessibility Services and DMC staff.

Note that all SBS students are required to enroll in SBS Seminar. UMaine students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to ensure course selections fulfill their degree requirements. Non-UMaine students should contact Dr. William Ellis, Associate Director of SMS, for additional information.

Please note: Everyone must complete DMC safety training before you can begin work in the lab or field. See “Safety Training” section for more details.

If you have any questions, please contact us at dmc@maine.eduThe Programs and Communications Manager is available to help with logistics if you’d like to reach out to her directly at



About the Darling Marine Center

The DMC is the marine laboratory of the University of Maine. It was founded in 1965 upon the donation of a 127-acre farm by Ira C. Darling, a retired Chicago insurance executive, with the purpose of establishing a marine laboratory. Today the Center occupies almost 200 acres of largely wooded property bordering 2km of water frontage on the Damariscotta River.

The Center has two “campuses.” The upper campus is Ira’s old farmstead. The farmhouse and barns have been renovated and converted to offices, labs and library. The lower campus is on the waterfront and includes the flowing seawater laboratories, classrooms, dive building and dorm. There is about a half-mile between the two. A campus map is available here.


Where’s Walpole?

The DMC is located in Walpole, on the eastern shore of the Damariscotta River about six miles from the open waters of Gulf of Maine. The Damariscotta River estuary is a tidally-dominated embayment whose clean salty waters provide excellent research opportunities for DMC scientists and support a thriving aquaculture industry.

Walpole is a very small village that is part of the town of South Bristol, Maine. Walpole has its own post office and a golf course, but that’s about it! Groceries, the occasional movie and restaurants are available in the nearby town of Damariscotta, seven miles away. Brunswick, Rockland and Augusta are less than an hour’s drive and have more to offer for shopping and dining. Portland, Maine’s largest city, is 60 miles from the Center. The Midcoast area is full of opportunities to explore the outdoors, so be sure to bring your running shoes, hiking boots, bikes and binoculars.

Please consult our travel page for helpful tips on how to get here!



A typical early summer day in Maine is sunny and warm with temperatures in the high 70s to mid 80s ºF. Hot days in July and early August will undoubtedly reach well into the 90s. June is relatively cool, so bring a warm sweater for the evenings. If you are involved in substantial fieldwork, foul weather gear may be appropriate.

Maine is blessed with more than its share of biting insects (black flies, mosquitoes, and deer flies, in approximately that temporal sequence), so hats and light-weight, long-sleeved shirts and pants are useful throughout the summer.

Due to our rural location, summer nights can be dark and many people find having a flashlight handy.


Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis Policy

Alcohol is not allowed in public areas of the DMC, including the dining hall and fire-pit picnic area, without appropriate permits.  Please be responsible with your consumption.

Cannabis possession and use, regardless of form, is prohibited due to our federal funding. This includes medical cannabis.

University of Maine, including the Darling Marine Center, is a tobacco-free campus. The use of tobacco and all smoking products is prohibited in university building and on university-owned property, including parking areas, walkways, and university-owned vehicles. Tobacco use by definition includes the possession of any lighted tobacco products, or the use of any type of smokeless tobacco.



You are allowed to bring your car to the DMC. No parking permits necessary, but we do ask for the make and model of your vehicle on the general information form and emergency contact form.


Internet Access

Wireless Internet access is available across campus. UMaine students should be able to access the network without problem utilizing the eduroam network, information for setting up the “eduroam” network for UMaine students can be found HERE.  If you are from another college university, you can access the Internet via the UMS Guest network when you first arrive and once you are settled-in, we’ll get you on the full network. Two common use computers are available in the DMC library.


SCUBA Divers

SMS 324, Scientific Diving, requires instructor permission to register and has several prerequisites. Note that there is an additional $850 course fee for SMS 324, which covers course materials and certifications. Due to staffing changes, specific details are subject to shift.

Feel free to contact the Interim Diving Safety Officer at for more information.


Safety Training

A mandatory orientation meeting and basic safety training session will take place immediately after breakfast on the first day of the semester, at 8:30am in Brooke Hall. 

The first week, there will be a mandatory vessel operations/waterfront safety training session. All SBS students must attend. 

Each SBS class is assigned a full day for teaching, allowing for longer lectures, labs and field trips. The location or time of a class may change to take advantage of tides or special lab needs. 


Mailing Address & Phone Number

The DMC gets daily service from the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx. If you need to have items delivered to the DMC your address will be:

“your name”
Internship Program
Darling Marine Center
193 Clarks Cove Road
Walpole, ME  04573

DMC main phone number is 207.563.8144. In case of an emergency, family members can dial extensions to the administration at 563.8220 and 563.8202. Staff at these extensions are often at their desks during work hours and can relay messages. The Outreach and Residential Life Coordinator at 207.735.6837 lives in the dorm and can be reached off hours, as well as our Facilities Manager at 563.8192.


Room & Board: 

Arrival and Departure
Housing assignments will be posted in Brooke Hall. You DO NOT need to stop at the Horse Barn/Admin Building to sign in. Sam Annable, the Outreach and Residential Life Coordinator, lives in the dormitory and will be on hand to greet you when you arrive with your room assignment and key. He is also a great resource and can field many questions about the DMC. To contact, email or call/text his work phone at 207.735.6837.

You are expected to vacate your room within 24 hours of your last exam, or by 5:00pm, whichever comes first. If you need to arrive sooner or depart later please contact to see if that is possible.


Dorm Rooms
SBS students will live in Brooke Hall, our dorm and dining facility on the lower waterfront campus. Most students will be in triple occupancy rooms, and some will be in doubles (prices are adjusted based on occupancy). Each room is equipped with two sets of twin-size bunk beds, one desk, two wardrobes, and two bureaus that must be shared. Residents are responsible for keeping their rooms and common areas clean. Housekeeping supplies such as brooms and dustpans are available for your use. If you require accommodation please contact

  • One compact refrigerator, 1.8 cubic feet or smaller, is allowed in each room (NOT per person). 
  • Do not bring a microwave; one is available for use in Brooke Hall.
  • Coin operated laundry facilities are available in the dorm. 

Brooke Hall is a multi-use facility. Throughout the year various groups visit the DMC. Conferences and visiting groups are occasionally scheduled in Brooke Hall, so SBSers may periodically share the space and eat meals with other DMC guests. Please be conscious of the multi-use nature of this facility and considerate of others. Do not leave personal belongings in common areas, and be respectful of groups utilizing the dining hall and conference space.

Residents at the DMC are expected to act in accordance with the code of conduct and policies outlined in the University of Maine’s Residential Life Student Handbook. Please take special note of the following:

  • see section on Alcohol, Tobacco and Cannabis policy.
  • The possession and/or use of fireworks is prohibited on DMC property.
  • The Darling Marine Center community is committed to maintaining a respectful, fair educational and work environment, free from discrimination and harassment. We have an equal opportunity complaint procedure to deal promptly and fairly with concerns about discrimination and harassment. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Residential Life Coordinator or the DMC Director.

Upon arrival dorm residents will receive a key to their room. If this key is not returned upon departure you will be charged $85.00 for a lock replacement.


Required Meal Plan
SBS is a residential program. Students living in the dorm are required to participate in the meal plan, which includes 19 schedules meals per week. Meals are served in Brooke Hall, the same building as the dorm rooms. There is no cash allowance for off-campus food purchases and there is no cash allowance put on your MaineCard. 

Upon acceptance, you’ll receive a Residence Hall and Dining Agreement form, which will ask for dietary preferences, allergies and accommodations. Please make sure that form is filled out prior to arrival. 

SBS students are expected to be on time for meals. The DMC is a much smaller campus than Orono, so the meal plan operates differently. Unlike in Orono, where the cafeterias are open for extended periods, we have set times for meals: Breakfast: 7:30am, Lunch: noon, Dinner: 5:30pm. On the weekends Brunch is served at 11:00 and Dinner at 5:30. 

The first meal served will be breakfast on the first day of the semester. 


What to bring
Pack as you would for living on a college campus with respect to clothing and bedding (x-long twin sheets, blankets, pillows and towels). In addition, please be prepared to work in the field under inclement weather conditions. We recommend that you bring full rain gear, rubber boots, and layers of warm clothes. You may also want to bring binoculars for getting better views of seals and seabirds. Bicycles, kayaks and other recreation equipment also are encouraged.

What not to bring
DO NOT BRING:  pets, toasters, hot plates, microwave ovens, candles, or incense.

The Darling Marine Center has a long tradition of being a safe place for students. However, we cannot be responsible for your personal belongings. We suggest that you decide what to bring based on these guidelines. We view theft and vandalism as intolerable and would act swiftly and severely if such activity were to be uncovered.

General Policy: The Darling Marine Center is part of the University of Maine and we follow the same safety and residential regulations, as detailed in the online Student Handbook