Semester By the Sea

Adventurous undergraduate students convene at the Darling Marine Center for a semester of total immersion in the marine realm. Semester By the Sea (SBS) is a hands-on, field-oriented, residential program that prepares students for a career or an advanced degree in marine science. Students from throughout the University of Maine System are encouraged to apply, as are all advanced undergraduate or post baccalaureate students with a passion and background in science.

SBS courses are unique. They meet one day a week with lectures, labs and field trips scheduled around the tides. Ready access to a myriad of marine environments and faculty mentors makes the DMC is the perfect venue for capstone and honors projects. A wide range of courses in marine ecology and biology, fisheries science, microbiology and oceanography are offered each year. The options vary from year to year, but include a selection of the following:

  • Undergraduate Seminar (required for all SBS students)
  • Marine Ecology
  • Biology of Marine Invertebrates
  • Ecology of Zooplankton and Ichthyoplankton
  • Introduction to Research Diving
  • Marine Fisheries Ecology
  • Estuarine Oceanography
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Independent Study/Capstone Research

Full course descriptions can be found here.

These fall semester courses are offered as the Semester By the Sea program. Students must take at least 12 credits to be a full-time student in the SBS program. The only required course is the one-credit SBS Undergraduate Seminar. Other courses can mix and matched for a custom curriculum. SBS students pay the normal University of Maine tuition and fees plus a $850 program fee. The program fee is attached to the SBS seminar class. There is an additional course fee for SMS 324, Introduction to Research Diving, which covers course materials and certifications.

SBS is a residential program. SBS students live and take meals in Brooke Hall, the waterfront dormitory/dining facility at the Darling Marine Center. Requests to live off campus will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Costs of room and board are based on those charged for double occupancy and full meal plan at the University of Maine.

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.

Prerequisites & Participation
Semester by the Sea is open to students with sophomore-year standing, or equivalent background, with one year of biology and one year of chemistry. Though most of our students hail from the UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, SBS is open to students from other University of Maine System campuses and outside institutions.

Twenty-eight students are admitted for the SBS program each fall. Students are accepted on a first come first serve basis in the order their completed online application form is received, with preference given to seniors in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences. Once the class roster reached 28 students, a waiting list will be started.

Students admitted to the program must create a course wish-list in MaineStreet. When registration for the fall semester opens, Jodie Feero will enroll students based on class rank in the order their application was received.

2021 Dates to Remember

  • Applications open Fall 2020
  • Fall 2020 – Informational sessions with SBS faculty; available upon request. Contact Dr. Heather Leslie, DMC Director, for details.
  • Early February – SBS 2021 informational meeting and pizza party in Aubert Hall, in Orono. All interested students are encouraged to attend.
  • March 15 – Deadline for completing online application form.
  • Late March – Notification of acceptance to SBS and course enrollment
  • April 1 – SBS 2020 students receive welcome letter and forms from the Darling Marine Center
  • April 20 – Deadline for completion of all SBS/DMC forms. Students are expected to complete and submit all materials on time. Failure to do so will remove a student from the roster and a wait listed student will be moved into that seat.

For SBS academic information contact:
Dr. William Ellis  •  •  207.581.4360
Jodie Feero  •  •  207.581.4851

For DMC facility and research opportunity information contact:
Dr. Heather Leslie  • •  207.563.8299

Matthew Norwood  • •  207.563.8220