Offering a World-Class Curriculum
Semester at Sea offers an unparalleled educational program in conjunction with the University of Virginia. Courses on Semester at Sea appear as U.Va. courses, are fully accredited, and meet the generally accepted standards for transfer. The University appoints the academic dean from among their most accomplished faculty, approves all course designs, field labs and syllabi on Semester at Sea prior to sailing.
Semester at Sea offers up to 75 courses across several disciplines of study. Course syllabi reflect the expertise of the faculty member and the itinerary. For example, on voyages that travel to a specific region (such as summer voyages to the Mediterranean), you are likely to find that the “World Literature” course focuses mostly on literature from the nations visited on the itinerary, rather than the entire world.
- About 2/3 of our courses are upper-division and 1/3 are lower division.
- About 2/3 of our courses are offered on every voyage, while the remaining 1/3 of courses are unique to that voyage.
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The Global Comparative Lens Series
The distinctive feature of Semester at Sea is the opportunity it affords students to engage in global comparative education. On each voyage, Semester at Sea offers a set
of Global Comparative Lens courses that are designed to help students deepen their understanding of specific features of life and culture in the countries we visit on a given itinerary. Each course views the countries through a distinct lens—focusing on the art, music, religion, politics, environment, health, or other specific aspect of the countries we visit. These courses are designed to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to learn to think critically about their own societies and others by comparing. We ask each voyager to choose one course from among the Global Comparative Lens courses that best matches their academic interests.
Faculty design one Field Lab, or in-country educational trip, for each of their courses. A Field Lab constitutes an additional day of class and the same expectations are placed on a lab day as placed on a class day at sea. Field Labs and their respective assignments are a required part of each course and constitute approximately 20 percent of a student’s grade, as well as 20 percent of the course’s required contact hours.
- Students register for their courses and their field labs at the same time. In fact, the Semester at Sea online registration system will not allow a student to register in one and not the other.
- Participation in a Field Lab is limited to those students and lifelong learners enrolled in the companion course.
- The cost of required Field Labs is included in voyage tuition.
About Faculty-Led Trips
Voyage faculty are asked to develop at least one faculty-led trip that will be open to interested students and the entire shipboard community. Unlike the Field Lab, a Faculty-led trip is not restricted to only those enrolled in the companion course. The Faculty-Led Trip presents the opportunity both for the professor and the participant to engage in further dedicated learning and discovery in each country. While the Field Lab will unite the class with one common shared field experience, student participation in additional Faculty-Led Trips will engender lively class discussion through the contrasting port experiences.
The courses listed below are the SAS standard offerings. Syllabi will vary depending on the expertise of the faculty member and the planned itinerary. For example, on voyages that travel to a specific region (such as summer voyages to the Mediterranean), you are likely to find that the “World Literature” course focuses mostly on literature from the nations visited on the itinerary, rather than the entire world. The approved titles of the courses may change slightly from the courses listed on the standard list of courses, but the content of the course remains the same. The complete curriculum planned for each voyage will differ, but below are a sample of courses we plan to offer on upcoming voyages.
Highlighted courses are those that we try to offer on every voyage. Non-highlighted courses are those we offer on most voyages.
You should not regard the presence of a specific title on this list as a promise to offer that class on a specific upcoming voyage or to secure a seat for a specific student.