WHOI  WHOI People  

Semester at WHOI

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is offering a semester-long, tuition-supported program for advanced undergraduates (juniors or seniors) majoring in science, engineering or mathematics that features a significant, for-credit research experience. The program (“Semester At WHOI” or “SAW”) is particularly well-suited for students who are planning to obtain an advanced degree in ocean sciences, ocean engineering or related fields in the geosciences. In addition to the research project overseen by a WHOI scientist or engineer, students will also have the opportunity to take one or two ocean science courses designed specifically for this program and/or choose from a small number of graduate courses that are also offered for undergraduate credit. The combination of the research project and course work will provide a full semester of credit transferable back to the students' home institution.

View course possibilities »

WHOI at a glance

WHOI is an independent, non-profit research and education institution located on Cape Cod (Massachusetts) about 70 miles south of Boston and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). WHOI’s leadership in ocean science and engineering has resulted in a long line of notable discoveries and advancements in knowledge of the ocean. WHOI research ranges from studies of the distribution and role of microbes in the marine environment, to dynamics of ocean currents and ocean mixing, to the discovery of life in the deep ocean near hydrothermal vents, to a deeper understanding of the nature and impacts of hydrocarbons in the ocean. WHOI is recognized as a world leader for developing revolutionary new tools and techniques to study the ocean, including advanced human-occupied and autonomous vehicles.

In addition to scientific research and technical innovation, education has been a critical part of WHOI’s mission for many decades. Programs include the MIT-WHOI joint graduate program in ocean science and ocean engineering with 125 students in residence; NSF- and privately-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program involving 30 undergraduates each summer; and a postdoctoral program with 80-100 postdocs in residence at any given time.  

Around Woods Hole

WHOI is located in the village of Woods Hole. Both Woods Hole and Falmouth are villages in the town of Falmouth and are located just a few miles apart. Both are resort areas in the summer, although both have the look and feel of a New England small town from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  Woods Hole is truly a “science village.” In addition to WHOI, Woods Hole hosts the Marine Biological Laboratory, Sea Education Association, regional science center of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Woods Hole Research Center and a major laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) co-located on WHOI’s Quissett Campus.

Applications

The application and application information are available from this site beginning in mid September, 2014. A rolling application process will be used for the fall, 2015 program, with the first selections based on applications received by October 6, 2014 with decisions made on those applications by October 27, 2014. Applications will continue to be accepted until April 3, 2015 or until the quota is filled. Acceptance decisions will be made approximately 3 weeks after applications are received.

Tuition

$20K to be paid prior to enrollment, with a $500 deposit required to hold a position in the program to be paid within 3 weeks of acceptance into the program. 

A limited amount of financial aid for tuition is available. Tuition awards will be based on the amount of non-government tuition aid the student receives at their home institution.

Housing

Condominium style housing is available near WHOI’s Quissett Campus. These WHOI housing units come with fully equipped kitchens. Students are expected to provide their own meals, although breakfast and lunch are available at a cost in the cafeteria on the Quissett Campus on work days. Woods Hole village also has many coffee shops and restaurants, as well as a large cafeteria at the Marine Biological Laboratory. 

Housing costs are $830 per person, per month for a shared bedroom; 2 bedrooms (4 people) per unit.

Transportation

Access to a car and/or a bicycle is helpful. WHOI provides shuttle bus service within the campus, limited bus service to local shopping centers is available, and regular bus service to/from Boston and Boston’s Logan airport are available and convenient. WHOI also provides a weekly grocery shuttle to local supermarkets for students.

Key Dates

WHOI follows the MIT academic calendar. Dates below are projections and may be adjusted when MIT announces the final 2015/2016 academic calendar.

  • September 8, 2015: Registration and orientation.
  • September 9, 2015: First day of classes.
  • October 12, 2015: Columbus Day holiday.
  • November 11, 2015: Veterans Day holiday.
  • November 26-27, 2015: Thanksgiving vacation.
  • December 10, 2015: Last day of classes.
  • December 14-18: Week of final exams.

Program Management, Oversight

WHOI has continuously hosted undergraduates for summer research experiences since 1958 and has continuously managed a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program currently exceeding 30 students each summer since 1989 using financial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other sources. WHOI’s Academic Programs Office includes a full-time Dean, part-time Associate Dean, a full-time registrar, full-time housing coordinator and a half-time coordinator for the SAW program. The program coordinator has training and experience in ocean science, and with education programs at the K-12 and undergraduate level, including WHOI’s summer REU program.  WHOI scientists and engineers who are potential laboratory hosts for the students in this program all have prior experience hosting REU students in their laboratories.  

For more information, contact education@whoi.edu and reference “semester at WHOI.

Last updated: September 4, 2014