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In what ways will I benefit from this program?

Outside of the academic credit toward your Bachelor's Degree, you will have the opportunity to function successfully as part of a team, to challenge yourself to achieve your potential intellectually and physically, to meet distinguished scientists and authors, and to experience a rigorous and exciting semester that just might change your view on life!

By combining the Coastal Studies Semester with an additional three-week Coastal Studies Field Experience course, you can fulfill all the requirements of a minor in Coastal Studies.

There are many programs out there that will take me to coastal environments, why should I enroll in this one?

The Coastal Studies Semester is unique in many ways! An important component of this program is that it does not stay in one locale as other programs may. As a participant in this program, you will see and study many coastal habitats. You will live and study at several nationally-known coastal research facilities and meet a variety of people who work on environmental issues along our coast. You will be introduced to the most up-to-date methods and technology in use at these facilities. Although the Coastal Studies Semester focuses on environmental science as other programs do, its approach is different in that it is broad-based with an interdisciplinary emphasis. The curriculum mixes the study of culture and society with science and technology for a truly multidisciplinary approach to learning.

Do I have to be a student at Hood College to enroll?

While the Coastal Studies Semester is primarily an offering for Hood students it is open to college students enrolled at any academic institution. How to apply — Students from other Campuses.

Is the program designed for students in a certain major?

No. The Coastal Semester is designed for undergraduate students of at least sophomore status; a declared major in the natural sciences is not necessary. In fact, having students from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of interests will only broaden the perspectives and experiences we will encounter on our travel semester!

How can I receive a Coastal Studies minor?

The Coastal Studies minor encompasses a set of four required courses and two electives.  The required courses and one elective will be offered in a completely block-scheduled manner during the Fall Coastal Studies Semester.  The additional electives will be offered during January and summer session that require extensive travel to a coastal location to study the environmental issues of that locale. Click here for additional course descriptions

How many credits do I receive?

Upon successful completion of all the courses in the Coastal Studies Semester, you will receive academic credit equivalent of from 16 to 17 semester hours of credit from Hood College.

If you are enrolled at a college other than Hood, will the credits transfer back to my home institution?

In most cases, the credits will transfer back to your home institution. It is ultimately up to your home institution to accept these credits. You should check with your college's registrar to find out the procedures for transferring credits. The Coastal Studies Semester staff will be happy to assist in this process by supplying course syllabi or any other information required by your college.

What are the prerequisites?

At a minimum, all participants need to have satisfied a freshman-level writing requirement and have taken at least one college-level, lab-science course. If you are not sure if you have the appropriate background, please contact the Coastal Studies Semester Coordinator to discuss this matter.

Can you tell me more about the courses?

Students will be enrolled in four interrelated courses and a research practicum. Click here for descriptions and a list of Fall 2011 courses.

What is the research practicum?

The semester-long research project will tie together issues that you and your fellow students will delve into at various sites along the East Coast. You will not only perform the research, but will also analyze the results and then present the findings at a symposium at Hood College in the fall or perhaps a scientific conference if one is in the region.

How many students can enroll in the Coastal Studies Semester?

Between 12 and 14 students will be accepted into this program each fall.

How will we take care of meals, laundry, cleaning, and other chores?

While on the Hood Campus you will be residing in the dormitory and eating at the dining hall as you would during a normal semester. If you subscribe to a college meal plan your fee will be adjusted for the days you are not on campus while traveling with the Coastal Studies Program. During the travel portion of the program (approximately 30 days) you will be involved in a communal living situation which requires teamwork and advance planning. Tasks will be assigned to groups of students on a rotating basis. We will then work together to complete these essential jobs.

Will I be able to participate in campus activities during the semester?

During the non-travel portion of the semester you should be able to participate in variety of campus clubs and organizations as well as take part in social events.  If you are planning on joining an athletic team, it is advised that you examine the Coastal Studies Semester Calendar for specific travel dates and consult with your coach before making a commitment.

Can family and friends visit me during the program?

Family and friends are welcome to visit while the program is on the Hood Campus. Unfortunately, this will not be possible during the travel component of the program. Our group will often be working in the field, making day trips, or in class, so we will not have much time for visiting. Unlike a typical college semester, we will have no regularly scheduled free time, and will frequently have weekend and evening activities. Also, accommodations are often limited at field stations. It is suggested that you review the Coastal Studies Semester Calendar for specific travel dates.

Are there required textbooks for the program?

Yes. Hood students will receive course syllabi containing a list of textbooks available at the Hood College Bookstore.  Students from other campuses will receive a list of books and how to purchase them in the program acceptance packet.

How are students graded?

Students will receive a grade for each of the four courses as well as for the research practicum. A variety of written assignments, hands-on projects, discussions, exams, and other participatory activities will form the basis of each evaluation.

Are there any health precautions that I should take?

The program offers no undo health risks. However, we will be living in tight quarters for several days at a time. We strongly suggest you have current inoculations including a flu shot.

Can I bring my own vehicle?

No, the Coastal Studies Semester has vans for group travel.

How much luggage can I bring?

Because of space limitations, we advise that students pack as lightly as possible, bringing only essential items with them. Packing in soft-sided luggage (duffel bags) is required.

How do I get an application?

Hood students will have to fill out a registration card and have it signed by their adviser. Then see the Coastal Studies Program Director for his signature before hand-carrying it to the registrar's office to register in person.  You cannot register for the program electronically.  There is no Coastal Studies Program application form for Hood students.  Your registration card is sufficient.

Students from other campuses can download an application from the Coastal Studies website or request that these items be sent to you by contacting the Coastal Studies Semester office at, or 301-696-3652301-696-3652.


Questions pertaining to Coastal Studies Field Experiences

Are swimming skills mandatory?

We will spend much of our time on, in, or near the water. To be able to fully participate in all activities, you will need to be able to swim.  

Will we snorkel or SCUBA dive on this trip?

We will do some snorkeling as a group (previous snorkeling experience is not necessary) as part of the South Florida and Tropical Marine Ecology Field Experiences.  We will not do any SCUBA diving, but you are welcome to make your own arrangements for this activity during your free time.  

Will we be on boats?

We will be on a variety of watercraft, from small sea kayaks to large research vessels at various times during the field experience.  

Is air travel required as part of this program?

Yes, air transportation is a necessity for the Coastal Studies Field Experiences to South Florida and the Bahamas. 

Will I need a passport?

If you are from the United States you do not need a passport for the South Florida Field Experience. Foreign students should have a Visa and proof of citizenship. If however, you elect to take the Tropical Marine Ecology Field Experience to Sal Salvador, Bahamas, a passport is required.