courses—are hands-on, discussion-based, and place an emphasis upon original research: it’s not unusual to be on a boat, at the beach, or studying within Mystic Seaport’s vast historical collections for class. You’ll take classes in marine science, maritime history, maritime literature, and marine policy, which all connect with each other in our unique interdisciplinary academic approach.
Mystic, CT is your home base, but we also take learning on the road. You’ll see America in a way that you probably never have before: by traveling alongside faculty and staff on three immersive, intense, and extended field seminars along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts. These are hands-on, exploratory trips that focus on the physical journey as an experiential learning experience.
You’ll read and discuss Steinbeck’s Cannery Row
Cannery Row in Monterey. You’ll paddle through vanishing marshes while witnessing sea-level rise firsthand in the Mississippi Delta. You’ll have lively discussions on international trade regulations while standing on tugboats in busy ports. And while sailing offshore aboard a tall ship, you’ll experience the vastness of the ocean while acting as the ship’s crew and completing independent research.
With the nation’s largest maritime museum, Mystic Seaport, as your campus, you can learn to forge iron, navigate by the night sky, or sail independently. You’ll consider the turmoil of Captain Ahab from Melville’s Moby-Dick
while sitting on the deck of the world’s last remaining wooden whaling ship. Present on a 19th century historical artifact while actually holding it, meet leaders in the environmental and maritime worlds, live communally with other students: you’ll rediscover the ocean–and the world around you.
At Williams-Mystic, we study the world’s oceans and coastlines firsthand. We work across disciplines, exploring the history, literature, policy, and science of the sea. Our classrooms range from Mystic Seaport’s unparalleled Collections and Research Center
to our over 8,000-square foot marine science center. We also regularly travel to field sites along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coast and across the country.
Top scholars from a variety of backgrounds collaborate on our rigorous curriculum, and students conduct research in all four of their courses. At Williams-Mystic, you’ll immerse yourself in everything from Marine Policy to Maritime History to the Literature of the Sea; you’ll also conduct extensive fieldwork in Marine Ecology or Oceanography. You’ll make connections across disciplines while getting a clearer view of the big picture: the world’s oceans.
Regardless of your academic and career goals, Williams-Mystic’s approach will serve you well. It teaches you to lead and to listen, to consider and create, and to reach outside the traditional classroom. Our coursework prepares you for graduation and even graduate school (a number of our alumni’s dissertations sprang from work they did at Williams-Mystic). But it also prepares you for an engaged, meaningful life.
Learn more about our courses at the links below:
Immersive learning is at the core of a Williams-Mystic education, which is why we conduct three extended field seminars each semester. We spend ten days sailing the open ocean aboard a tall ship, and explore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts for weeks on the road. The result: we experience all three of America’s coasts within 17 weeks.
Faculty and staff join students on these field seminars, as we visit sites on off the beaten path. Professors lead labs aboard ships, holds lectures on the beach, and conduct class at historic sites across the country. From the shipping terminals of San Francisco and the center of New Orleans to the middle of the redwood forests and the open ocean, we bring our classroom with us wherever we go.