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Semester at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED 2011 level 5)


Duration 1 semesters
Cost $20,000

Semester at WHOI (SAW) is an undergraduate residential “study-away” opportunity at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA, on Cape Cod. The program features a for-credit, semester-long research experience directly advised by a WHOI scientist or engineer as well as the opportunity to take graduate-level courses modified for undergraduate credit. The combination of research project and coursework constitute a full semester of credit that is transferable to the student's home institution. SAW is particularly well suited for students who are considering an advanced degree in ocean science or engineering and related fields in the earth sciences.


The cornerstone of the SAW program is a semester-long, for-credit, independent research project conducted under the guidance of a WHOI scientist or engineer. All WHOI researchers who are prospective SAW advisors have prior experience hosting REU students in their laboratories and understand the needs of a student working to define and complete a project in a specific period of time.

» SAW research projects
» WHOI Areas of Research
» Departments, Centers, and Labs


SAW students have the opportunity to take one or two ocean science courses designed specifically for the program and can also choose from a small number of graduate courses that are modified so they can be offered for undergraduate credit.

» Course Offerings
» MIT-WHOI Joint Program

Important Dates

**SAW suspended for Fall 2020 due to COVID-19, but this is typical schedule**

April 30: Application deadline
September 8: Registration and orientation
September 9: First day of classes
October 12: Columbus Day, no classes
November 11: Veterans Day, no classes
November 26-27: Thanksgiving break
December 10: Last day of classes
December 14-18: Final exams

Structural components
Ship training
Industry partners
Internship/Workplace experience
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work

Application procedure

Requirements and application information can be found here.

Grant opportunities

Tuition assistance is available. Past awards have ranged from $5,000 to $10,000. Please contact with questions.

WHOI cannot accept federal financial aid transfers from your home institution, but it may be possible for FAFSA, Stafford, Pell and/or other scholarships to be given to you from your home institution, and then you would pay the "study-away" program (e.g., SAW Program). Please check with your home institution. Many home institutions will also require completion of a Contractual Agreement.  Please discuss your interest in participating in the Semester at WHOI with your school’s Financial Aid Office, and contact for additional information.


Offered for juniors or seniors majoring in science, engineering or mathematics.

ISCED Categories

Personal skills and communication
Project management
Marine Geology
Physical and chemical oceanography
Scientific modelling