Scroll down for a summary or click on headings above for details. Full Course Syllabus >>
The SES program emphasizes learning by doing -- students spend over 20 hours each week in the lab and field investigating forests, ponds and estuaries on Cape Cod. Virtually all ecosystems have been impacted by human activity, and so this is also a curriculum about how human-caused changes in the environment are affecting the globe.

Core course lectures cover both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems from the point of view of biogeochemistry and important ecological processes. Course research takes place in local ecosystems -- ponds and estuaries within the Waquoit Bay watershed adjacent to Vineyard Sound, West Falmouth Harbor on Buzzards Bay, and the town forest at the municipal sewage treatment plant.

Aquatic course and field site >> Terrestrial course and field site >>

In addition to the Core Courses, SES students take one elective which meets twice a week. The elective is intended to deepen understanding in a specific sub-discipline of ecosystems science. Choose from Aquatic Chemistry, Ecosystems Dynamics, Global Ecology, Human-dominated Ecosystems, Mathematical Modeling, Microbial Methods.
Electives details>>
The structured laboratory experiences and techniques of the core courses and electives set the stage for the most rewarding part of the SES program, the projects. During the last five weeks of the course, students will be able to devote full time to a project of their choosing.
View previous projects and details >>>

A number of distinguished scientists are invited to give lectures and meet with SES students each year. It is an opportunity for students to hear from some of the country's top practitioners and to find out about their research and current concerns. During the visit of each of these scientists, the SES students are able to question them closely about everything from basic science to environmental problems to the availability of graduate programs. Previous speakers and details >>

SES students all take part in a seminar that introduces the art of science writing. This is taught by our writer-in-residence and several professional science journalists with the goal of illustrating how the results of scientific investigations can be transmitted to the larger reading audience in ways that catch their interest and educate. Students will write a profile of one of the distinguished scientists based on an interview. With this and other programs at the Marine Biological Laboratory, we hope to begin training a new generation of writers conversant in science who can communicate about critical environmental issues with the public.
Previous writing projects and details >>

Because of the diversity of curricula at the schools participating in the Environmental Science Consortium, we are providing a description of the knowledge we hope students will have, rather than specific course requirements. We have grouped these under three categories: Biological Science, Chemistry and Mathematics. Students who are deficient in a given area may still qualify for entrance in the program at the discretion of the on-campus advisor and selection committee.
View detailed prerequisites >>