About the ESS

Rooted in both experiential and immersion education, the entire Environmental Science Semester program occurs off campus from day of launch through the last final exam and project. ESS students are enrolled in a full-time load consisting of four courses–Climate Change and Glacial Geology, Marine Ecology, Oceanography, and Field Methods.

Founded in 2014, the ESS experience creates a transformative educational experience by having students study and conduct Environmental Science in the field for two continuous months.

Over the course of the program, students travel over a thousand miles across two countries, three states, and six Maine islands as they gather and interpret data from unique field sites. Beginning in mid-August, the ESS travels to New Hampshire’s White Mountains to view the effects of alpine glaciation, then to eastern Maine, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick investigating evidence of both ice age and tropical climates. Students travel to Cape Cod and to the southern coast of Maine for studies of ecosystem interactions in the marine environment. Finally, in October, students plumb the depths of the Gulf of Maine (i.e., study oceanography) from a historic Maine schooner.


Learn more about the Environmental Science Semester program or read about their Oceanography experience on the historic schooner in a Portland Magazine article.