Chair, Associate Professor RÓNADH COX

Advisory Committee: Associate Dean: TOOMAJIAN. Professor: ART. Associate Professors: P. MURPHY***. Assistant Professors: KOTCHEN, MERRILL*, GOLDBERG**, TING. Mystic Seaport Historian: GORDINIER.

The oceans cover almost three-quarters of the globe, and understanding them is of increasing importance in this era of climate change, sea-level rise, fisheries crises, and the internationalization of the high seas. We encourage students to investigate our WaterWorld from a variety of perspectives. Maritime Studies is an interdisciplinary, cross-divisional program that examines the literature, history, policy issues, and science of the ocean. Candidates for the concentration in Maritime Studies must complete a minimum of seven courses: the interdisciplinary introductory course (Geosciences 104 Oceanography), four intermediate core courses (at Williams-Mystic), an elective, and the senior seminar.

Students who have completed other study-away programs that emphasize marine studies should consult with the program chair about the possibility of completing the Maritime Studies concentration.


Introductory course:

Maritime Studies 104(S) Oceanography

Core courses (Williams-Mystic at Mystic Seaport):

Maritime Studies 201(F,S) America and the Sea, 1600-Present

Maritime Studies 231(F,S) Literature of the Sea

Maritime Studies 311(F,S) Marine Ecology

Maritime Studies 351(F,S) Marine Policy

(NOTE: Students who take Maritime Studies 211 Oceanographic Processes at Mystic can substitute an extra elective in lieu of Geosciences 104)

Senior seminar:

Maritime Studies 402(F) Syntheses: Senior Seminar


Elective courses are listed based on either a clear maritime statement in the course description (e.g. History 127, English 223, Geosciences 253T) or broad practical/theoretical applicability to maritime studies (e.g., Environmental Studies 102, Political Science 223, Geosciences 302). Concentrators will take a minimum of one course from among the following:

Maritime History

History 124 The Vikings

History 127 The Expansion of Europe

History 221 History of US-Japan Relations

History 249 Caribbean, Slavery to Independence

Maritime Literature

English 223 Voyages of Discovery (Deleted 2004-2005)

English 450 Herman Melville and Mark Twain

Marine Policy

Political Science 202 World Politics

Economics 213 Economics of Natural Resource Use

Economics 221 Economics of the Environment

Economics /Environmental Studies 386 Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management

Environmental Studies/Political Science 270T Environmental Policy

Environmental Studies307/Political Science 317 Environmental law

Political Science 223 International Law

Political Science 229 Global Political Economy

Political Science 328 International Politics of Oil

Political Science 349T Cuba and the United States

Marine Science

Geosciences 253T Coral Reefs (Deleted 2004-2005)

Geosciences 215 Climate Changes

Geosciences 302 Sedimentation

Biology 414 Life at Extremes


Candidates for honors in Maritime Studies will complete a thesis in their senior year. The project will involve original research (archive, museum, field, or laboratory) followed by on-campus analysis and writeup of results. This could be either a one-semester project, or a full year (two semesters plus winter study). In either case, data collection during the summer before the senior year may be necessary. In some cases, the thesis project may be a continuation and expansion of the student's Williams-Mystic research project. Honors will be awarded if the thesis shows a high degree of scholarship, originality, and intellectual insight.