Beam Reach curriculum

This curriculum represents the core program of the Beam Reach marine science and sustainability school: a 10-week-long "voyage" for undergraduates involving 5 weeks on land at the Friday Harbor Labs and 5 weeks at sea on a sailing research vessel. The curriculum is the product of a collaborative, outcomes-based design process that has engaged the Beam Reach Academic Advisors, as well as prospective faculty, staff, and students. The design has benefited from an analysis of good precedents in marine research experiences for undergraduates.

Undergraduates who successfully complete the Beam Reach curriculum will have mastered:

  1. each step in a 10-week research collaboration with peers and a scientific mentor -- from initial questions and proposals on land, through data collection and analysis at sea, to final papers and presentations in the destination port;
  2. a basic understanding of the oceanic environment, marine ecosystems, and human interaction with the sea;
  3. assessment of sustainable technologies and practices, especially those utilized on the Beam Reach vessel, and implementation of a service project that makes a marine activity more sustainable;
  4. safe navigation and efficient operation of a sailing research vessel during a multi-week voyage; and
  5. setting and achieving personal goals, cooperating within a small group, and acting as a leader.

The adjacent links present the overall structure of the curriculum. We begin by describing the integrated curriculum, including its outcomes, assessments, and weekly schedule. We then propose how to organize the curriculum as a set of courses. For each individual course, we present a Course Outcome Guide (COG) that specifies more-detailed outcomes, assessments, and content of a particular course.

Photo by Guen Jones

Details of the curriculum: