Take a journey…

Our Mission

The Williams-Mystic program educates undergraduate students in a semester-long academic investigation of the sea that is accompanied by travel throughout the United States and original research opportunities.

At a Glance

Our courses—your courses—are hands-on, discussion-based, and emphasize original research: it’s not unusual to be on a boat, at the beach, or immersed in Mystic Seaport’s vast historical collections for class. You’ll study marine science, maritime history, maritime literature, and marine policy, which all connect with each other in our unique interdisciplinary academic approach.

Mystic, CT is your home base, but we also take learning on the road.  You’ll see America in a way that you never have before: by traveling alongside faculty and staff on three immersive, intense, and extended field seminars along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf Coasts. These hands-on, exploratory trips focus on the physical journey as a form of experiential learning.

You’ll read and discuss Steinbeck’s Cannery Row while on Cannery Row in Monterey. You’ll paddle through vanishing marshes while witnessing sea-level rise firsthand in the Mississippi Delta. You’ll have lively discussions on international trade regulations while standing on tugboats in busy ports. And while sailing offshore aboard a tall ship, you’ll experience the vastness of the ocean while acting as the ship’s crew and completing independent research.

With the nation’s largest maritime museum, Mystic Seaport, as your campus, you can learn to forge iron, navigate by the night sky, or sail independently. You’ll consider the turmoil of Captain Ahab from Melville’s Moby-Dick while sitting on the deck of the world’s last remaining wooden whaling ship. Present on a 19th-century historical artifact while actually holding it, meet leaders in the environmental and maritime worlds, live communally with other students: you’ll rediscover the ocean–and the world around you.

Take a step back and look at what we like to call The Big Picture: you’ll experience new perspectives, new horizons, and new possibilities—all in one life-changing semester.


Fast Facts About Williams-Mystic

  • The average class size is 20 students
  • We have a 4:1 student to faculty ratio
  • There are 5 coffee shops within a 1 mile radius of our Mystic campus
  • You have a 100% chance of climbing aloft on a tall ship
  • There are 6 boats that make up our fleet of student-accessible boats
  • We were established in 1977
  • Moby-Dick, one of the required reading texts, is made up of 135 chapters
  • Our alumni network is over 1,600 and growing!
  • You’ll travel approximately 657 miles on the Pacific Coast field seminar
  • 71% of Earth’s surface is water
  • There are 0 study away programs like Williams-Mystic