Program Admission

Expedition Admission

The Science Ship™ is an adventure of a lifetime. It is grounded in comprehensive academic coursework using problem-based experiences with scientists at sea. The experience is transformative and multidisciplinary learning that encompasses science, seamanship, history, culture studies, and policy. The program addresses critical environmental issues, such as, oceans; rainforests; lands; water; climate change; sustainability; biodiversity; human impacts on the environment; and environmental justice.

Morning Star Full Sail II


Application forms are electronic and completed on-line. Paper applications are available by download and can be submitted by mail. We will accommodate program preferences whenever possible. However, due to space availability, research topics, staffing, time of year and climatic conditions your preference cannot be guaranteed. Please refer to the website "expedition calendar" (coming soon) for updated schedules & dates. We only can accommodate 30 students per expedition. You can apply as early as two years in advance. Early application improves your chances of acceptance and placement in your preferred program. We review all applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each class is full or until the application deadline has passed.


Applications must be submitted with all required materials by expedition deadline times in order be considered. Deadlines can be found in the "Expedition Calendar".

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance option are located at our web page under the "Educational Resources" menu. Tuitions can also be acquired through student loans, Pell Grants, Plus Loans, Institutional Grants and Corporate Sponsors. Sponsor and Grant awards are made after all required documents have been received and you have been admitted to the program. However, you should begin the application process early and submit your supporting documents. Check with you college’s financial aid administrator regarding federal, state, institutional and/or other applicable grants & loans. Questions?

Contact Us at: or if you have an account use the support portal

Helpful Web sites:, and


Every high school and college has its own set of rules governing where and when a student may study off-campus for credit. It is important to check with your school district and study abroad office about required documents.

  1. Tuitions

Tuitions are due 90 days prior to departure. In the event of a cancellation Shore Lab Discovery Center will make every effort to fill your slot but for whatever reason we are not able to do so we will refund 75% of the tuition and none of the handling costs.

  1. Risk Assessment

The expedition goes through an analysis of all the hazards present for the expedition. Everything is considered: from transportation hazard, diseases and wild animals to weather conditions. We evaluate the expedition based on our previous experience prior to undertaking the trip. A safety officer e will accompany each expedition. A plan for handling unexpected emergencies is developed for each expedition.

  1. Expedition Dates

Dates conform to the school semester and seasonality. Research projects may be subject to climatic conditions, staff availability, ocean conditions and political climate. Some projects can run at any time of the year. Schedules for expeditions are provided early enough in the school year for educators and scientists to decide in which expeditions they would like to participate.

  1. Expeditions

Expedition factors are: Is the area safe for travelers? Will students, scientists and filmmakers be interested in this research? Will the expedition be enjoyable traveling to this particular corner of the world? Will the knowledge gained impact student views and knowledge concerning the value of science thought in the learning process? What importance does the expedition play in science literacy? Will a documentary be of significant value to science and to viewers?

Expeditions are both local and international.  International expeditions require a Doctor’s physical, a valid passport and all required immunizations. Participants who will be using scuba equipment must be certified by American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS). Certifications will be provided to qualifying participants by staff and our authorized agents. Participants are responsible to bring a supply of any medications they are taking that will last the length of the trip. We will have a ship’s doctor and nurse on long voyages and a nurse for short trips. All meals, rooms and lodgings will be provided.  Special dietary needs will be met, provided that we are given sufficient notice.

  1. Determining Price

Pricing for an expedition has several factors: coursework, travel time, destination, transportation, insurance, food, cost of research and equipment, permits, ship operations and staff.

  1. Annual Review

Each year, we review our portfolio to make sure that it is in align with our mission and provides a meaningful and exciting experience. Scientists, educators and filmmakers also have the chance to think about what new topics are relevant to their research and documentaries. By constantly evaluating our expeditions, we insure that we provide the best experience possible and that we continue to answer the most critical questions about our planet’s future.

  1. Insurance

Travel medical and emergency evacuation insurance for each expedition is automatically included. This insurance includes coverage for medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and emergency evacuation due to a security issue or natural disaster while on expedition. Coverage is valid for the duration of the expedition and excludes travel to and from the expedition. Governing laws in each country differ and policies may be specific to each region. Coverage includes personal accident, medical expenses and repatriation, evacuation and some coverage for personal property. This policy does not cover emergency evacuation within one’s country of residence and any travel costs such as trip cancellation or curtailment or personal liability insurance. One-day programs are not covered by this policy, instead they are covered by Shore Lab Discovery Center's General Liability policy. This coverage is subject to the limitations, restrictions and exclusions stated in the policies wording and is subject to change without prior notice. We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance to cover any expenses resulting from cancellation or from withdrawal, including airline tickets, change fees or other travel costs, special clothing and equipment, visa, passport and vaccination fees, or other expenses related to the experience. The insurance provider is Lloyd’s of London.

Academic Credit

Depending on the coursework and expedition students can earn between 12-18 semester hour credits through participating universities. Programs are designed to fit into students' high school, undergraduate, graduate or post doctorate coursework. Consult with your school counselor and Shore Lab Discovery Center staff to find the best program that benefits your academic career.

Program credits are issued either as direct credit from a student's home institution or as transfer credit from participating universities. It is important that each student consult with their academic advisor to determine how course credits will be applied.

We recommend that you discuss your study plans with your study abroad office and/or academic advisor to make sure of any additional requirements and procedures. We Shore Lab Discovery Center and The Science Ship applications from all students' both domestic and international.

Please contact us at for participating Universities.

Application Checklist

  1. 1. Completed application form: All application forms, medical records, essays, references, permissions, passports, immunization and vaccination records, copy of insurance documents, special requirements and payments.

  2. 2. Payments: Submit a $50 application fee with all application documentation. Expedition payments can be made in installments but must be paid in full 60 days prior to departure. Applications are not considered complete and we cannot guarantee you a position on the ship without all documents and payments. Should you withdraw from the expedition, a 25% non refundable fee will be assessed based on your individual tuition collected. Payments can be made electronically on this web page or by check. Insure that all electronic payments have your name attached.

  3. Make check payable to Shore Lab Discovery Center (please write applicant’s name on the check) and mail to:

  4. Shore Lab Discovery Center
    Attention: Expeditions
    P.O. Box 901
    Brandon Florida 33509

  5. 3. In your own words: Tell us why you want to participate in The Science Ship™ program, why you want to be a crew member on the RV Morning Star Explorer, what can you contribute and what do you expect to gain from your experience? How will the The Science Ship™ program complement your education?

  6. 4. Transcripts: Official College or High School transcripts must be provided. Hard copies must remain sealed and be sent directly from your institution to:

  7. Shore Lab Discovery Center

  8. Attention: Expeditions
    P.O. Box 901
    Brandon, FL 33509

  9. 5. References: Two academic references are required. One should be from an academic advisor and one reference should come from someone who has instructed you in his/her class. Submit a personal references in addition to the professional references, please include them with your application at time of submission.

  10. 6. Interview: An interviews is required and will be conducted over the phone or in person. Interviewers will include educators, scientists, crew and past participants. Interview topics are designed to gauge your readiness to participate in our program.

  11. 7. Program Approval: It is incumbent on you to ensure that you go through the appropriate channels at your school for off-campus study and credit transfer.

8. Passport: A valid passport is required for every expedition, even those without international port stops. The passport must be issued at least 90 days prior to departure and valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the date of entry to any foreign country. It must not be due to expire during the course of international expeditions. Mail us a copy of your passport prior to start of expedition. If you do not have a passport, apply immediately as it takes 4-6 weeks to process. You must inform us if you are not a U.S. citizen. You will also need to find out if visas are needed for your port stops.

9. Financial Aid: If you plan to apply for need-based, scholarship or internship, submit your request with your application for admission. If you plan to apply for merit scholarships, please note the application deadline for your preferred semester.

10. Medical Records: Your participation in the program is contingent upon medical clearance. You must have a complete physical no more than 180 days prior to your program. You must provide confirmation from your physician. It is extremely important to communicate any needs for special accommodations.

It is important that we know any condition that may pose a complication for your participation in the program. We can accommodate most medical conditions. All health issues should be brought to the attention of our medical officer or doctor so we have available the resources to render treatment if necessary.

Please notify us if any changes in your health occur between the time of your physical exam and the beginning of your program. If you require regular medication, please work with your doctor and insurance company to ensure that you have a good supply.


12. Vaccinations & Immunizations: We require a list and verification of the vaccinations and immunizations you have received. Vaccinations are not usually required for most places our ship travels. Some expeditions may require additional immunizations. Make sure your U.S. vaccinations and immunizations are up to date. We recommend consulting with your doctor about destinations and voyage tracks. Also consult the Centers for Disease Control for suggestions & recommendations.

13. Insurance verification: Shore Lab Discovery Center does not carry medical insurance for students and accepts no liability for medical costs. You MUST have coverage for sickness, accident and hospitalization on shore as well as at sea. On most expeditions, at least one foreign port will be visited; subsequently, it is imperative that your coverage extends to foreign areas. Be sure the information provided is current and complete.

Field Program Admission

Parameters for field programs are similar to "Expeditions" with a few differences and qualifications. Additional parameters for "Field Programs" can be found under the "Education Programs" menu. Use the "Expedtion Admission form to apply.


Expedition and Field Program Admissions