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Apply now for $2,000 Research Assistant or $3,000 Research Associate roles 

Help the 60-year-old Semester at Sea program research and reimagine our brand in Spring 2024. Selected applicants will begin their role once accepted and will receive a research scholarship as a part of their role. 

The Institute for Shipboard Education is seeking a small number of qualified students to sail as Research Assistants or Research Associates on the Spring 2024 Voyage of Semester at Sea. These students will participate in, organize and lead a number of research initiatives aimed at informing and shaping Semester at Sea’s new branding and positioning. 

Working in partnership with the Enrollment and Marketing leadership team at Semester at Sea, Research Assistants will serve as the organization’s eyes-and-ears during the late stages of the enrollment funnel by 1) completing 1-3 short quantitative surveys and 2) a single focus group prior to sailing on the Spring 2024 voyage. Once on board, these students will then 3) organize, take part in, and facilitate on-ship research and branding initiatives in consultation with the Vice President of Marketing and Recruitment at Semester at Sea and the organization’s new brand research agency. Those selected as research associates will 4) complete a final project and learning assessment based on their semester-long experience in the program. 

The research roles are estimated to be a 3-to-5-hour per-week obligation while on the voyage, from January-April 2024. Engagement in late 2023 (prior to sailing) will only require the completion of several short surveys and participation in one virtual focus group.  

These will be awarded on a rolling basis with the final application deadline of Dec. 2. Qualified candidates (see below) are encouraged to apply as soon as possible after submitting their Spring 2024 application. An enrollment decision is not required in order to apply for the role. Please note: selection as a research assistant or research associate will not impact other aid award decisions.  


  • Students who have or will apply for the Spring 2024 voyage between Nov. 1 – Dec. 1, 2023.
  • Given the nature of these roles, we will be seeking gap year, undergraduate, and recent college graduate students for these roles.  
  • Unweighted minimum GPA of 2.5 and in good academic standing at your home institution. 
  • Gap-year applicants and recent college graduates must graduate before January 2024.
  • Candidates will be asked to answer a short questionnaire as a part of their application in order to gauge their interest in, and qualifications for, this role.

More information:

Why is this only for students applying for Spring 2024 after Nov. 1?

Semester at Sea is currently in the midst of a brand research project with an agency partner. As a part of this work, we’re closely examining our application process. Students applying after Nov. 1 are needed because they have recently completed (or will soon complete) the application, aid and class registration process, which places them squarely in our target group for this study. 

Can I put the Research Assistant/Associate role on my resume?

Yes, students selected for these roles will be serving in a student-staff capacity on the ship while working for the division of Marketing and Enrollment at Semester at Sea. The Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment, Senior Director of Marketing, and Director of Systems and Insights will all be engaged with this group and will serve as professional references. 

What is the difference between a Research Assistant and Research Associate?

All students awarded these scholarships will all support Semester at Sea’s research effort on the SP24 voyage and document their late fall voyage preparations in fulfillment of the scholarship requirement. Students awarded the associate role will complete an additional assignment due May 20, 2024 (one month post-disembarkation). Research Associates will receive a prompt for their final assignment based on their major, research interests and skills from the Director of Systems and Insights and VP of Marketing and Enrollment. This project will be structured as a group or individual project that should take less than 25 hours to complete over the course of the voyage.  

Can I still earn merit- and need-based aid from Semester at Sea?Yes, these roles are not scholarship or grant funded awards. They are being funded by ISE. As a result, these awards do not prevent students from receiving additional need- and merit-based aid from Semester at Sea. You can use Semester at Sea’s cost calculator to get an estimated award amount.

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