The Living Lab: Students Sought for Semester on Nantucket

October 17, 2012

Office of Communications


UMass Boston’s harbor location makes it an ideal place for students studying environmental, earth, and ocean sciences and biology. This spring, EEOS and other students can get even more hands-on experience, studying on the living laboratory of Nantucket for a semester-long pilot residential program offered through University College.

“What makes this opportunity most exciting is that students who are interested in environmental issues will be fully immersed in environmental research and learning using the tremendous natural and cultural assets of Nantucket,” said Robyn Hannigan, chair of the EEOS department.

The university developed the concept last year in conjunction with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and ReMain Nantucket, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting a healthy, year-round community on the island. UMass Boston already has a longstanding presence on the island because of the Nantucket Field Station, a 107-acre site that includes a 40-acre salt marsh, 2,000 feet of sandy beach fronting, classrooms, laboratories, and workshop space.

The Stephen Peabody estate donated land to UMass in 1963 for the purposes of a teaching and research field station; additional acreage was donated by the late Katherine Coe Foger in 1965. The Nantucket Conservation Foundation bought the land in 2004, but the university continues to use the field station for teaching and research.

“With Nantucket's significant history and its tremendous commitment to conservation, UMass Boston and Nantucket are a perfect match,” Hannigan said.

Called the Living Lab, the customized curriculum for the semester on Nantucket includes five classes for 16 credits. The curriculum is focused on ecology, environmental sciences, and Nantucket history and culture; it includes training in cutting-edge fields such as biomimicry.

The $6,950 fee covers tuition and housing on Nantucket for the semester. The curriculum is designed for EEOS and biology majors, but all undergraduates are welcome to apply.

The deadline to apply is Friday, October 19. Students can apply online at

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit