Nantucket Field Station

Research in Action

Maps & Directions


The Nantucket Semester

Since 2013, the NFS has run a semester of placed-based, hands-on courses primarily for Environmental Science or Biology students but the program is open to any students with an interest in the the environment. The 16 credit semester offers students a customized curriculum focused on ecology and environmental sciences as well as Nantucket history and culture. The courses offer a combination of classroom time, field research and lab techniques. Coursework have been taught at the Nantucket Atheneum, Maria Mitchell Nature Center, the Greenhound building, and the entire island. In addition, students have done independent field work at the UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station's laboratory, located off Polpis Road.  As well as with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Maria Mitchell,  and Linda Lorning Nature Center and more.

Sponsors, making a significant contribution:

UMass Boston

UMass Boston School for the Environment

UMass Boston College of Science and Mathematics
UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station
Nantucket Atheneum
Nantucket Yacht Club

On Island groups who are contributing discounts and providing space:

Preservation Institute : Nantucket
Maria Mitchell Association
Seadog Brew Pub
Queequegs (John Keene)
Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror
Starlight Theatre
African Meeting House, Museum of African American History
Rose and Crown
Mitchell's Book Corner
Nantucket Health Club
Petticoat Row Bakery
Dreamland Theatre 

UMass Boston has offered summer college credit courses at the field station off and on since the late 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s UMass Boston also offered a program during the school year called the "Semester on Nantucket," which were classes in English and Nantucket History taught by Nantucket historian Edouard Stackpole, and UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station naturalists Clint Andrews and Wes Tiffney.


Summer Courses at NFS

Each summer, UMass Boston offers several courses from May until August. These courses often feature field work that allows participants to use the island’s natural resources to investigate classroom topics.

In most cases, housing at the field station or at Gouin Village is included in course fees; students provide their own meals and transportation to and from Nantucket. Cost varies yearly. If you are taking the course and do not need housing, a discount in fees may be available.

In Summer 2015, a new UMass Boston Nantucket Field Station summer class will be offered: HIST 276 : This Land is Your Land: A Survey of U.S. Environmental History. Course description: "From the Dust Bowl to current global climate change, from Hoover Dam to acid rain, from the 1927 Mississippi flood to Hurricane Katrina, from Native American agriculture to the recent Farm Bill, this class studies how people have used and changed the North American environment from the colonial era to the present. Through discussion, exams, and essays, students will master historical material and build skills in document analysis and written argument.  The Nantucket environment will shape our class throughout.  Through walks, public presentations, and independent research, students will use examples from Nantucket Island to learn about national trends.  This class does not require a background in history. Science majors and first-year students welcome."

Summer on Nantucket

Study and research on Nantucket Read More 

Spring Semester on Nantucket

A semester of course work and research Read More