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Marine science is the study of the marine environment and its interactions with the earth, the biosphere, and the atmosphere. It is therefore an interdisciplinary science requiring a knowledge of the principles of physics, geology and geophysics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology. A major in marine sciences provides students with a broad curriculum in the sciences, which demonstrates how the different disciplines can be brought to bear on understanding marine processes and managing ocean resources wisely.
The major prepares students for graduate work in oceanography or one of the basic disciplines, civil service careers in environmental management, employment in the many applied environmental and marine science fields, or teaching in the secondary schools.
The marine science courses emphasize improvement of oral and written communication skills and facility in accessing, reading, and understanding the current primary literature in marine sciences. Several of the courses include hands-on, experiential learning in the laboratory or the field. Students also are required to complete the experience-based education requirement with at least one semester or summer of supervised, independent research.
The program includes the following options:
Marine Biology/Biological Oceanography. This option prepares students for professional opportunities or graduate study in oceanography or the biological sciences. Concentrations within the option permit students to focus on different levels of biological organization at the molecular, cellular, organismic, community, or ecosystem level. Depending on their choice of electives, students also may fulfill the requirements of a major in the biological sciences or ecology and natural resources.
Marine Chemistry. This option prepares students for professional opportunities or graduate study in oceanography or chemistry. Depending on their choice of electives, students may also fulfill the requirements of a major in chemistry.
Marine Geology. This option prepares students for graduate study in oceanography, geology, environmental science, or an allied field, as well as for immediate employment. Depending on their choice of electives, students may also fulfill the requirements of a major in geological sciences.
Physical Oceanography. This option prepares students for graduate study in physical oceanography, meteorology, fluid dynamics, or a related field, as well as immediate employment in environmental agencies or consulting firms and technical positions in marine sciences.
Directed Marine Studies. This option prepares students for professional opportunities in oceanography, the biological sciences, and related fields. It differs from the other four options in requiring students to complete one of several minor and certificate programs offered by the School of Arts and Sciences or the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, either the Professional Writing Certificate (355), the minor in Education (300), the Certificate in Environmental Geomatics (372), the minor in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behavior (374), the minor in Fisheries Science (392) or the minor in Sustainability. This requirement is included in order to ensure that students in this option will acquire a focused set of knowledge and skills to complement their marine science studies and to help them find employment upon graduation. Students in this option would choose the minor or certificate program that fulfills part of their major requirements no later than in their fourth semester of study at the university.