Undergraduate Marine Science Program

Undergraduate Program Director: Gary Taghon 848-932-3249

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 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 curriculum emphasizes improvement of oral and written communication skills and facility in accessing, reading, and understanding the current primary literature in marine sciences. Many of the courses include hands-on, experiential learning in the laboratory or in field. Students also are required to complete an experience-based education requirement.

Marine Science is a credit-intensive major, available to students in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) or the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). Students are advised to declare the major as soon as possible so they can receive advice on their academic program.

Student Learning Goals 

  • To master the basic biological, chemical, physical, and geological principles of marine science and to analyze and interpret contemporary oceanographic datasets
  • To show evidence of scientific literacy, and to communicate the information effectively both orally and in writing
  • To develop and conduct an individual research project in collaboration with a scientific mentor
  • To apply concepts in marine science to contemporary global issues
  • To evaluate ethical issues in science

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 also may fulfill the requirements of a major in chemistry.

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. Students in SAS may also wish to consider the major in physics with the Ocean Physics option.

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 also may fulfill the requirements of a major in geological sciences.

Directed Marine Studies (This option is only available to SEBS Students)
This option prepares students for professional opportunities in oceanography, the biological sciences, and related fields. The course of study most closely resembles the marine biology option, but includes a requirement to complete one of eight SEBS or SAS minors or certificate programs most relevant to finding employment following graduation.