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. Several courses include hands-on, experiential learning in the laboratory or in the 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.

Program Learning Goals

Program learning goals describe knowledge students will acquire, skills they will develop, and experiences they will have upon completing the requirements for the degree program.

  1. Master the basic biological, chemical, physical, and geological principles of marine science.
  2. Analyze and interpret contemporary oceanographic datasets.
  3. Show evidence of scientific literacy, and communicate the information effectively both orally and in writing.
  4. Develop, conduct, and report on an applied research experience in marine science in collaboration with a scientific mentor.
  5. Evaluate contemporary global issues and the ethics of how the ocean’s resources are used.

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.