Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Earth Sciences Major with Ocean Science Option

Oceanographers study all aspects of the marine environment and how it interacts with and influences planet Earth including humankind. We do this in diverse environments – from coastal mangroves in the tropics to the ice-covered polar regions. Because the ocean is a hostile and challenging place, ocean scientists use a variety of approaches to study it, including satellite remote sensing, computer modeling, research ships, cabled observatories, and state-of-the-art instrumentation. As an Ocean Science major at OSU you will be exposed to the tremendous breadth of the marine realm.

Degree Requirements

The Ocean Science curriculum builds on a foundation of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, and provides broad, quantitative, and rigorous training in the ecology, chemistry, physics and geology of marine environments. In addition, because much of humanity's past, present, and future welfare is related to the ocean and its many resources, students explore societally relevant topics such as coastal hazards assessment, climate change, and resource management. Requirements can be seen at the following:

A hallmark of the Ocean Science option is the many opportunities for hands-on experiential learning in the field and laboratory (see Field Course link below). Students often participate on cruises using our research vessels the RV Oceanus and RV Elakha. In addition, you will have the opportunity to intern or conduct research in the College's many marine-related labs or in affiliated local, State and Federal partners.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities for Ocean Science graduates are many because of the interdisciplinary and rigorous training that they receive. For example, an Ocean Science B.S. degree prepares a student for:

  • Local, state, and federal environmental agencies
  • Outreach and technical positions with non-governmental organizations
  • Middle or high school science teachers
  • Fisheries technicians
  • Outreach or technical positions at marine museums or aquariums
  • Environmental health specialists
  • Graduate studies in many areas of natural or physical science

Additional information on career opportunities in Ocean Science can be found at the following sites: