Undergraduate Information

While the Ocean Sciences Department only awards graduate degrees, it does offer a select number of undergraduate courses to prepare and attract promising undergraduates for advanced studies. Interested students should major in a field such as biology, marine biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, engineering, or environmental studies while taking ocean sciences electives.

Our goals in undergraduate classes include developing a fundamental knowledge of ocean sciences for students, relating ocean sciences (and broader environmental sciences) to the traditional core disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics. Ocean Sciences offers a full range of undergraduate classes, including lower-division courses fulfilling UCSC general education requirements and upper-division courses serving as required and elective courses principally for undergraduate majors in Marine Biology and Earth Sciences. We do not have a stand-alone undergraduate degree program in Ocean Sciences, but we do participate in other major programs.

We have a particular connection with the Earth sciences B.S. concentration in ocean sciences. The ocean sciences concentration is intended to provide quantitative preparation for career pathways that include ocean biogeochemistry, and it requires additional biology and chemistry courses relative to the Earth sciences B.S. Many of these students complete a senior thesis and are advised by Ocean Sciences faculty.

Courses include:
  • The Oceans
  • Our Changing Planet
  • Oceans and Climate: Past, Present, and Future
  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Aquatic Organic Geochemistry

  • Life in the Sea
  • The Marine Environment
  • Aquatic Chemistry: Principles and Applications
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Geophysical Fluid Dynamics