Academics & Options

We have a rigorous, broad, and versatile program that can be tailored to a range of sub-disciplines

We’re a small, close-knit department that focuses on more than academics. As early as your sophomore year, you’ll engage in research and job opportunities.

Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography

Our major provides students a broad science background, an understanding of fundamental concepts unique to Oceanography, and an appreciation for how concepts from various closely allied science fields are interrelated and applied to the solution of oceanographic problems. The goal of the program is to develop interdisciplinary science knowledge, which is essential to the study and understanding of the oceans.

Major Academic Plans (MAPs)


Students who major in Oceanography can also tailor the program to a range of sub-disciplines that have an oceanic focus, making it easy to earn a minor in other disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, and Geology.

  • Biological Oceanography: the study of marine ecosystems and how they function.
  • Chemical Oceanography: the study of how chemicals move through the marine environment.
  • Geological Oceanography: the study plate tectonics, classification of major bathymetric features, and the distribution, transport and deposition of recent sediments in the marine environment.
  • Physical Oceanography: the study of the physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean such as waves, currents, eddies, gyres and tides.


We offer a minor in Oceanography.
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Humboldt Diving program

Additionally, SCUBA diving, though not required for any degree at Humboldt, can be useful for some shallow water research and can also be an enjoyable form of recreation. Many of our students participate in the Humboldt Diving program, which offers a series of diver training courses and a Minor in Scientific Diving

Learning Outcomes

With a comprehensive science education, students will gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Use scientific concepts from biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics to understand the fundamental oceanographic processes and functions.
  • Apply appropriate sampling, laboratory and computer techniques to collect, measure and interpret oceanographic information.
  • Integrate conceptual and technical knowledge to address complex interdisciplinary problems in oceanography.
  • Use reading, writing, and verbal skills to effectively communicate oceanographic information.