Why this Program?

Among the few undergraduate programs of its kind in California, a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography at Cal Poly Humboldt provides a firm foundation in the study of the ocean environment and its inhabitants through a rigorous combination of academics and practical oceangoing experience on the North Coast.

Oceanography is often confused with Marine Biology (the study of marine organisms). While both disciplines are similar, Oceanography examines the interactions of marine organisms with one another and with their physical, chemical, and geological environment. These complex interactions require the use of techniques from a range of scientific fields. 

With a strong foundation in science and oceanic studies, you will have the knowledge and skills to tackle some of the most pressing issues that affect the health of our oceans and in turn, the health of our planet. Those issues include rising seawater, pollutants, the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems, and seismic activity. 


We’re a small close-knit department of faculty who often work closely with and mentor  students. They’re also active researchers involved in numerous projects that contribute to the field of Oceanography and our understanding of our oceans. As participants of the Integrated Ocean Observing system, for example, they collect data on Humboldt Bay and the coastal ocean surface current. Faculty integrate their knowledge into their teaching by sharing up-to-date information and research techniques with students.

After Graduation

Because the Oceanography degree is a rigorous and interdisciplinary program in science and math, many students go on to graduate school. Others pursue careers in the fields of biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, geologic oceanography, physical oceanography, marine environmental science, management and consulting, with state or federal governments, in science outreach and teaching, or in the private sector.