Core Courses

Core Courses

Each COAST Professional Science Master's student must complete three core courses (9 credits), which include at least two (2) of the four (4) science core courses in biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography. An additional, third core course in marine policy and/or management areas (including law and economics) is also required.

The core courses are intended to provide a common grounding in the biological, chemical, physical, and geological oceanographic areas of marine science and technology, as well as the marine policy and/or management disciplines. Elective courses covering additional science and technology areas, along with quantitative skills, are generally subject to student choice and advisor approval. 

Core Courses (at least two required for PSM):

Biological Oceanography
This course studies the cycle of productivity in the marine environment and the physiological and morphological adaptations of plant, animal, and bacterial populations within various oceanic regions. Interrelationships of the plankton, the nekton, and the benthos are stressed. (3 credits)

Chemical Oceanography
A survey of the principal topics in chemical oceanography, starting with the basic chemical and physical properties of seawater and going through the major processes shaping chemical distributions in the ocean. Throughout much of the course an interdisciplinary approach is taken, and pertinent material on the interaction between ocean chemistry and marine physics, biology, and geology is presented. Emphasis is placed on the central role of chemical oceanography in our global environment. A significant segment of the material deals directly with the ocean's role in controlling atmospheric CO2. Wherever possible, the results of recent studies are incorporated into class material. (3 credits)

Geological Oceanography
Process-oriented geological oceanography starting with the history of ocean floor exploration, theories of ocean basin formation, determination of geologic time and going through the major dynamic processes shaping and characterizing the seafloor - from beaches to basins, reefs to estuaries. Overviews of marine geophysics and plate tectonics, sea level variation and the formation of coastlines and reefs, and the importance of paleoceanography to assessing climate change will be presented and discussed. Throughout the course an interdisciplinary approach is taken and pertinent material on the interaction between marine geology/sediments/sedimentation processes and marine chemistry, physics, and biology will be presented. Wherever possible, the results of recent studies and special topics will be incorporated into the class material and tailored to the students’ areas of research. (3 credits)

Physical Oceanography
This course introduces the physical processes active in the ocean environment, including coastal and estuarine regions, and investigates the connection between those processes and observed physical characteristics of the ocean. Prerequisites: Physics or calculus and admission to the PSM program; or by special permission of instructor. (3 credits)

Marine Policy/Management Course
A marine policy/management course is designed for graduate students in environmental sciences with an interest in economics. It explores the use of economic analysis in helping to solve natural resource problems of the coastal zone and ocean. The course focuses on such topics as fisheries management, resource scarcity, the concept of economic efficiency, measuring the benefits of natural resources, on-shore coastal development, and depletable, recyclable, and non-recyclable resources. (3 credits)