Oceanography

Carroll University’s innovative marine sciences program is offered in collaboration with Hawaii Pacific University (HPU). You’ll begin at Carroll, spending two years learning fundamental principles in biology, chemistry and math, as well as completing general education requirements. You’ll transfer to Hawaii Pacific University and finish your degree requirements in oceanography on their Hawaii Loa Campus on the island of Oahu.

What is oceanography?

Oceanography is the interdisciplinary study of the global oceans—from shallow coastal areas to the deepest ocean trenches, from the tropics to the polar seas. It’s typically divided into four sub-disciplines: physical oceanography (the study of waves, currents, tides and ocean energy); geological oceanography (the study of the sediments, rocks and structure of the seafloor and coastal margins); chemical oceanography (the study of the composition and properties of seawater and how it is affected by physical mixing processes and interactions with the seafloor, the atmosphere and ocean life); and biological oceanography (the study of marine organisms and their interactions with the ocean environment). 

These sub-disciplines are interrelated, as well as being closely aligned to other fields such as meteorology/atmospheric science, geophysics and ocean engineering. Biological oceanography shares many aspects with marine biology, but is generally more focused on the interactions of specific parameters within the marine environment. A biological oceanographer pays particular attention to the effects of chemical, physical or geographic properties of the ocean and how these affect the distribution and abundance of marine organisms in the sea. 

What can you do with an oceanography degree?

A Bachelor of Science in Oceanography provides a strong academic foundation in the physical and biological sciences including additional preparation in understanding marine systems. You’ll be prepared for an entry-level marine/aquatic science position in a government agency helping to establish marine policy or performing fisheries management; in a research setting as a field or data technician; or in a non-profit or education setting, to name a few. Because the number of students who pursue oceanography is relatively small, many unique opportunities exist. If you choose to further specialize or go on to a career in direct research you’ll have the academic foundation necessary to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in your chosen field. 

*Information from Hawaii Pacific University website

Learn more about the Marine Sciences program
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