Dive in! Marine Degrees at OSU

Colleges across Oregon State University offer an array of exceptional marine-related undergraduate degrees and minors. OSU’s different degree programs allow you to focus on the coastal and ocean issues that interest you most, while preparing you for a fulfilling career.

Explore Opportunities at OSU

We're here to help find the right degree for you. With eight different marine-focused majors, you can find the major that will lead you toward success in your academic and career endeavors. Below you can view a snapshot of each of the eight marine-related degrees to see what being in that major would entail. More information on each degree can be found by heading to the various colleges' websites, linked below. 

For more advising guidance, reach out by emailing [email protected] and we'll help you find the marine major that is the best fit for you. 

  • Water Resources research involves the use of science and policy tools to identify contaminants and make assessments of water quality. Students will acquire laboratory skills to detect water contaminants and track their movements and transformations, while learning related policy and management concerns. Research areas could include microbial contaminants, the impact of urbanization on water quality, and marine and estuarine water quality and its impact on fisheries and shellfish industries. Option coursework covers water sciences and hydrology, environmental policy and management.
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Water sciences
    • Hydrology
    • Water resources environmental management
    • Water resources environmental policy and management
  • Some available courses: Watershed Processes (FE 430); Estuarine Ecology (OC 434); Ecotoxicology: Aquatic Ecosystems (TOX 455) and Ecological Restoration (FES/FW 455); (or other upper division OC, MRM, FW, BEE, ENVE, MAST courses related to research  i.e. Principles and Practice of Marine Resource Management (MRM 530) or Non-Point Source Pollution Assessment and Control (BEE 458).
  • Potential careers: 
    • Irrigation Manager
    • Water Resources Restoration 
    • Water Resources Communications Specialist
    • Hydrologist

Learn more about the BioResource Research degree HERE. View degree requirements HERE. View Water Resources option HERE and option requirements HERE.

  • Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences offers first-rate training in processes and strategies for the management and conservation of fish, wildlife, and marine species and their habitats. Students in the program will learn to think critically and evaluate problems using basic and applied science and fundamental ecological principles, and through consideration of social influences on conservation.
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including:
    • Math
    • Chemistry and Biology
    • Ecology
    • Human Dimensions
    • Physical and Earth Sciences 
    • Capstone and Internship requirement
  • Some available courses: Principles of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation (FW 251); Communication Skills for Fisheries and Wildlife Professionals (FW 289); Ecology of Marine and Estuarine Birds (FW 331); Environmental Justice (GEO 309)
  • Potential careers:
    • Hatchery Management or Aquaculture Management
    • Wildlife or Fisheries Biologist
    • Keeper, Trainer, or Aquarist
    • Naturalist

Learn more about this degree HERE. View all degree requirements and courses HERE.

  • The Aquatic Microbiology option focuses on how bacteria, archaea, and viruses are integral parts of stream, estuarine, and marine ecosystems.  This option encompasses a core of oceanography and microbiology courses with heavy coverage of aquatic systems to provide a foundation of knowledge based in the ecology of ecosystems inclusive of microbial processes.  It is designed to provide a microbiology major with a detailed understanding of the role that microbes play in biogeochemical cycles as well as host/ecosystem physiology. 
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Microbiology
    • Biology
    • Oceanography
    • Botany 
  • Some available courses: Aquatic Microbiology (MB 314); Microbial Genomes, Biogeochemistry, and Diversity (MB 420); Microbial Ecology (MB 448); Marine Conservation Biology (BI/FW 464); Aquatic Botany (BOT 416) 
  • Potential careers:
    • Aquatic Microbiologist 
    • Fishery Biologist

Learn about the Microbiology major HERE. View degree requirements HERE. View the Aquatic Microbiology option and the course requirements HERE.

  • OSU’s oceanography program, ranked No. 3 in the world, can take you from coastal mangroves in the tropics to the ice-covered poles. Oceanographers study all aspects of the marine environment and how it interacts with and influences planet Earth including humankind. As an Oceanography major at OSU you will be exposed to the tremendous breadth of the marine realm and the diverse ways scientists study it. 
  • As an Oceanography major, you will take courses in many areas, including:
    • Math and statistics
    • Chemistry, physics, and biology
    • Oceanography
    • Research, thesis, and internship requirements
  • Some available courses: Oceanography (OC 201); Scientific Computing (PH 265); Coastal Oceanography (OC 332); Oceans, Coasts, and People (OC 333);  Polar Oceanography (OC 334) 
  • Potential Careers: 
    • Commercial diver
    • Environmental Consultant
    • Hydrologist
    • Aquaculture worker

Learn more about this degree HERE. View all degree requirements and courses HERE.

  • The Environmental Sciences degree builds on the interdisciplinary strengths in the natural and social sciences at OSU. You will learn broadly about environmental sciences from a variety of perspectives, while deeply exploring one area of specialization. Going beyond the classroom by getting into the field, lab or an internship is a key part of the program. You will choose from areas of specialization, including: alternative energy, aquatic biology, environmental water resources, and more. 
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Natural environmental sciences systems, including atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere courses. 
    • Economics and policy course
    • Ethics
    • Human environment
    • Management
    • Capstone and experiential learning requirement 
  • Some available courses: Climate Data Analysis (ATS 301); Ecology (BI 370); Freshwater Ecology and Conservation (FW 456); Introduction to Environmental Economics and Policy (AEC 250); Natural Resources and Community Values (ANTH 481)
  • Potential careers:
    • Environmental Scientist
    • Restoration Manager- Ecologist
    • Park Naturalist or Ranger- Outdoor Educator 
    • Environmental Health and Safety Inspector 

Learn more about this degree HERE. View all degree requirements and courses HERE.

  • As a Natural Resources student, you are passionate about the world around you. You are curious. You ask questions. You collaborate to preserve and protect the natural world for future generations. Your natural resources education is what you make it, and you can study natural resources from just about anywhere. The natural resources degree program is extremely flexible, allowing you to combine various areas of interest into your degree. Our specialty options range from conservation law enforcement to wildland fire ecology and everything in between
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Natural Resources
    • Communications
    • Writing
    • Mathematics
    • Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and more
  • Some available courses: Managing NR for the Future (NR 201); Critical Thinking for NR Challenges (NR 3120); Environmental Interpretation (TRAL 493); Science Writing (WR 362); General Biology (BI 101, BI 102, BI 103) 
  • Potential careers:
    • Environmental or Science Educator 
    • Park Ranger
    • Forest/rangeland/wildlife ecologist
    • Land-Use Planner

Learn about the Natural Resources degree and options HERE. View degree requirements HERE

  • Marine Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores the dynamic relationship between people and the marine environment. The Marine Studies program contributes to this exploration by emphasizing the human dimensions and perspectives of the ocean and coasts. These human dimensions coalesce in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. This program is for students who seek expertise in these liberal arts methods and are keenly aware of the importance of understanding the human aspects of addressing the growing challenges and opportunities for coastal and ocean sustainability. 
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Humanities
    • Fine Arts
    • Social Science 
    • Oceanography 
    • Capstone and internship requirements 
  • Some available courses: Humans and the Ocean (MAST 201), Introduction to Marine Life in the Sea- Marine Birds and Mammals (FW 113), Society, Culture, and the Marine Environment (MAST 300), Oceanography (OC 201) OR Exploring the Deep- Geography of the World’s Oceans (OC 103)
  • Potential careers:
    • Sustainability Consultant
    • Aquarium Outreach Coordinator
    • Marine Policy Specialist
    • Marine Educator

Learn more about this degree HERE.  View all degree requirements and courses HERE.

  • The Marine Biology and Ecology option couples the comprehensive core of the Biology major with intensive marine courses covering topics such as marine ecology, phycology, invertebrate zoology, conservation biology, marine field research methods and other areas. Undergraduate research, internship, teaching and study abroad experiences are strongly recommended, and credits can be integrated with major requirements.
  • In this major you will take courses in many topic areas, including: 
    • Biology
    • Ecology
    • Genetics
    • Genomes, Identities and Societies
  • Marine Biology and Ecology option courses:
    • Marine Biology and Ecology option students have priority for participation in the by-application, 15-credit BI 450 Marine Biology and Ecology term at Hatfield Marine Science Center each spring term. The option also includes a number of electives ranging from Aquatic Microbiology (MB 314) to Biological Oceanography (OC 440) to Ichthyology (FW 315). The option requires a term or more of courses at Hatfield Marine Science Center. 
  • Potential careers:
    • Aquarist 
    • Agency Biologist 
    • Environmental Consultant 
    • Marine Biologist 
    • Research Technician 
    • Veterinarian

Learn about the Biology major HERE. View degree requirements HERE. View the Marine Biology and Ecology option HERE and the course requirements HERE