5 Concentrations: (General, Chemical, Mathematics, Fisheries, and Biological)

Major Credits Required: 73-78 Credits

The oceanography major is composed of a rigorous sequence of courses leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. Laboratory and field work take advantage of Hawai‘i’s oceanic setting and its wide variety of readily accessible marine environments, ranging from small, shallow estuaries to the deep ocean, only a few hours away. The university’s 42-foot research vessel, Kaholo, is used extensively for advanced fieldwork. Oceanography is the interdisciplinary study of the global oceans, and includes the sub-disciplines of physical, chemical, geological, and biological oceanography. In addition, students can choose among several concentrations for more focused upper-division coursework in chemistry, mathematics, biology, or fisheries science. Completion of the oceanography major prepares students to enter careers in the marine and aquatic sciences in the private or public sectors, including research laboratories and government agencies. Potential career areas include: education and teaching, environmental analysis, marine policy, fisheries science and management, marine industries, and many others. Students wishing to pursue their studies at the graduate level also achieve the academic preparation to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in oceanography.

To complete the bachelor's degree, students must complete a minimum total of 120 credits with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.


Students majoring in oceanography will:

  1. Demonstrate broad basic knowledge of the fundamental principles in the biological and the physical sciences.

  2. Integrate scientific principles from chemistry, physics, geology, and biology to explain processes in the marine environment.

  3. Plan and implement observational and experimental studies of marine systems and analyze the data obtained from these studies using appropriate mathematical and statistical techniques.

  4. Communicate scientific ideas effectively in written and oral formats using appropriate computer applications for data analysis and presentation.

  5. Find and evaluate published information from a variety of printed and electronic sources.

  6. Use an interdisciplinary perspective to analyze complex problems and develop relevant questions pertaining to marine systems.