Undergraduate Program Information



Ocean Sciences, or Oceanography, is a field that encompasses the study of the global marine environment from broad geographic and disciplinary perspectives. It essentially looks at the interaction between marine life and oceanic processes, covering such diverse topics as coastal and deep-sea food webs, marine animal ecology, physiology and behaviour, plankton dynamics, the effects of pollution or climate change on ocean life and ecosystems, the management and conservation of aquatic resources, and much more.

Our planet is predominantly covered by a vast ocean, which plays a key role in driving its climate and ecosystems, directly or indirectly affecting the lives of most of its inhabitants. Therefore, job opportunities and career perspectives for students with training in Ocean Sciences are extremely varied and rewarding.
Trainees and graduates may find work as laboratory technicians or research assistants in ocean-related fields such as:
• Oceanography
• Marine biology
• Aquaculture
• Fisheries
• Wildlife management

Other potential positions may include, but are not limited to:
• Marine science educator
• Fisheries officer
• Nature interpreter
• Aquarium curator
• Environmental analyst/consultant
• Scuba diver

Importantly, students with a Major in Ocean Sciences are well prepared to undertake graduate studies (MSc, PhD) in various ocean-related fields, leading to further professional and academic positions in government, research or higher education.

For more information, consult the Undergraduate Handbook

Bachelor of Sciences with Major in Ocean Sciences

Major in Ocean Sciences
This is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of Ocean Sciences, providing a solid foundation in ocean studies, including the basic principles of its main sub-disciplines (physical, chemical, geological, and biological oceanography). Major in Ocean Sciences.

Major in Ocean Sciences (Environmental Systems)
This program is a stream of the above that provides a geological/geographical context to biological and chemical phenomena in ocean sciences. It also covers such key ocean-related topics as climate change and natural hazards. Major in Ocean Sciences (Environmental Systems).

Bachelor of Sciences with a Joint Major in Marine Biology

This program is jointly administered by the Department of Ocean Sciences and the Department of Biology. It consists of core courses in oceanography and biology, and additional courses in various Science subjects. Joint Major in Marine Biology.

Bachelor of Sciences with Honours in Ocean Sciences

The Honours in Ocean Sciences is an interdisciplinary program that is in line with the Major in Ocean Sciences. Possession of this degree will be of great advantage to students planning advanced work or graduate studies in any marine science field. The program includes a prescribed number of courses at the 3000/4000 level as well as mandatory completion of Ocean Sciences 499A and 499B, consisting of independent research leading to the submission and oral defence of a thesis.

The department’s primary faculty and cross-appointees have a broad range of expertise, within which Honours candidates can find a diversity of research topics, including but not limited to nutrient cycling, plankton dynamics, marine pollution, climate change, coastal and deep-sea processes, benthic biology, evolutionary ecology, marine biotechnology, fisheries, and aquaculture. Furthermore, research can be undertaken at any level of organization, from cellular and molecular studies to animal behaviour and physiology, right up to responses of marine communities and ecosystems.

Detailed information can be found in the Honours Guide.

Bachelor of Science with Minor in Ocean Sciences

Minor in Oceanography
This is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of Ocean Sciences in cooperation with the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics and Physical Oceanography. It is intended primarily for students in the Faculty of Science but is open to students in other faculties. Minor in Oceanography

Minor in Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries Ecology (SAFE)
This program exposes students to aquaculture and fisheries management practices and helps prepare them for a career in applied marine fields. This is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of Ocean Sciences in consultation with the Marine Institute. It is intended primarily for students in the Faculty of Science but is open to students in other faculties. Minor in Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries Ecology

Important Links for Undergraduates

Click here to learn more about our department 

For additional information please contact

Department of Ocean Sciences
St. John’s, NL
A1C 5S7

Danielle Nichols
(709) 864-2459



Ocean Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000