Ocean sciences (environmental systems)

Campus: St. John's Faculty: Faculty of Science
Department: Ocean Sciences Honours available: Yes
Degree(s): Bachelor of science; Joint arts and science degree
Length: Four years
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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 processes, 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.

Ocean sciences at Memorial

The major in ocean sciences (environmental systems) is a formal stream of the major in ocean sciences, with a curriculum that blends foundation courses in earth and ocean sciences, with a focus on environmental issues. It is designed for students with special interest in geography (e.g. cartography, remote sensing), climate, natural resources and marine geology.

The Department of Ocean Sciences (DOS) is housed at the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) in Logy Bay, which is located approximately 10 kilometers (10 min) from the main St. John’s campus of Memorial University. The OSC is a major facility for marine research on the Atlantic coast and is one of Canada’s largest marine laboratories. By virtue of its location, the department provides scientists and students access to the flora and fauna of the northwest Atlantic Ocean and is uniquely situated for shore-based studies of cold-ocean processes and subarctic, Arctic and deep-sea organisms.

Education and training is one of the Department’s principal mandates, and is achieved by providing a stimulating, research-intensive environment in which students can develop and thrive. The Department offers graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as hands-on field and laboratory research experience through part-time and summer research positions for undergraduates.

Admission requirements

You may apply for admission into the Faculty of Science by indicating bachelor of science as your program of choice on the undergraduate application for admission.

Direct entry into the Faculty of Science from high school is subject to meeting the general admission requirements for Memorial University, including appropriate courses in mathematics and a laboratory science.

Admission to the major

To be considered for admission to the major, students must complete the following 30 credit hours (10 courses) with a minimum overall average of 65%: 

  • Biology 1001 and 1002
  • Chemistry 1050 and 1051 (or 1200 and 1001)
  • Earth Sciences 1000
  • six credit hours in Critical Reading and Writing (CRW) courses, including at least three credit hours in English
  • Mathematics 1000
  • Ocean Sciences 1000
  • Physics 1020 (or 1050) or one Ocean Sciences course at the 2000 level

Students must complete Ocean Sciences 1000 with a minimum grade of 65%.

Upon completion of these courses, students should contact the Department of Ocean Sciences to declare the major.

Sample first year

Wondering what courses you would take in your first year? Check out a sample program of suggested courses for ocean sciences students.

Sample courses

OCSC 1000 - Exploration of the World Ocean
OCSC 2200 - Introductory Geological Oceanography
OCSC 2500 - Introduction to Practical Ocean Sciences

Career opportunities

A bachelor of science degree, with a major in ocean sciences, prepares students for a variety of careers including:

  • oceanographer
  • marine geologist
  • environment/wildlife manager
  • science educator
  • fisheries officer
  • nature interpreter
  • environmental analyst/consultant

Note: some of these careers may call for supplementary education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential learning or professional courses and exams.