Marine & Coastal Science

(College of Letters & Sciences, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, and College of Biological Sciences)

Michael E. Oskin, Ph.D., Chairperson of the Department

David A. Osleger, Ph.D., Vice-Chairperson, Undergraduate Program

Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Vice-Chairperson, Graduate Program

Department Office. Earth & Planetary Sciences; 2119 Earth & Physical Sciences; 530-752-0350;


The major in Marine & Coastal Science focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of marine sciences by exposing students to core, breadth, and focus area courses in the discipline, in addition to a strong foundation of science preparatory material. The major builds upon UC Davis strengths in marine and coastal sciences, including field-based courses offered at Bodega Marine Laboratory to provide students a unique, interdisciplinary, “hands on” education. Advising is provided by the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences for interested students.

The Program. The major begins with introductory courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences. These are followed by core courses in Marine Science. The major requirements provide focus and breadth, so that each student gains mastery in one area and broad exposure to many facets of Marine & Coastal Science. Focus areas are: (i) Coastal Environmental Processes, (ii) Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology, (iii) Marine Environmental Chemistry, and (iv) Oceans & the Earth System.

In this major, students will be exposed to the foundation disciplines within marine science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics) as well as modern issues facing marine and coastal environments; e.g., climate change, pollution, carbon cycling, conservation. The major requires field experience, independent research or internship, and concludes with a capstone course featuring current research in marine science. These integrative experiences will require students to synthesize the interdisciplinary topics that they have encountered through this degree program. The mastery achieved provides a strong foundation for future careers in academic science, government, policy, and the private sector. For more information, see

Internships & Career Alternatives. A B.S. in Marine & Coastal Science will provide students with knowledge and practical experience needed to pursue careers in marine science (government, private sector, research) and/or advanced degree programs. The major program includes both research and internship experiences to help prepare students for these career paths. For more information, see

Advising. Students majoring in Marine & Coastal Science are strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty advisor (assigned, based upon Focus Area choice) once per year to review their coursework plans. Staff advising is available through the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, and student peer advisors are available. Faculty advisors include: Tessa Hill (College of Letters & Science), Anne Todgham and John Largier (College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences), and Brian Gaylord (College of Biological Sciences). For more information, see

The student's chosen Focus Area will determine the college into which the student is admitted, the college where the degree is awarded, and the associated department:

  • Coastal Environmental Processes. College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; Environmental Science & Policy
  • Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology. College of Biological Sciences; Evolution & Ecology
  • Marine Environmental Chemistry. College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; Environmental Toxicology
  • Oceans & the Earth System. College of Letters & Science; Earth & Planetary Sciences