Marine Studies, Minor

The marine studies minor is designed to provide a structured program on the Boston campus for students with an interest in the marine environment. The program allows a primary, but not exclusive, emphasis in either the scientific or the social science/humanistic study of the oceans. Some physical interaction with the sea through achievement in a specific marine-related skill and a project involving a degree of independent study is required. Students enrolled in any program at the university may complete the marine studies minor.

The program draws on courses throughout the university and is affiliated with several outstanding, specialized marine programs. These include the SEA Semester Program run by the Sea Education Association, which provides a rigorous program in marine sciences at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and aboard one of its tall ships for training cruises in the Caribbean, Pacific, or Labrador Sea. In addition to the cruises designed to explore the broad range of aspects of marine science and culture, there are specialized cruises that add a focus on Caribbean studies, Pacific island culture, and marine environmental issues. Students may also take specialized courses in marine topics through the Marine Studies Consortium.

For more information, contact the director of marine studies, Professor Rebeca Rosengaus at 617.373.7032 or at

Course Requirements

At least four marine-related courses totaling 16 semester hours are required, along with mastery of a marine skill and an independent study. Two courses must be beyond the introductory level. At least one course must be from the natural sciences and one from the social sciences/humanities. Other courses at the university may fulfill these requirements with the permission of the department.

Mastery of a marine-related skill can be achieved through satisfactory completion of course work or evidence of achievement through some form of approved outside certification. Course work in marine skills normally is limited to one of the six required courses.

The project requirement can be met by completion of an approved directed studies course in marine studies or in any department of the university. The project normally is limited to one of the six required courses. The project requirement can also be met, with prior approval, by completion of a major course-related project or other outside project in which a significant amount of independent study is involved.

Complete all courses listed below unless otherwise indicated. Also complete any corequisite labs, recitations, clinicals, or tools courses where specified.

Required Courses

Complete four courses from the following lists. Two courses must be above the introductory level.16
Ocean Science and Public Policy
Maritime History and Culture: The Caribbean
Marine Environmental History: The Caribbean
Maritime Studies
History of Boston
Maritime History of New England
Water Resources Policy and Management
Physical Oceanography
Biological Oceanography
Introduction to Marine Biology
Invertebrate Zoology
Biology of Corals
Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Marine Birds and Mammals
and Lab for EEMB 5508
Tropical Terrestrial Ecology
and Lab for EEMB 5516
Ocean and Coastal Processes
Coral Reef Ecology
Experimental Design Marine Ecology
and Lab for EEMB 5522
Marine Conservation Biology
Physiological and Molecular Marine Ecology
Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Botany
and Lab for EEMB 5534
Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Diving Research Methods
Oceans and Coasts
Marine Resources
Nautical Science
Oceanographic Field Methods
Advanced Oceanographic Field Methods
Practical Oceanographic Research
Coastal Processes
and Lab for ENVR 4106
Environmental Planning
Ancient Marine Life
and Lab for ENVR 5242
and Lab for ENVR 5244
Marine Geology
Marine Studies
Marine Mammals
The Ocean World
Coastal Zone Management
Biology of Whales
Advanced Seminar in Marine Studies

Marine-Related Skill

Complete one of the following:3
Nautical Science
Certification in a skill such as scuba, by a Merchant Marine license, or by a comparable level of achievement determined by the marine studies advisor.

Marine-Related Independent Study

This requirement may be satisfied by producing a research project on a marine-related topic, either as part of another course or independently. Acceptance of the project is at the discretion of the marine studies advisor.4

GPA Requirement

2.000 GPA required in the minor