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Ocean Sciences & Coastal Studies, B.S.

Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


Duration 8 semesters
Cost resident US $24,562; nonresident US $34,810 per year

The Bachelor of Science in Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies (OSCS), offers comprehensive classroom instruction and field training in the physical, chemical, geological and biological aspects of oceanography. Students examine the physical aspects of ocean currents, tides and the intimate relationship between the ocean and atmosphere, with significant emphasis on the ocean’s role in climate change. Students acquire a rigorous education in the fundamental theories, but also experience practical field and laboratory applications currently used by working oceanographers.

Students graduate with a thorough understanding of the fundamental theories and concepts underpinning the discipline of modern oceanography, and demonstrate an understanding of the scientific process used to address the challenges of the 21st century. They possess high-level quantitative skills using data collected from a variety of contemporary oceanographic sampling platforms, such as earth-orbiting satellites and aircraft, autonomous underwater and moored sensors, and research vessels. They also demonstrate proficiency in the application of current field and laboratory technologies through intensive field-oriented summer courses at our marine station. Lastly, graduates are proficient in the accurate dissemination of scientific information and knowledge by demonstrating effective oral and written communication skills.


Major-required courses provide a solid understanding of ocean sciences fundamentals, supported by rigorous instruction in mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology. Additionally, 25 percent of the OSCS course load is satisfied through field-intensive courses taught during the summer months at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station (CBFS), in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Students have the opportunity to complete internships and work study programs, including prestigious locations such as NASA and have received various national and local scholarships. Our facilities include a 20-foot wave tank; a rotating tank in collaboration with MIT; Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) profilers with oxygen, fluorescence, backscatter and light sensors; an acoustic current meter; a meteorological station with shortwave, longwave and temperature sensors; and a number of other oceanographic laboratory and field instruments.

Millersville University is a founding, senior member of the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Located on the beautiful Virginia coast, the CBFS boasts direct boat access to the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters of Chincoteague and Assateague islands. The OSCS program includes weekend and summer study and research at the CBFS, providing Millersville University students with valuable hands-on experience with modern research tools and techniques.

Structural components
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management
Physical and chemical oceanography
Environmental protection technology
Marine spatial planning
Near- and offshore constructions