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Physical Oceanography, B.S.

Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


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

The Physical Oceanography program offers comprehensive and intensive training to prepare graduates for careers in the ocean sciences. Students examine the physical aspects of ocean currents and tides, and the intimate relationship between the ocean and atmosphere, with significant emphasis on the ocean’s role in climate change.

Students have the opportunity to work with data collected through a variety of contemporary oceanographic sampling platforms including earth-orbiting satellites and aircraft, autonomous underwater and moored sensors, and research vessels. Learning continues outside the classroom through intensive field-oriented summer courses at our marine station in Chincoteaque Bay. By the time students graduate, they are proficient in the accurate dissemination of scientific information and knowledge by demonstrating effective oral and written communication skills.

Graduates leave the Physical Oceanography program 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. 

Physical Oceanography is an option within the Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies (OSCS) department. 

Students interested in this program will take classes focused on chemical and physical oceanography, ocean ecosystems, meteorology, chemistry, calculus, physics, mechanics or dynamics and more.

Students have access to the University's scientific facilities including 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 senior and founding 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

Ocean Literacy
Marine Geology
Physical and chemical oceanography
Scientific modelling