Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences

  • Plants with roots under water.
  • Professor working in fish pools.
  • Beach view of sand and water.
  • Marine Sciences class on boat working with fish.
  • Person snorkeling.


 

The University of South Alabama offers a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences designed to address society’s growth need for specialized understanding of the marine environment. Whether students are excited about marine plants and animals or computers and technology, the marine sciences program provides opportunities to explore coastal and ocean environments in whatever ways interest them the most. Students are guided by a world-renown faculty with expertise ranging from fisheries sciences to marine ecology to ocean physics. 

Careers in Marine Sciences

The bachelor’s degree in marine sciences prepares students for jobs related to the marine environment in government, academic, commercial and industrial settings. Overall, the basic science knowledge and critical thinking acquired in this program allows graduates to flourish in a broad range of career paths. The specialized skills and experiences gained from completing this degree program will allow students to tap into the rapidly expanding opportunities generated by the growing importance of the “Blue Economy.” 

Jobs titles in marine sciences may include marine science research technician, marine conservationist, marine or environmental educator, biologist, aquaculture technician, marine biologist, fish and wildlife technician, aquarist, fisheries observer, research assistant, marine ecologist, oceanography technician, sea turtle rehabilitation specialist, marine mammal technician, or marine mammal rescue specialist.

Semester at the Sea

Students also have direct access to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, which provides a unique educational experience as well as experiential learning opportunities. Other nearby natural marine laboratories include the Mobile Tensaw Delta, Mobile Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. Students participate in a “Semester by the Sea'' at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab during the spring semester of junior or senior year and take coursework at the lab with the option of living in residence on Dauphin Island. This unparalleled opportunity brings students face to face with marine systems from muddy salt marshes to coastal reef communities as well as introduces them to different types of cutting-edge marine technology and sampling techniques.   

Community Engagement

Marine science undergraduate students take part in several community engagement opportunities, including working at oyster farms, volunteering at the beach for clean-up efforts, teaching at Alabama’s Aquarium, or performing various tasks at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, the largest fishing tournament in the world. 

Many students also become active members of local conservation groups, including Alabama's Sea Turtle Conservation Program, Share the Beach, Alabama's Marine Mammal Stranding Network, South Alabama Land Trust, and more. Students can take day trips to tour local organizations, such as the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to kayak the salt marsh, Weeks Bay Reserve to visit the pitcher plant bog, and 5 Rivers Delta to witness up close and personal the incredible biodiversity of the Mobile Tensaw Delta. South’s location and partnerships within the community allow students ample networking connections and opportunities to connect to the coast and create a pathway to postgraduate employment.

 

▼   Graduation Plan

Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences  
Total Hours:  120     

The Graduation Plan is an example of course progression. Individual student plans may vary. Students should consult with an academic advisor to create a personalized plan.  *Note up to six (6) credits can be shared within the Major and Minor.

First Year – Fall Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
CAS 100 First Year Experience- College Success 2
EH 101 (Gen Ed) English Composition I 3
CH 131/CH 131L (Gen Ed) General Chemistry I with Lab 4
BLY 121/ BLY 121L General Biology I with Lab 4
MA 125 Calculus I 4
  Total Hours 17

First Year – Spring Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
MAS 134/ MAS 134L Ocean Sciences with Lab 4
EH 102 (Gen Ed) English Composition II 3
CH 132/ CH132L (Gen Ed) General Chemistry II with Lab 4
BLY 122/ BLY 122L General Biology II with Lab 4
  Total Hours 15

Second Year – Fall Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
MAS 331/ MAS 331L Marine Sciences I with Lab 4
English Literature (Gen. Ed.)   3
History (US or West. Civ) (Gen. Ed.)   3
PH 114/ PH 114L Physics I with Lab 4
  Total Hours 14

Second Year – Spring Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
Fine Arts Elective (Gen Ed)   3
CA 110 (Gen Ed) Public Speaking 3
Humanities Elective *PHL 231 (Gen Ed) Social Ethics 3
MAS 332/ MAS 332L Marine Sciences II with Lab 4
  Total Hours 13

Third Year – Fall Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
Foreign Language I (Gen Ed)   3
Social/ Behavioral Elective (Gen Ed)   3
Humanities (Gen Ed)   3
Minor   3
  Total Hours 12

Third Year – Spring Semester in Residence at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Course ID Course Description Hours
MAS 336 Marine Operations and Research 3
MAS 475/MAS 475L Marine Ecology with Lab 4
MAS 431/ MAS 431L Field and Lab Measurements in Marine Science with Lab 4
MAS 337/MAS 337L Marine Geology with Lecture 4
  Total Hours 15

Third Year – Summer Semester Dauphin Island Sea Lab Courses (*Student may take a DISL summer course during Second year summer to lighten load during Third Year Summer)

Course ID Course Description Hours
MAS 451 Marine Vertebrate Zoology (summer #1 session) 4
MAS 476 Marine Tech Methods (Maymester) 2
MAS 471 Marine Invertebrate Zoology  (summer #2 session) 4
  Total Hours 10

Fourth Year – Fall Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
Minor   3
Social/Behavioral Elective (Gen Ed)   3
Minor   3
Minor   3
  Total Hours 12

Fourth Year – Spring Semester

Course ID Course Description Hours
Foreign Language II (Gen Ed)   3
Minor   3
Minor   3
Social/ Behavioral Elective (Gen Ed)   3
  Total Hours 12
▼   Core Courses

The marine sciences core courses are as follows: 

  • MAS 134 and MAS 134L Introduction to Ocean Sciences
  • MAS 331 and MAS 331L Marine Sciences I:  Geological & Physical Oceanography
  • MAS 332 and MAS 332L Marine Science II:  Chemical & Biological Oceanography
  • Dauphin Island Sea Lab Summer Course Electives (e.g. Shark and Ray Biology, Marine Technical Methods, Marine Vertebrate Zoology, Marine Invertebrate Zoology, and more)
  • Courses in residence at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab during the spring semester of a student’s junior or senior year:  Marine Operations and Research (Capstone Course), Marine Geology, Marine Ecology, and Field and Lab Measurements in Marine Science.  

*Additional Courses Required by the Department includes 16 credits hours of general education courses (e.g. MA 125, BLY 121/L, BLY 122/L, CH 131/L)

**Assumes students will pass placement tests for MA 125.

  • BLY121/BLY121L General Biology I with lab  
  • BLY 122/BLY122/L General Biology II with lab
  • CH131/CH131L General Chemistry I with lab  
  • CH132/CH132L General Chemistry II with lab
  • MA 125 Calculus I      
  • PH114/PH114L Non Calculus Based General Physics I OR PH 201/PH201L Calculus Based General Physics I

*PHL 231 Social Ethics is suggested as one of the Area II general education requirements.