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Core Courses

To achieve interdisciplinary scope and wisdom, each IMS student will take a number of courses. Depending on the degree sought, some courses are required in the following four areas:

  • Biological Oceanography (BO)
  • Chemical Oceanography (CO)
  • Physical Oceanography (PO)
  • Marine Policy and Management (MPOM)

Courses in BO, CO, and PO are generally taken in the first four to six semesters (preferably in the first two). For each area, course content is fairly uniform, though there may be multiple offerings between campuses.

An MPOM course is taken after selection of an area of concentration. Course content is not uniform and selection of course should be consistent with the student’s concentration area.

Biological Oceanography (BO)

This course studies the cycle of productivity in the marine environment and the physiological and morphological adaptations of plant, animal, and bacterial populations within various oceanic regions. Interrelationships of the plankton, the nekton, and the benthos are stressed. This course also prepares students who are studying specific areas of interest such as: Coastal Systems Science, Living Marine Resources Science and Management, Marine and Atmospheric System Modeling and Analysis, Marine Biogeochemistry and Environmental Change, and Ocean and Human Health.

Chemical Oceanography (CO)

A survey of the principal topics in chemical oceanography, starting with the basic chemical and physical properties of seawater and going through the major processes shaping chemical distributions in the ocean. Throughout much of the course an interdisciplinary approach is taken, and pertinent material on the interaction between ocean chemistry and marine physics, biology, and geology is presented. Emphasis is placed on the central role of chemical oceanography in our global environment. A significant segment of the material deals directly with the ocean’s role in controlling atmospheric CO2. Wherever possible, the results of recent studies are incorporated into class material. This course also prepares students who are studying specific areas of interest such as: Coastal Systems Science, Living Marine Resources Science and Management, Marine and Atmospheric System Modeling and Analysis, Marine Biogeochemistry and Environmental Change, and Ocean and Human Health.

Physical Oceanography (PO)

This course introduces the physical processes active in the ocean environment, including coastal and estuarine regions, and investigates the connection between those processes and observed physical characteristics of the ocean. This course also prepares students who are studying specific areas of interest such as: Marine and Atmospheric System Modeling and Analysis, Coastal Systems Science, and Marine Biogeochemistry and Environmental Change.
Prerequisites: Physics or calculus and admission to the SMS program; or by special permission of instructor.

Marine Policy/Management Course (MPOM)

A marine policy/management course is designed for graduate students in environmental sciences with an interest in economics. It explores the use of economic analysis in helping to solve natural resource problems of the coastal zone and ocean. The course focuses on such topics as fisheries management, resource scarcity, the concept of economic efficiency, measuring the benefits of natural resources, on-shore coastal development, and depleteable, recyclable, and non-recyclable resources.

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