Marine & Coastal Science, Bachelor of Science College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

The major in Marine & Coastal Science focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of marine sciences by exposing students to core, breadth, and focus area courses in the discipline, in addition to a strong foundation of science preparatory material. The major builds upon UC Davis strengths in marine and coastal sciences, including field-based courses offered at Bodega Marine Laboratory to provide students a unique, interdisciplinary, “hands on” education. Advising is provided by the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences for interested students.

The Program

The major begins with introductory courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences. These are followed by core courses in Marine Science. The major requirements provide focus and breadth, so that  each student gains mastery in one area and broad exposure to many facets of Marine & Coastal Science. Focus areas are: (i) Coastal Environmental Processes, (ii) Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology, (iii) Marine Environmental Chemistry, and (iv) Oceans & the Earth System.

In this major, students will be exposed to the foundation disciplines within marine science (biology, chemistry, geology, physics) as well as modern issues facing marine and coastal environments; e.g., climate change, pollution, carbon cycling, and conservation. The major requires field experience, independent research or internship, and concludes with a capstone course featuring current research in marine science. These integrative experiences will require students to synthesize the interdisciplinary topics that they have encountered through this degree program. The mastery achieved provides a strong foundation for future careers in academic science, government, policy, and the private sector. For more information, see Marine & Coastal Science.

Focus Areas

The student's chosen Focus Area will determine the college into which the student is admitted, the college where the degree is awarded, and the associated department:

  • Coastal Environmental Processes. College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; Environmental Science & Policy
  • Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology. College of Biological Sciences; Evolution & Ecology
  • Marine Environmental Chemistry. College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences; Environmental Toxicology
  • Oceans & the Earth System. College of Letters & Science; Earth & Planetary Sciences

Undergraduate Research 

The marine sciences span many departments and colleges at UC Davis, and so students have opportunities to participate in undergraduate research in many disciplines. 

Internships & Careers

A B.S. in Marine & Coastal Science provides students with knowledge and practical experience needed to pursue careers in marine science (government, private sector, research). The major program includes research and internship experiences as well as field experience to help prepare students for these career paths. 

Graduate Study

The coursework, research opportunities, and fieldwork requirements in the Marine & Coastal Science major help prepare students to enter graduate programs to continue their studies and prepare for their career in the marine sciences. Students should meet with advisors and faculty to build a strong application for graduate school through additional independent research or other co-curricular involvements. 

Bodega Marine Laboratory

Students in the Marine & Coastal Science major are required to complete some of their coursework at the Bodega Marine Laboratory on the California Coast. 

Global Learning in Marine & Coastal Science

Consider studying or interning abroad through programs available through the Global Learning Hub.

Get Involved

Find your community through clubs, events, seminars, and workshops relating to marine science. 

Advising

Visit the staff major advisor for help navigating minor requirements and planning for your degree. Visit the faculty major advisors for additional advice on courses, careers, and graduate school.

Faculty advisors include: Tessa Hill (College of Letters & Science), Anne Todgham & John Largier (College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences), Brian Gaylord (College of Biological Sciences). 

Preparatory Subject Matter
Biological Science15
Introduction to Biology: Essentials of Life on Earth
and Introduction to Biology: Principles of Ecology & Evolution
and Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity & the Tree of Life
Chemistry
Choose a series: 115
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry
and General Chemistry
OR
General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
and General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
and General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
Organic Chemistry
Choose a series; only required for students in the Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology focus area: 20-13
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
and Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
OR
Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
and Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
and Organic Chemistry for Health & Life Sciences
OR
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Mathematics
Choose a series; students in Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology focus area must take MAT 017A-MAT 017B-MAT 017C or MAT 021A-MAT 021B. 38-12
Short Calculus
and Short Calculus
and Short Calculus
OR
Calculus for Biology & Medicine
and Calculus for Biology & Medicine
and Calculus for Biology & Medicine
OR
Calculus
and Calculus
and Calculus
Physics
Choose a series: 412-15
General Physics
and General Physics
and General Physics 6
OR
Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
Recommended:
Life in the Sea
The Oceans
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal50-70
Depth Subject Matter
STA 100Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences4
EVE/ESP 111Marine Environmental Issues1
Choose three of the following four:10-11
Oceanography
Physical & Chemical Oceanography
Geological Oceanography
Biological Oceanography
Choose two:7-8
Atmospheric Thermodynamics & Cloud Physics
General Ecology
Principles of Environmental Science
Principles of Environmental Toxicology
Introduction to Evolution
Introduction to Ecology
Biology of Invertebrates
Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals
Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology Focus Area Only:0-13
Genes & Gene Expression
Cell Biology
Biomolecules & Metabolism
Structure & Function of Biomolecules
and Bioenergetics & Metabolism
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal:22-37
Courses cannot be utilized to fulfill multiple requirements, with the exception that any Bodega Marine Laboratory course simultaneously fulfills the field requirement below and ETX 127/NUT 127 may satisfy both a course and the Research Requirement.
Focus Area
Complete at least four courses from one category below, totaling at least 12 units.12
Focus Area Requirement Subtotal12
Breadth Requirement
Complete one course from each category below, that is not the student's chosen Focus Area, totaling at least 8 units.8
Breadth Requirement Subtotal8
Field Requirement
Fulfill the Field Requirement0-14
The Field Requirement provides exposure to field techniques, experimental design, and the marine environment itself. It is highly recommended that students fulfill this requirement by residence at Bodega Marine Laboratory for one or more courses. Bodega Marine Laboratory courses may simultaneously fulfill an additional requirement in categories above
OR
Alternatively, students may fulfill the Field Requirement by taking two of the following courses; these courses cannot fulfill multiple requirements:
Introduction to Field & Laboratory Methods in Ecology
Limnology Laboratory
Biology of Invertebrates Laboratory
Marine Ecology
Earth History: Sediments & Strata Laboratory
Field Studies in Marine Geochemistry
Field Methods in Wildlife, Fish, & Conservation Biology
Field Studies in Fish Biology: Laboratory
Coastal Ecosystems
Field Requirement Subtotal0-14
Internship/Research
Choose three units:3
Environmental Stress & Development in Marine Organisms (may satisfy both a course above and the Internship/Research Requirement.)
Coastal Marine Research
Internship
Internship
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Internship in Geology
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (or the equivalent)
Internship/Research Subtotal3
Total Units95-144
1

With BASC advisor approval, these combinations also satisfy the Chemistry requirement: CHE 004A-CHE 002A (3 units w/no lab)-CHE 002B-CHE 002C; CHE 004A-CHE 004B-CHE 002C.

2

With BASC advisor approval, these combinations also satisfy the Organic Chemistry requirement: CHE 118A-CHE 008B; CHE 128A-CHE 128B-CHE 008B; CHE 128A-CHE 118B-CHE 118C; CHE 128A-CHE 128B-CHE 129A-CHE 118C; CHE 118A-CHE 128B-CHE 128C-CHE 129A-CHE 129B; CHE 118A-CHE 118B-CHE 128C-CHE 129B.

3

With BASC advisor approval, these combinations also satisfy the Mathematics requirement: MAT 021A-MAT 017B-MAT 017C; MAT 017A-MAT 021B.

4

Students may be able to complete their Physics requirement by blending the PHY 007 & PHY 009 series. For more details about how to do so and course placement, students will need to follow up with the PHY department. Students in the College of Biological Sciences will also need to follow up with a BASC advisor to discuss their plans.

Focus Area Requirement

Complete at least four courses from one category below, totaling at least 12 units.

Coastal Environmental Processes

Emphasis on processes and environments of the coastal zone, and the strong physical-biological connection that exists here. Courses highlight the critical terrestrial marine interface and fundamental physical processes in the coastal zone.

The focus area requirement can be fulfilled using:

ATM 121AAtmospheric Dynamics4
ATM 121BAtmospheric Dynamics4
ATM 158Boundary-Layer Meteorology4
ETX 102AEnvironmental Fate of Toxicants4
ESP 152Coastal Oceanography3
ESP 155Wetland Ecology4
ESP 155LWetland Ecology Laboratory3
ESP 166Ocean & Coastal Policy3
GEL 156/HYD 146Hydrogeology & Contaminant Transport5
GEL 182Field Studies in Marine Geochemistry2-8
HYD 103N/EBS 103Fluid Mechanics Fundamentals4
HYD 134Aqueous Geochemistry6
HYD 143Ecohydrology4
HYD/EBS 144Groundwater Hydrology4
WFC 157Coastal Ecosystems4

Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology

Focus on physiological adaptations to the marine environment, and the biology of marine species from the molecular to population levels. Courses include emphasis on the ecological processes that determine the distribution and abundance of marine organisms, and the patterns and mechanisms of evolution in the ocean.

The focus area requirement can be fulfilled using:

ANS 131Reproduction & Early Development in Aquatic Animals4
BIS 122Population Biology & Ecology3
BIS 122PPopulation Biology & Ecology/Advanced Laboratory Topics5
BIS 124Coastal Marine Research6
ESP 100General Ecology4
ESP 121Population Ecology4
ESP 124Marine & Coastal Field Ecology3
ESP 155Wetland Ecology4
ESP 155LWetland Ecology Laboratory3
EVE 100Introduction to Evolution4
EVE 101Introduction to Ecology4
EVE 106Mechanical Design in Organisms3
EVE 112Biology of Invertebrates3
EVE 112LBiology of Invertebrates Laboratory2
EVE 114Experimental Invertebrate Biology3
EVE 115Marine Ecology4
EVE 120Global Change Ecology3
ETX/NUT 127Environmental Stress & Development in Marine Organisms10
NPB 141Physiological Adaptation of Marine Organisms3
NPB 141PPhysiological Adaptation of Marine Organisms/Advanced Laboratory Topics5
WFC 120Biology & Conservation of Fishes3
WFC 120LLaboratory in Biology & Conservation of Fishes2
WFC 121Physiology of Fishes4
WFC 122Population Dynamics & Estimation4
WFC 130Physiological Ecology of Wildlife4

Marine Environmental Chemistry

Emphasis on major themes in marine chemistry, geochemistry, the carbon cycle, and contaminant fate and transport.

The focus area requirement can be fulfilled using:

CHE 100Environmental Water Chemistry3
ECI 140AEnvironmental Analysis of Aqueous Systems (Not open for credit to students who have taken CHE 100)4
ETX 101Principles of Environmental Toxicology4
ETX 102AEnvironmental Fate of Toxicants4
ETX 120Perspectives in Aquatic Toxicology4
ETX/NUT 127Environmental Stress & Development in Marine Organisms10
GEL 148Stable Isotopes & Geochemical Tracers3
GEL 182Field Studies in Marine Geochemistry2-8
HYD 134Aqueous Geochemistry6
HYD 141Physical Hydrology4
WFC 153Wildlife Ecotoxicology4

Oceans & the Earth System

A study of our changing oceans in the context of earth system history, including climate change, paleoceanography, ecological shifts, conservation, and marine policy.

The focus area requirement can be fulfilled using:

ATM 116Modern Climate Change3
ESM 120Global Environmental Interactions4
ESM 121Water Science & Management3
ESP 110Principles of Environmental Science4
ESP 161Environmental Law4
ESP 162Environmental Policy4
ESP 166Ocean & Coastal Policy3
ESP 169Water Policy & Politics3
EVE 120Global Change Ecology3
GEL 107Earth History: Paleobiology3
GEL 107LEarth History: Paleobiology Laboratory2
GEL 108Earth History: Paleoclimates3
GEL 109Earth History: Sediments & Strata3
GEL 109LEarth History: Sediments & Strata Laboratory2
GEL 144Historical Ecology3
SAS 120Science & Contemporary Societal Issues3
WFC 144Marine Conservation Science4
WFC 154Conservation Biology 4

Breadth Requirement

Complete one course from each category below, that is not the student's chosen Focus Area, totaling at least 8 units.

Coastal Environmental Processes

The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses:

ATM 158Boundary-Layer Meteorology4
ECI 140BChemical Principles for Environmental Engineers4
ESP 110Principles of Environmental Science4
ESP 152Coastal Oceanography3
ESP 155Wetland Ecology4
GEL 182Field Studies in Marine Geochemistry2-8
WFC 157Coastal Ecosystems4

Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology

The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses:

BIS 124Coastal Marine Research6
ESP 124Marine & Coastal Field Ecology3
ESP 155Wetland Ecology4
EVE 106Mechanical Design in Organisms3
EVE 114Experimental Invertebrate Biology3
EVE 115Marine Ecology4
EVE 120Global Change Ecology3
ETX/NUT 127Environmental Stress & Development in Marine Organisms10
NPB 141Physiological Adaptation of Marine Organisms3
NPB 141PPhysiological Adaptation of Marine Organisms/Advanced Laboratory Topics5

Marine Environmental Chemistry

The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses:

CHE 100Environmental Water Chemistry3
ECI 140BChemical Principles for Environmental Engineers4
ETX 120Perspectives in Aquatic Toxicology4
ETX/NUT 127Environmental Stress & Development in Marine Organisms10
GEL 182Field Studies in Marine Geochemistry2-8
HYD 134Aqueous Geochemistry6
HYD 141Physical Hydrology4

Oceans & the Earth System

The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses:

ATM 116Modern Climate Change3
ESP 166Ocean & Coastal Policy3
EVE 120Global Change Ecology3
GEL 107Earth History: Paleobiology3
GEL 108Earth History: Paleoclimates3
WFC 144Marine Conservation Science4
WFC 154Conservation Biology 4

Total Units for the Major by Chosen Focus Area

Focus Area Units
Oceans & the Earth System (Letters & Science) 95-118
Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology (Biological Sciences) 110-144
Marine Environmental Chemistry (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) 95-118
Coastal Environmental Processes (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences) 95-118