Why Major in Oceanography?
Students are drawn here from across the world, and from sciences across campus, for a unique interdiscipinary science education – you will study biological, chemical and physical oceanography and marine geology and geophysics – and a strong program in ocean technology.
Our undergraduate program is a small close-knit learning community set within the bigger UW. Our small size allows meaningful interactions with faculty and opportunities to tailor individual courses of study. But you will still have access to the vast resources of one of the top "Research-1" universities in the world.
You will gain hands-on experience in the context of this strong base of research - with links to international programs, access to research vessels, and close proximity to coastal waters and the open ocean.
We engage our students in experiential learning in the classroom, in our laboratories, and out in the field, culminating in a student-centered senior thesis using your choice from our cutting edge research facilities: a world-class research vessel (the RV Thompson or the RV Carson), Friday Harbor Laboratories, the regional cabled array or its student-built counterpart on Portage Bay, or one of the platforms or laboratories used by our faculty for their own research programs, ranked first in the world.
A degree in Oceanography prepares you for diverse careers with a broad scientific base of knowledge and many opportunities to practice critical and flexible thinking.
Want to learn more?
We offer several introductory courses where you can get a rich exposure to Oceanography without prerequisites. Ocean 101, 102 and 121 are designed for students from any major. Ocean 200/201 is designed for students who probably want to major in a STEM field, and is also the first required course in the Oceanography major core sequence.
If you are new to the major or thinking about it, the best thing you can do is to enroll in the 1-credit seminar Ocean 100 which meets every Fall to provide all the info you need about the major and more -- you will leave with a sample individualized course plan in hand, having met many of our faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and knowing a lot more about the cutting edge research happening in Oceanography.
If you can't find what you need here, contact Michelle Townsend, our student adviser -- she is always available for advice and information.