Download a PDF of this section: The Faculty of Science Print this page Email this page

Oceanography

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences offers oceanography specializations in Combined Major in Oceanography and Biology, Combined Major in Oceanography and Physics, Honours Fisheries Oceanography, Combined Honours Oceanography and Biology, Combined Honours Oceanography and Another Science Subject, and a Minor in Oceanography. For the Combined Major in Microbiology and Oceanography, see Microbiology. The Major specialization in Earth and Ocean Sciences is available for students who have a broad interest in earth science as it relates to oceanography. For information on graduate degrees, see Oceanography.

Those who wish to pursue a professional career in the discipline are encouraged to enrol in one of the Combined Major or Combined Honours specializations in Oceanography and Another Science Subject. Example specializations in Combined Honours include Oceanography and Chemistry, Oceanography and Geology, Oceanography and Geophysics, and Oceanography and Physics. See an undergraduate oceanography advisor for examples.

Formal specialization approval must be obtained from both departmental advisors before registering in second, third, and fourth years of Combined Honours specializations. Enrolment in all Oceanography Combined Honours and the Fisheries Oceanography specializations requires an academic average of 72%.

A general first-year course, EOSC 112, is offered for all students. Non-laboratory general courses, EOSC 314 and EOSC 315, are offered to students who are not in Science or Applied Science. EOSC 372 and 373 are offered to students who have completed appropriate first year science or applied science courses.

For details of other undergraduate Science specializations available in the department, see Atmospheric Science, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geological Sciences, and Geophysics. The department also offers Geological Engineering as part of the B.A.Sc. degree program.

Majors Specializations

Combined Major (3125): Oceanography and Biology

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
PHYS 100-level2 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
EOSC 1123 3
BIOL 112, 1214 6
MATH 100 or 102 or 1045 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1056 3
Electives7 1
Total Credits 30
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 200, 230, 233 (or 234), 2608 12
One of BIOL 203, 204, 205, 209 or MICB 2019 3
EOSC 211, 270 6
CHEM 233 3
Electives9,11 3
Total Credits 30
Third Year
BIOL 300, 336, 351 10
EOSC 372, 373 6
Two of BIOL 340, 341, 363 4
Electives10,11 10
Total Credits 30
Fourth Year
BIOL 402 3
EOSC 470, 472 6
One of EOSC 475, 478 3
One of EOSC 448, 473 3
Electives10,11 15
Total Credits 30
Total Credits for Degree 120
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without credit for Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to taking any other 100-level PHYS course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective. Students requiring PHYS 100 or MATH 110 may delay PHYS 101/107/117 until second year. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107.
3 Students who enter the specialization after second year may substitute EOSC 340.
4 Students without one of BIOL 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before attempting BIOL 112 or BIOL 121. Students without Chemistry 12 must take CHEM 111 before taking BIOL 112.
5 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
6 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
7 Recommended electives are EOSC 111 (1 credit) or BIOL 140 (2 credits).
8 Up to 3 credits of BIOL 200, 230, 233, 234, and 260 may be deferred until third year to allow space for additional electives.
9 Students who take 4 credits of organismal diversity courses (BIOL 203, 204, 205, 209) should take 2 credits of electives. Students who take 3 credits of organismal diversity courses (MICB 201) should take 3 credits of electives. Surplus elective credit taken in first or second year can be applied to third or fourth year as elective credit.
10 The computation requirement and breadth requirement of the Faculty of Science are satisfied by the combination of courses in the Combined Major. However, the electives must be selected to ensure that the following Faculty of Science requirements are met: a) sufficient credits from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement; b) sufficient upper-level credits including specialization requirements.
11 Students interested in fisheries oceanography should consider ECON 101 (Arts credit) and LAW 356 as electives.

Specialization Objectives:

Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough biology/oceanography to qualify students for graduate school in either biology or oceanography or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians in environmental sciences.

Learning Goals:

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the chemical and physical ocean environment with emphasis on biological processes and chemical processes;
  2. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for environmental set up and data analysis;
  3. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and real data;
  4. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in biological oceanography;
  5. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  6. integrate concepts across multiple levels of biological complexity (i.e., biochemical, physiological, organismal, and ecological);
  7. conduct independent study on a topic of their choosing;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Major (3144): Microbiology and Oceanography

See Microbiology and Immunology.

Combined Major (3383): Oceanography and Chemistry

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 1042 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1053 3
PHYS 100-level4 6
EOSC 1125 3
Electives6 4
Total Credits 30
Second Year
CHEM 2037 4
CHEM 2058 3
CHEM 208 3
CHEM 211 4
CHEM 213, 245 4
CHEM 218 3
EOSC 211 3
STAT 200 3
Electives6 3
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Year
CHEM 3001 3
CHEM 301 3
CHEM 311 3
CHEM 325, 345 4
One of CHEM 305, 313, 318, 327, 330 3
CHEM 4459 3
EOSC 372, 373 6
EOSC 472 3
EOSC 47310 3
CHEM and Oceanography Selections9,11 12
Electives6 17
Total Credits 60
Total Credits for Degree 120
1 Of the 6 credits of coursework required to satisfy the Communication Requirement, 3 credits are specified in third year (CHEM 300). The remaining 3 credits must be chosen from the list of acceptable courses, see Communication Requirement. ENGL credits beyond those needed to satisfy the Communication Requirement may be applied towards the Faculty of Science Arts Requirement.
2 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
3 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
4 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. PHYS 109 or 119 are recommended. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before taking other 100-level PHYS courses.
5 Students who enter the specialization after second year may substitute EOSC 340 for EOSC 112.
6 Electives must be chosen to ensure the Faculty of Science Arts Requirement and Upper-level Requirement are met. Elective credits may be redistributed among the years in this specialization, provided the total number remains the same. The year level of an elective does not need to correspond to the year level of the specialization. Students without one of Biology 11 or 12 must take 3 credits of 100-level BIOL.
7 Students with CHEM 235 and a score of 76% or higher in CHEM 233 may apply for admission to this specialization and will be allowed to use CHEM 233 and 235 in place of CHEM 203.
8 CHEM 304 is an acceptable substitute for this requirement.
9 With permission, CHEM 449 or 6 credits of CHEM 445 may be substituted for 3 credits of CHEM 445 and 3 credits of 400-level CHEM lecture selections.
10 Can be substituted by EOSC 448 or CHEM 448 upon permission of an advisor if EOSC 473 is not available.
11 Chosen from 300- and 400- level CHEM lecture courses as well as EOSC 470-479. At least 3 credits must be chosen from EOSC 470-479, and at least 3 credits chosen from 400-level CHEM lecture courses, excluding the credits associated with substitutions involving CHEM 445 or CHEM 449, as detailed in footnote 9.

Specialization Objectives:

Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough chemistry/oceanography to qualify students for graduate school in either chemistry or oceanography or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians in environmental sciences.

Learning Goals:

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the ocean environment, mostly (but not solely) from a chemical perspective;
  2. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for environmental set up and data analysis;
  3. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and with real data;
  4. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in chemical oceanography;
  5. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  6. integrate oceanographic and chemical concepts across multiple levels of complexity;
  7. conduct independent study on a topic of their choosing;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Major (3126): Oceanography and Physics

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
PHYS 117 (101, 107)2 3
PHYS 118 (102, 108)2 3
PHYS 119 (109)2 1
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
EOSC 1123 3
MATH 100 or 102 or 1045 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1056 3
Electives4,7,8 3
Total Credits 30
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
MATH 200, 215, 221 9
PHYS 200, 216, 219, 229 10
EOSC 21111 3
Electives8,9 5
Total Credits 30
Third Year
PHYS 312 or MATH 316 3
MATH 317 3
PHYS 203 4
PHYS 309 or PHYS 319 3
EOSC 372, 373 6
Electives8,9 8
Third or Fourth Year10
ATSC 409 3
EOSC 471 3
Fourth Year
PHYS 301, 304, 409 9
EOSC 352, 354 6
EOSC 473 or EOSC 448 3
Electives8,9 9
Total Credits for Third and Fourth Year 60
Total Credits for Degree 120
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students without credit for Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to other PHYS courses. PHYS 100 will count as an elective. Qualified students are encouraged to take PHYS 107, 108, 109. Students are advised to take PHYS 117 in second year if they did not take it or PHYS 107 in first year.
3 Students who enter the specialization after second year may substitute EOSC 340.
4 Students without Biology 11 or 12 must take 3 credits of 100-level BIOL.
5 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
6 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
7 A recommended 1 credit elective is EOSC 111.
8 Surplus elective credit taken in first or second year can be applied to third or fourth year as elective credit.
9 The computation requirement and breadth requirement of the Faculty of Science are satisfied by the combination of courses in the combined major. However, the electives must be selected to ensure that the following Faculty of Science requirements are met: a) sufficient credits must be from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement; and b) sufficient upper-level credits including specialization requirements.
10 These courses are offered every second Winter Session.
11 Students may delay EOSC 211 until their third year if course timetable conflicts do not allow it to be done in second year.

Specialization Objectives:

Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough physics/mathematics to qualify students for graduate school in either physics, oceanography, or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians in environmental sciences.

Learning Goals:

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the ocean environment, mostly (but not solely) from a physics perspective;
  2. use analytical problem solving including mathematical techniques as far as partial differential equations and linear algebra, and statistical techniques for time series analysis;
  3. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and with real data;
  4. use basic field/electronic/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in physical oceanography;
  5. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  6. integrate theory, observations, and/or numerics to solve physical oceanography problems;
  7. conduct independent study on a topic of their choosing;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Honours Specializations

Honours (0577): Fisheries Oceanography

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 112, 121, 1402 8
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
EOSC 110, 112, 114 or 116 3
EOSC 111 1
MATH 100 or 102 or 1045 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1056 3
PHYS 100-level3 3
Total Credits 32
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 200, 201 6
BIOL 204, 205 8
BIOL 230 3
CHEM 233, 235 4
ECON 101 3
EOSC 211 3
Electives4 3
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
BIOL 300, 301 6
BIOL 408, 465, 466 12
EOSC 372, 373 6
EOSC 470, 472, 473, 478 12
EOSC 449 6
LAW 356 3
Electives4 22
Total Credits 67
Total Credits for Degree 132
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before attempting BIOL 112 or BIOL 121 or BIOL 140. Students without Chemistry 12 must take CHEM 111 before taking BIOL 112.
3 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other 100-level PHYS course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective.
4 Electives must be selected to ensure that the following Faculty of Science requirements are met: a) sufficient credits from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Communication Requirement; and b) sufficient upper-level credits including specialization requirements. MATH 200 and MICB 202 are recommended in second or third year.
5 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
6 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough oceanography to qualify students for graduate school in either oceanography, fisheries, or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians or entry-level consultants in fisheries science/management or environmental sciences.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the chemical and physical ocean environment with emphasis on biological processes and fisheries;
  2. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for environmental set up and data analysis;
  3. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and real data;
  4. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in fisheries oceanography;
  5. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  6. integrate concepts across multiple levels of biological complexity (i.e., biochemical, physiological, organismal, and ecological);
  7. define, conduct, and present the results of an independent research project;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Honours: Oceanography and Another Science Subject1

First Year
Communication Requirement8 3
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
EOSC 110 or 112 or 114 or 116 3
EOSC 111 1
MATH 100 or 102 or 1049 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 10510 3
PHYS 100-level3 3
Electives2,3 13
Total Credits 33
Second Year
Communication Requirement8 3
EOSC 2114, 222 6
Electives2,5 24
Total Credits5 33
Third and Fourth Years
EOSC 340, 372, 373, 4736 12
EOSC or ATSC 400-level 3
Two of EOSC 470, 471, 472, 475, 478 6
EOSC 4497 6
Electives2 39
Total Credits 66
Total Credits for Degree 132
1 Combined Honours specializations must be approved by advisors from both disciplines at the time that the specialization is declared. Not all disciplines offer Combined Honours. Examples of Combined Honours Oceanography specializations are at are at Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.
2 Within the specified electives students must meet the requirements of the other specialization. The available elective credit in the different years may be adjusted to allow for specific specialization combinations as long as there are 132 total credits and at least 30 credits in each Winter Session. Electives must be selected to ensure that the following Faculty of Science requirements are met: a) sufficient credits from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Communication Requirement; and b) sufficient upper-level credits including specialization requirements. If the other specialization specifies less than 48 additional credits, further courses must be selected in consultation with the specialization advisors.
3 Chose from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other PHYS 100-level course. PHYS 100 will be counted as an elective. Students without Biology 11 or 12 must take 3 credits of 100-level biology.
4 Or equivalent as specified by other discipline with permission of advisor.
5 Some credits can be deferred to years 3 or 4, but each Winter Session must have at least 30 credits.
6 Recommended to be taken in third year.
7 Or a thesis course in the other discipline.
8 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
9 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
10 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough oceanography and Another Science Subject to qualify students for graduate school in oceanography or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians or entry-level consultants in oceanography or environmental sciences.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the biological, chemical and physical ocean;
  2. demonstrate basic knowledge of atmospheric or climate dynamics
  3. demonstrate basic knowledge of Another Science Subject
  4. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for environmental set up and data analysis;
  5. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and real data;
  6. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in oceanography;
  7. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  8. define, conduct, and present the results of an independent research project;
  9. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Combined Honours (0535): Oceanography and Biology (OCGY, BIOL)

First Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 1122 3
BIOL 121, 1402 5
CHEM 121 (or 111) 4
CHEM 123 (or 113) 4
EOSC 110 or 112 or 114 or 116 3
MATH 100 or 102 or 1049 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 10510 3
PHYS 100-level3 3
Electives 2
Total Credits 33
Second Year
Communication Requirement1 3
BIOL 200, 230, 233 (or 234), 2604 12
One of (BIOL 203, 204, 205, 209 or MICB 201)6 3
CHEM 233, 235 4
EOSC 211, 270 6
Electives5,6,11 4
Total Credits 33
Third and Fourth Years
BIOL 300, 336, 351 10
Two of BIOL 340, 341, 363 6
BIOL 402 3
Other BIOL courses numbered 300 or higher 3
EOSC 340, 372, 373, 470, 4737 15
EOSC 449 or BIOL 4498 3
EOSC electives8 6
Additional upper-level science electives8 6
Electives11 14
Total Credits 66
Total Credits for Degree 132
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirement.
2 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before attempting BIOL 112, BIOL 121, or BIOL 140. Students without Chemistry 12 must take CHEM 111 before taking BIOL 112.
3 Chosen from 100-level PHYS courses, excluding PHYS 100. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other 100-level PHYS course. PHYS 100 will count as an elective.
4 Up to 3 credits of BIOL 200, 230, 233, 234, and 260 may be deferred until third year to allow space for additional electives.
5 MATH 200 is recommended in second or third year.
6 Students who take 4 credits of organismal diversity courses (BIOL 203, 204, 205, 209) should take 3 credits of electives. Students who take 3 credits of organismal diversity courses (MICB 201) should take 4 credits of electives. Surplus elective credit taken in first or second year can be applied to third or fourth year as elective credit.
7 Recommended that this course be taken in third year.
8 If BIOL 449 is taken, an additional 6 credits of EOSC courses must be chosen as part of the upper-level science electives.
9 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
10 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
11 Electives must be selected to ensure that there are sufficient credits from the Faculty of Arts, excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement.

Specialization Objectives

Honours will provide more depth than the Major. Mastery of the curriculum will:

  1. provide enough biology/oceanography to qualify students for graduate school in either biology, oceanography, or environmental science;
  2. prepare students for employment as technicians or entry-level consultants in oceanography or environmental sciences.

Learning Goals

Students completing this specialization will be able to:

  1. demonstrate basic knowledge about the chemical and physical ocean environment with emphasis on biological processes and chemical processes;
  2. integrate concepts across multiple levels of biological complexity (i.e., biochemical, physiological, organismal, and ecological);
  3. use mathematical knowledge including calculus and statistical techniques for environmental set up and data analysis;
  4. use numerical problem solving (using computer programming skills) both with models and real data;
  5. use basic field/laboratory skills for observation and experimentation in biological oceanography;
  6. illustrate the distinctions between data, experiment, theory, and model;
  7. define, conduct, and present the results of an independent research project;
  8. write reports and communicate through oral presentations.

Minor (1193): Oceanography (OCGY)

The minor consists of 18 credits, including all of EOSC 340, 372, 373, and three of EOSC 470 - 489 including at least two of EOSC 470, 471 and 472. See Minor in Science.

Page last updated: March 14, 2017

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Student Services
Vancouver Campus
1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia