The biological oceanography concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students considering employment or graduate work in the field of biological oceanography. Biological oceanography is the study of biological processes in the oceans, i.e., marine organisms and how they are affected by the physics, chemistry, biology and geology of the oceans. Students in the biological oceanography concentration are strongly encouraged to minor in biology by taking the appropriate 300- and 400-level classes in the biology department.
The chemical oceanography concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students considering employment or graduate work in the field of chemical oceanography. Chemical oceanography is the study of the behavior of the chemical elements in the oceans and marine sediments and how they are affected by physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes. Students in the chemical oceanography concentration are strongly encouraged to minor in chemistry by taking the appropriate 300- and 400-level classes in the chemistry department.
The earth science education concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students interested in teaching earth science in secondary schools. This program meets the requirements for teacher licensure in Virginia as established by the Virginia Board of Education licensure regulations.
The environmental science concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students broadly interested in earth and ocean sciences. Students gain a solid background in basic sciences (e.g., chemistry, physics, math, and biology) while also taking courses in geology, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences. The concentration allows students the freedom to focus their upper-level coursework in a disciplinary field in ocean and earth sciences they find most compelling. Student in this concentration will be prepared for a wide range of future scientific pursuits (including graduate studies in appropriate fields), as well as work (or graduate studies) that applies their skills to policy development and interpretation. Specific employment opportunities include work in local, state, and federal government agencies, environmental consulting firms, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The geology concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students with a wide range of professional goals in the sciences, engineering, business, and the arts. Students seeking employment in pure and applied fields of geology, including environmental geology, geological oceanography, hydrogeology, marine geology, geobiology, geophysics, and geochemistry, should also choose their courses to support certification as a professional geologist (below). Students considering graduate work in these fields should similarly build their backgrounds accordingly. Students with a strong interest in geological applications of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing tools should consider the geology concentration with a minor in geography; the certificate program in spatial analysis of coastal environments also emphasizes this area of study.
The marine science technology concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students interested in the more practical and technical side of oceanography. Students gain practical skills in data acquisition and processing, field operations, and instrument design, assembly, operation, and maintenance. Whereas other concentrations in ocean and earth science emphasize more theoretical aspects of these fields, this concentration focuses on hands-on skills. Upon graduation, students in this concentration will be able to work closely with scientists, researchers, and engineers on wide ranging projects in the environmental science and technology fields. For example, these include potential job opportunities associated with Virginia's offshore wind resource development, which involve collecting and analyzing meteorological, oceanographic and environmental data, upgrading port and logistics facilities, and ensuring this development is compatible with other ocean uses.
The physical oceanography concentration in the Ocean & Earth Sciences B.S. degree is designed for students considering employment or graduate work in the field of physical oceanography. Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes in the ocean, especially the transport and physical properties of ocean waters (particularly heat and salt).
The masters in Ocean & Earth Science integrated curriculum uses active learning by promoting research and education. It is designed to give graduates the skill sets to prepare them for a range of careers in academia, and the public and private sectors. The graduate program in OEAS draws from the strength of our diverse faculty and their active research programs that span the globe. Graduate students have the opportunity to take part in research projects among a broad suite of field sites from the local waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the polar regions.
The Ph.D degree follows the traditional path of original research in the field of oceanography. The emphasis areas are biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography, and the earth and geological sciences. Interdisciplinary studies are emphasized and an integral part of the student experience. The curricula are designed to prepare graduates for professional practice in their area of interest.
The certificate in spatial analysis of coastal environments (SpACE) provides an interdisciplinary program for students wishing to pursue careers in coastal management or research, remote sensing, or geographic information systems (GIS) applications. Rendered upon completion of the requirements, the certificate is an academic affidavit comprised of courses in geography and ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences and is administered by the two departments.
The minor in Ocean & Earth Sciences is designed for students who wish to supplement their major course of study with coursework in this field. Juniors and seniors with declared majors in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics or physics are eligible to enter the minor program. Students wishing to pursue the minor may elect to emphasize any aspect of geology, or biological, chemical, or physical oceanography.