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Marine and Coastal Science — Oceans and the Earth System

College of Letters and Science

  • Bachelor of Science

Do you want to explore science in an applied, hands-on way? Marine scientists apply scientific skills in the natural and physical sciences to protect ocean and coastal environments and solve modern, global problems. Our oceans account for more than 96 percent of the world’s water, and few of the world’s coastlines are beyond the influence of human pressures. The oceans and the earth system emphasis concentrates on our changing oceans in the context of earth system history, including climate change, paleoceanography, ecological shifts, conservation and marine policy.

Major Requirements

Courses, fieldwork and research opportunities encourage students to think collaboratively and draw upon globally-recognized experts from a wide variety of disciplines as well as the resources of UC Davis' Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Coursework in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences lays the foundation for core curriculum in marine science. The oceans and the earth system emphasis provides mastery through advanced coursework in subjects such as atmospheric science, environmental science and management, environmental policy, evolution and ecology, geology, international relations, science and society and wildlife, fish and conservation biology. The major concludes with a capstone research course.

Contact Information

Degree Outcomes


  • Aquaculture Specialist
  • Aquarium Operations Management
  • Coastal Geologist
  • Ecotoxicologist
  • Environmental Chemist
  • Fisheries Biologist
  • Marine Biologist/Ecologist

Graduate Study

  • Marine biology
  • Environmental sciences
  • International studies
  • Marine biology and biological oceanography
  • Teaching
  • Law

Alumni Employers

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Antea Group
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab
  • AmeriCorps
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Internship opportunities

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Your course roadmap

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The faculty you will work with

Our undergraduates work directly with our faculty through research projects and labs.

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Global learning programs

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Undergraduate research

Get hands on with your interests. Participate in one of our hundreds of research opportunities.

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What can I do with my marine and coastal science major?

Learn how to connect your marine and coastal science major to career opportunities.

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