Marine Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that explores the dynamic relationship between people and the marine environment. The Marine Studies program contributes to this exploration by emphasizing the human dimensions and perspectives of the ocean and coasts. These human dimensions coalesce in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. This program is for students who seek expertise in these liberal arts methods and are keenly aware of the importance of understanding the human aspects of addressing the growing challenges and opportunities for coastal and ocean sustainability.

In contrast to other existing degrees with a marine focus, the Marine Studies degree emphasizes and celebrates the human component(s) of our interactions with the ocean and coastal environments. While the degree recognizes the essential role the natural sciences play in understanding all elements of the earth including the seas (and requires some basic, lower-division training in those areas) it specifically and repeatedly asks students to examine, filter, and express their knowledge and learning through transdisciplinary, humanistic, and cultural lenses. 

As a result of completing this degree, students will:

  • Gain expertise in the humanities, arts, and the social sciences—and apply these approaches to the study of humans in the marine environment
  • Have a basic understanding of coastal and ocean ecosystem functioning                                          
  • Build educational experience to meet specific career and personal goals, through specialization, internship, and capstone experiences
  • Understand social and environmental justice as frameworks for study and thinking
  • Be ready to excel in careers in the public and private sectors

Hallmarks of the new degree:

  • Foundational coursework to develop critical thinking regarding human interactions with the marine environment
  • Core classes that provide students with interdisciplinary training, including diverse perspectives and methodological approaches to problem-solving and decision making, in marine-related fields of inquiry across the social sciences, arts, and humanities
  • Required coastal experience courses offered at Hatfield Marine Science Center or offered at Corvallis or via Ecampus with significant course dimensions integrating with Hatfield
  • Advanced elective coursework to contextualize marine-focused courses and gain expertise toward transdisciplinary and liberal arts-based specializations such as, but not limited to: environmental and social justice, politics and policy, arts and literature, entrepreneurship, global and transnational perspectives, and community development

Degree Requirements: 

  • College of Liberal Arts Marine Studies students must satisfy four sets of requirements: − OSU Baccalaureate Core 
    • OSU Baccalaureate Core 

    • College of Liberal Arts Core 

    • College of Liberal Arts BA or BS requirements 

    • Marine Studies (MAST) major requirements 

  • Students will select a specialization through “Areas of Distinction” in their third year, consisting of at least 20 upper division credits, an internship and a capstone experience. 
  • Students will participate in an internship focused on a marine issue and include visits and/or residency in a coastal location. 
  • Students will enroll in a Capstone Experience involving a substantial project aligned with their area of specialization. 
  • At least 8 credits of coursework (in addition to the internship and capstone) must be designated as “Coastal Experience”. 
  • Students must achieve a grade of C- or higher in any course required by the major. 
  • A single course can satisfy any combination of two of the above requirements (e.g., MAST and Bacc Core, MAST and Liberal Arts Core, etc.) but not three of the above. 

Questions about this degree?

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