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Marine Science

The degree provides a holistic, multidisciplinary understanding of complex coastal and ocean processes by providing our students with expertise in a variety of disciplines related to the marine environment.

What Do Marine Scientists Do?

Here are a few examples. They:

  • Specialize and perform applied research across all marine science disciplines (marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and marine physics);
  • Provide science-based decision support for marine natural resource, wildlife, aquaculture, water quality, and ecological restoration and management efforts;
  • Apply cutting-edge technologies to ocean observing efforts, from land- and ship-borne systems to satellite oceanography;
  • Conduct fundamental research on the complex dynamics that define global and regional oceanic processes, in the past, present, and future.


Students first complete the required initial sequences in biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics.

After that, you will begin working with more advanced topics in the fields of biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography, including regular access to world-class research vessels; professional training in the field methods of marine science; and conducting directed research as part of a student-centered senior thesis.

Degree Options

There is one Bachelor of Science (BS) degree available.

Southern Miss is one of only 16 institutions in the United States, and the only institution in the state of Mississippi, that offers an undergraduate degree in marine science (also known as oceanography). It is the only institution in the entire nation to offer a professional certification (Category B) in the Hydrography emphasis area.

  • Marine Science BS

    Availability: Gulf Park

    The degree includes broad exposure to the physical sciences, specifically as they relate to ocean processes and the marine environment, which includes a cross-discipline curriculum in the applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and results in greater recognition from employers and the possibility of higher starting salaries.

    View Semester by Semester Guide

More about this Major


Our marine science graduates are currently working as marine research scientists, technicians, project managers, meteorology & oceanography forecasters, U.S. Navy officers, fisheries and aquaculture scientists, and hydrographic surveyors; or furthering their studies in graduate school, pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in the Geosciences.

Our graduates have careers with TerraSond Ltd., DOF Subsea, NOAA, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, and the U.S. Navy.
The Division of Marine Science, within the School of Ocean Science and Technology, offers the only interdisciplinary undergraduate program in marine science in Mississippi and the only undergraduate emphasis in hydrography in the nation.

Courses You Might Take

MAR 300/L & 301/L: Oceanography

The core curriculum series for all marine science majors, providing an introduction to each of the core disciplines of oceanography (biology, chemistry, geology, and physics).

MAR 310: Field Methods in Marine Science

A course designed to provide students with comprehensive training in the methods most appropriate for field research within the marine sciences, from experimental design to data analysis.

MAR 402: Marine Environmental Science

Expand your knowledge of the problems that affect the coastal and marine environment, and apply the scientific method and your critical thinking skills to explore solutions to those complex environmental problems within the context of the historical, social, political, and economic landscape as well.

MAR 412: Introduction to Hydrography

An introduction to the science of surveying and charting bodies of water, including nautical charting surveys, surveys in support of port management and coastal engineering, and the production of digital maps of coastlines, the ocean floor, and submerged structures/features.

MAR 423/L: Marine Mammals

Explore the natural history and population ecology of cetaceans, including their life histories, distribution, population dynamics, diet and feeding, sound generation, social behavior, and evolution.

MAR 431: Basic Marine Science Instrumentation

A practical, hands-on introduction to the principal instruments, devices, and systems used to measure important physical and chemical properties of the ocean, including pressure/depth, temperature, conductivity, and the speed of sound in the ocean.

MAR 497: Senior Capstone

The culmination of a cross-discipline, student-centered senior research project, incorporating skills and lessons learned from complementary coursework in Field Methods of Marine Science, Management & Analysis of Oceanographic Data, and the Senior Research Seminar. The end result is a professional research product that serves as a senior thesis, ready for publication.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Scott Milroy

Coordinator & Associate Professor, Marine Science

Favorite Course: MAR 310

Expertise: Ecosystem Modeling

Danielle Greenhow

Coordinator & Instructor, Marine Science

Favorite Course: MAR 423/L

Expertise: Marine Mammals/Bioacoustics

Maxim van Norden

Coordinator & Instructor, Hydrographic Science

Favorite Course: MAR 412

Expertise: Hydrographic Science

Take the Next Steps

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Visit our beautiful Hattiesburg or Gulf Park campuses. Seeing for yourself is a great way to get to know us better.

Apply to Southern Miss

Be aware of our deadlines, $40 application fee and other items on our checklist. Admission requirements vary for freshmen, transfers, prospective Honors College students and others.

Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.