The undergraduate minor in Marine Science addresses the growing national demand for undergraduate education in earth, marine, and environmental sciences and prepares students for graduate programs, state and federal agencies, and industry positions throughout the country.
Interested students are provided with a coherent experience in this interdisciplinary subject. A total of 18 credit hours are required, which include 2 required core courses, 3 Marine Science Fundamentals courses, plus 6 additional elective hours. Courses are held at both the Williamsburg campus of W&M as well as SMS/VIMS Gloucester Point and field locations.
Questions and inquiries should be directed to William & Mary Admissions
Curriculum - 18 credit hours
Required introductory course (3 credits)
- MSCI 330 - Introduction to Marine Science (3 credits; COLL 200)
or cross-listed as BIOL 330, ENSP 249, GEOL 330
Field Course (3 credits)
Select one course from the following:
- MSCI 331 - Field Studies in Coastal Marine Environments (3 credits)
or cross listed as BIOL 404, ENSP 440 or GEOL 407
We encourage students to take this course during the summer following either their freshman or sophomore year.
- MSCI 332 - Coastal Marine Habitats in North Wales (3 credits; COLL 300)
- Other field courses of appropriate length and scope may be used to fulfill the field course requirement with permission from the Program Co-Directors.
Elective Courses (12 credits)
Existing courses that can be used to meet this requirement are listed below. Additional courses may be used to satisfy this requirement with approval from the Marine Science Minor Advisory Committee. Select at least one course of 3 or more credits (inclusive of required recitation section) from the Physical category and one from the Biological category. Note that any of the 2-credit MSCI 401A–F courses have a required corequisite recitation (MSCI 401R) section which counts for one additional credit.
Courses that will count for the Physical category include:
- MSCI 401A - Fundamentals of Marine Science, Physical Oceanography (2 credits)
- MSCI 401B - Fundamentals of Marine Science, Chemical Oceanography (3 credits)
- MSCI 401C - Fundamentals of Marine Geology (2 credits)
- MSCI 421 - Marine Geology: Environments, Processes, and Records (3 credits)
- GEOL 324 - Paleoclimatology & Paleoceanography (4 credits)
Courses that will count for the Biological category include:
- MSCI 340 - Marine Biology (3 credits)
- MSCI 401D - Fundamentals of Marine Science, Biological Oceanography (2 credits)
- MSCI 401E - Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Pathobiology (2 credits)
- MSCI 401F - Fundamentals of Marine Fisheries Science (3 credits)
- BIOL 404 - Parasitology (3 credits)
- BIOL 427 - Wetland Ecosystems (4 credits)
- BIOL 457 - Marine Invertebrate Biology (4 credits)
- BIOL 460 - Marine Ecology (3 credits)
- BIOL 461 - Marine Ecology and Conservationn (3 credits)
A co-requisite recitation section is required for each of the 2-credit MSCI 401A–F courses.
Additional electives that can be used to fulfill the 18 credits for the minor include:
- MSCI 391 - Marine Science Mash-up (1 credit)
- MSCI 398 - Marine Science Seminars (1–3 credits)
Courses taught by VIMS PhD students. Topics vary from year to year, typically with 2–3 courses offered per semester. Seminars can be repeated for credit if the topic is different.
- MSCI 404 - Microbial Processes in a Changing Coastal Environment (2 credits)
- MSCI 490 - Research in Marine Science (1–3 credits)
Students should register for this course for semi-independent, faculty-mentored research. A section can be created for any faculty member at VIMS or William & Mary, with permission. Note that some faculty prefer that students instead register for MSCI 497 - Problems in Marine Science, for 1–3 credits.
- GEOL 325 - Paleontology (3 credits)
or cross-listed as BIOL 317 - Paleontology
- Miscellaneous MSCI electives (1–3 credits)
Rotating elective courses. Check the Catalog for details.