Curriculum

Requirements for the Minor

Required Credit Hours: 18

See the Undergraduate Catalog for more details.  Descriptions of the required courses are listed below.  Not every course it taught every semester.  The Undergraduate Catalog and on-line Course Schedule have more information.  

  1. Two required courses (6 credits)
    1. Introduction to Marine Science - MSCI 330
      Spring (3 credits) Weng
      Cross-listed as BIOL 330, ENSP 249GEOL 330
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 100
      This course provides an overview of physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes operating in the world ocean.  The interdisciplinary nature of marine science is emphasized, providing an integrated view of factors that control ocean history, circulation, chemistry, and biological productivity.
    2. Field Studies in Coastal Marine Environments - MSCI 331
      Summer (3 credits) Snyder
      Cross listed as ENSP 440
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 20

      Prerequisite: MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or ENSP 249 or GEOL 330 
      Notes: We encourage students to take this course during the summer following either their freshman or sophomore year;  course will be offered at VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory
      This course focuses on fundamental processes in marine science through the examination of the near shore, barrier island, coastal lagoon, and salt marsh environments along Virginia’s outer coast.  Through a series of field trips, lectures, laboratory exercises and independent projects, students will examine the fauna and flora of the region and learn how natural and anthropogenic factors shape these coastal ecosystems.  Housing is provided in dormitories at the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory.  Meals are included.  Lab fee required.  
      * Coastal Marine Habitats in North Wales (2 credits) MSCI 332 can be substituted for this course with permission of the Marine Science Minor Advisory Committee. 
  2. Marine Science Fundamentals courses (6 credits).  The upper-level requirements for the minor in Marine Science include two modules of MSCI401 lecture (2 credits each) + MSCI401R recitation (1 credit each) for a total of 6 credits. In order to maintain the interdisciplinary focus of the minor in Marine Science, students are required to take one MSCI 401 module (and corresponding recitation section) in the physical disciplines (MSCI 401 A, B, or C) and one in the biological disciplines (MSCI 401 D, E, or F). Students enrolled in MSCI 401A-E must be enrolled in the corresponding recitation section (MSCI401R) concurrently. 
    1. Fundamentals of Marine Science, Physical Oceanography - MSCI 401A
      Spring (2 credits) Gong
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 10
      Prerequisite(s): MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330, and MATH 111 or permission of instructor
      This course provides an introduction to the various types and scales of motion in the ocean, the global heat budget, major water masses, and processes controlling distributions of temperature and salinity.  Discussions on phenomena associated with water motion will include global circulation, wind-driven circulation in ocean basins, tides, coastal upwelling, storm surge, waves, turbulence, and circulation in estuaries.  Underlying dynamics governing water motion will be presented, elucidating the role of the rotation of the earth.  The El Nino/La Nina oscillation will be examined as a key example of large-scale ocean-atmosphere interactions.  MSCI 401A requires co-registration with the relevant MSCI 401R. 
    2. Fundamentals of Marine Science, Chemical Oceanography - MSCI 401B
      Fall (2 credits) Smith, J.
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 10
      Prerequisite(s):
      MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330, and CHEM 103 or permission of instructor
      This course presents an overview of the chemistry of estuaries and the ocean including chemical processes that occur in marine sediments and at the air/sea interface. Discussion topics will include the chemical properties of seawater, chemical equilibrium and kinetics, the seawater carbonate system and ocean acidification, the global and oceanic carbon and nitrogen cycles, ion speciation, trace metals, and nutrients, sediment diagenesis, and fundamentals of radioisotope and stable isotope biogeochemistry. Interdisciplinary applications are emphasized. MSCI 401B requires co-registration with the relevant MSCI 401R. 
    3. Fundamentals of Marine Geology - MSCI 401C or Marine Geology - MSCI 421
      Fall (2 or 3 credits) Hein
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 12
      Prerequisite(s): MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330 (for MSCI 401C) and GEOL 100 or GEOL 101 or GEOL 110 (for MSCI 421) or permission of instructor
      This course provides an introduction to the major topics of marine geology without expecting the student to have a background in geology.  The course addresses the age and internal structure of the earth, the processes of plate tectonics including the formation of oceanic crust, seamounts, hydrothermal vents, the characteristics and classification of sediments, and the distribution of sediments in the deep sea.  Also addressed is the interrelationships among and importance of paleoceanography, climate change, and sea-level change, and the processes and characteristics of various marine, estuarine, and coastal sedimentary environments.  The course includes discussion of various types of field equipment and logistics and of some economic and societal implications.  MSCI 401C requires co-registration with the relevant MSCI 401R. 
    4. Fundamentals of Marine Science, Biological Oceanography - MSCI 401D
      Fall (2 credits) Steinberg
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 15
      Prerequisite(s): MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330, and BIOL 204 or permission of instructor
      This course examines the biology and ecology of marine organisms and how they interact with their environment.  Topics include the organisms and their behavior, distribution, and underlying physiology; effects of biology on elemental and nutrient cycles and vice versa; and ecosystem structure and ecological interactions.  An interdisciplinary approach will be taken, as biology both depends on and influences ocean chemistry, physics, geology, and climate.  The course will emphasize open ocean, pelagic systems, but will include many examples from coastal and estuarine systems, as well as shallow and deep-sea benthic systems.  MSCI 401D requires co-registration with the relevant MSCI 401R. 
    5. Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry, Toxicology, and Pathobiology - MSCI 401E
      Fall (2 credits) Unger, Wargo
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 5
      Prerequisite(s): MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330, and BIOL 203 and BIOL 204, and CHEM 103 or permission of instructor
      This course emphasizes ongoing and emerging environmental concerns in the Chesapeake Bay and world ocean.  Lectures will address basic concepts and mechanism of contaminant chemistry and toxicology, infectious and noninfectious diseases in aquatic organisms.  Case histories will be used to illustrate sources, fate, and effects of anthropogenic chemical contaminants, and the important role of environmental change on disease in marine and estuarine ecosystems.  MSCI 401E requires co-registration with the relevant MSCI 401R. 
    6. Fundamentals of Marine Fisheries Science - MSCI 401F
      Spring (3 credits) Graves
      Cross-listed as BIOL 404
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 30
      Prerequisite(s): MSCI 330 or BIOL 330 or GEOL 330, and BIOL 204 or permission of instructor
      This lecture course will introduce the principles and techniques of fishery science.  Lecture topics will include the theory and impacts of fishing, description and status of international, North American and regional fisheries, fisheries oceanography, recruitment processes, single-species and ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management, and the goals and problems of sustaining an open-access common pool resource.  This course does not require co-registration with MSCI 401R and is offered in alternate Spring semesters.  
    7. Fundamentals of Marine Science Recitation - MSCI 401R
      Fall or Spring (1 credit) Staff
      Undergraduate Enrollment: 5-15
      Co-requisite(s): MSCI 401A or MSCI 401B or MSCI 401C or MSCI 401D or MSCI 401E
      MSCI 401R can be repeated once, and the title will change depending on whether the recitation section is biological or physical.  The Biological topic reinforces and augments lecture material presented in MSCI 401D and E through discussion, problem sets, and review in advance of tests and quizzes.  It is required for all students enrolled in MSCI 401 D or E. The Physical Science topic reinforces and augments lecture material presented in MSCI 401A, B, and C through discussion, problem sets, and review in advance of tests and quizzes.  It is required for all students enrolled in MSCI 401 A, B, or C. 
  3. Elective courses (6 credits)   Existing courses that can be used to meet this requirement are listed below. Additional courses may be added to the list with approval from the Marine Science Minor Advisory Committee.
    1. Coastal Marine Habitats in North Wales (2 credits) MSCI 332
    2. Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology (3 credits) BIOL 404
    3. Marine Invertebrate Biology (4 credits) BIOL 457
    4. Marine Ecology (3 credits) BIOL 460
    5. Marine Ecology and Conservation (3 credits) BIOL 461
    6. Marine Geology (3 credits) MSCI 421 (only one of Marine Geology or Fundamentals of Marine Geology can be used for the marine science minor; the one course selected can count towards the fundamentals of marine science or the elective requirement, but not both)
    7. Marine Science Mash Up (1 credit) MSCI 391
    8. Marine Science Seminars (1 credit each, crosslisted as MSCI 398/ENSP 249) – Topics vary from year to year. Seminars can be repeated for credit if the topic is different.
    9. Paleoclimatology (4 credits) GEOL 324
    10. Paleontology (3 credits, crosslisted as GEOL 423/BIOL 317)
    11. Parasitology (3 credits) BIOL 404
    12. Research in Marine Science (1 to 3 credits) MSCI 490
    13. Sustainability and Chesapeake Bay (3 credits, crosslisted as BUAD 492/ENSP 440/MSCI 398)
    14. Wetland Ecosystems (4 credits) BIOL 427