Brown coral

MCSci Major Student Learning Objectives

Marine and Coastal Science Student Learning Objectives

Graduates of the Marine and Coastal Science Program should be able to:

  • Understand and integrate fundamental principles, including:
    • development and evolution of modern ocean/earth system
    • distribution, diversity and abundance of marine life, and special adaptations to ocean environment
    • impact of ocean circulation on climate, atmosphere, biosphere
    • biogeochemical cycles, ocean productivity
    • processes at terrestrial-marine interface and in the coastal zone
    • anthropogenic impacts and management of ocean resources
  • Utilize the scientific method to answer questions and investigate the natural world
  • Successfully communicate scientific information through presentations and writing
  • Interpret and discuss scientific data, critically evaluate published scientific literature
  • Experience the marine environment in field, research or internship opportunities
  • Explain and evaluate major issues that are facing the modern marine environment

MCSci Bachelor of Science

The requirements posted here are provided for your convenience; classes are subject to change.

The official Marine and Coastal Science Bachelor of Science Requirements are available in the online UC Davis General Catalog prepared by the Office of the University Registrar. Disclaimer Notice.


ᴮ denotes courses only offered at Bodega Marine Laboratory

Courses cannot be utilized to fulfill multiple requirements, with the exception that any Bodega Marine Laboratory course simultaneously fulfills the field requirement below.

Preparatory Subject Matter: 51-63 units
  • Biological Sciences 2A,B,C (15)
  • Chemistry 2A,B,C (15)
  • Mathematics 16A,B,C, 17A,B,C or 21A,B,C (9-12)
    Note: Students in Marine & Ecology & Organismal Biology Focus Area must take MAT17A,B,C or 21A,B. 
  • Physics 7A,B,C or 9A,B,C (12-15)
  • Chemistry 8A,B only required for students in Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology Focus Area (6)
  • EVE 12 and GEL 16 are strongly recommended.
Depth Subject Matter: 46-97 units
  • Geology 116N (Environmental Science & Policy 116N) (3)
  • Statistics 100 (4)
  • Two courses from list: 7-8 units
    • Geology/Environmental Science & Policy 150A,
    • Geology/Environmental Science & Policy 150B,
    • ᴮGeology/Environmental Science & Policy 150C
  • Two courses from list: 8-9 units
    • Atmospheric Sciences 120,Environmental Science and Policy 100, 110,
    • Environmental Toxicology 101,
    • Evolution and Ecology 100, 101, 112+112L,
    • Hydrology 103N
  • Evolution & Ecology/Environmental Science and Policy 111 (1)
  • For Marine Ecology & Organismal Biology Focus Area only:
    Biological Sciences 101, 102+103 or 105, and 104 (10-13)
Focus Area Requirement: 12 units

Complete at least four courses from one category below, totaling at least 12 units. 

  • Coastal Environmental Processes
    • Emphasis on processes and environments of the coastal zone, and the strong physical-biological connection that exists here. Courses highlight the critical terrestrial-marine interface and fundamental physical processes in the coastal zone.
    • This focus area requirement can be fulfilled using: Atmospheric Sciences *121A, *121B, 158, Environmental Toxicology *102A, Environmental Science & Policy ᴮ152, 155, 155L, 166, Geology *156, 182, Hydrology 103N, 134, *143, *144, Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology *157.
      *Some of these courses may require additional prerequisites, such as: Atmospheric Sciences 120, Math 21D, Chemistry 8B, Environmental Science and Policy 100, Hydrology 103N, Hydrology 141, Hydrology 145, Engineering: Civil and Environmental 144.
  • Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology.
    • Focus on physiological adaptations to the marine environment, and the biology of marine species from the molecular to population levels. Courses include emphasis on the ecological processes that determine the distribution and abundance of marine organisms, and the patterns and mechanisms of evolution in the ocean.
    • This focus area requirement can be fulfilled using: Animal Science *131, Biological Sciences ᴮ122, ᴮ122P, Environmental Science & Policy 100, 121, ᴮ124, *155, 155L, Evolution & Ecology 100, 101, * ᴮ106, 112, 112L, *ᴮ114, 115, 120, Environmental Toxicology *ᴮ127, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior ᴮ141 and ᴮ141P, Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology 120, 120L, 121, 122, 130
      *Some of these courses may require additional prerequisites, such as: Environmental Science and Policy 100, Evolution and Ecology 112, Wildlife Fish Conservation 120, Environmental Toxicology 101.
  • Marine Environmental Chemistry.
    • Emphasis on major themes in marine chemistry, geochemistry, the carbon cycle, and contaminant fate and transport.
    • This focus area requirement can be fulfilled using: Chemistry 100, Environmental Toxicology *101, *102A, *120, *ᴮ127, Civil & Environmental Engineering 140A, Geology *148, 182, Hydrology 134, 141, Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology 153
      *Some of these courses may require additional prerequisites, such as: Chemistry 8B, Geology 50, 60, Hydrology 145, Engineering: Civil and Environmental 144.
  • Oceans and the Earth System.
    • A study of our changing oceans in the context of earth system history, including climate change, paleoceanography, ecological shifts, conservation, and marine policy.
    • This focus area requirement can be fulfilled using: Atmospheric Sciences 116, Environmental Science and Management 120, 121, Environmental Science & Policy *110, 161, 162, 166, *169, 198, Evolution & Ecology *120, Geology 107, 107L, 108, 109, 109L, 144, Science & Society 120, Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology 144, 154
      *Some of these courses may require additional prerequisites, such as: Atmospheric Sciences 60, Chemistry 8A,B, Geology 1, Economics 1A, Hydrology 145, Environmental Science & Management 100, International Relations 1
Breadth Requirement: 8 units

Complete one course from each category below that is not the student's chosen Focus Area, totaling at least 8 units.
*Some course may require additional prerequisites (see above).

  • Coastal Environmental Processes.
    The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses: Atmospheric Sciences 158, Environmental Science & Policy ᴮ152, *155, Geology 182, Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology *157
  • Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology.
    The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses: Environmental Science & Policy 124, *155, Evolution & Ecology *ᴮ106, *ᴮ114, 115, 120, Environmental Toxicology *ᴮ127, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior ᴮ141+ᴮ141P
  • Marine Environmental Chemistry.
    The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses: Environmental Toxicology *120, 127, Chemistry 100, Geology 182, Hydrology 134, 141
  • Oceans and the Earth System.
    The breadth requirement can be fulfilled using the following courses: Atmospheric Sciences *116, Environmental Science & Policy 166, Evolution & Ecology *120, Geology 107, 108, Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology 144, 154
Field Requirement: 0-14 units

The Field Requirement provides exposure to field techniques, experimental design, and the marine environment itself. It is highly recommended that students fulfill this requirement by residence at Bodega Marine Laboratory for one or more courses (see courses denoted with a ᴮ). Bodega Marine Laboratory courses may simultaneously fulfill an additional requirement in categories above.

Alternatively, students may fulfill the Field Requirement by taking two of the following courses (these courses cannot fulfill multiple requirements): Geology 109L, Evolution and Ecology 112L, 115, Environmental Science & Policy 123, 151L, Geology 182, Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology 100, 102L, 157.

Internship/Research: 3 units

The requirement can be fulfilled by enrollment in: Biological Sciences ᴮ124, Geology 192, Environmental Science & Policy 192, Evolution and Ecology 192, 199 or equivalent. This requirement can be fulfilled at any time prior to graduation but is recommended for Junior or Senior years.

Marine and Coastal Science Major

The major in Marine and Coastal Science focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of marine sciences by exposing students to core, breadth, and focus area courses in the discipline, in addition to a strong foundation of science preparatory material. The major builds upon strengths at UC Davis in marine and coastal sciences as well as field-based courses offered at Bodega Marine Laboratory to provide students a unique, interdisciplinary, “hands on” education.

The major begins with introductory courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences.  These are followed by core courses in Marine Science. The major requirements provide focus and breadth, so that each student gains mastery in one area and broad exposure to many facets of Marine and Coastal Science.  Focus and Breadth areas include: Coastal Environmental Processes, Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology, Marine Environmental Chemistry, or Oceans and the Earth System.

The student’s chosen Focus Area will determine the college into which the student is admitted, the college where the degree is awarded, and the associated department (in parentheses), as listed below: