BA in Marine Science
As part of the Boston University Marine Program (BUMP), the marine science major includes interdisciplinary coursework in four areas of marine science—marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and physical oceanography—to give students a wide understanding of all marine-related science. Courses are completed in the Departments of Biology and Earth & Environment, with required related coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, and statistics.
Resources of the major extend to BUMP’s academic partners: the New England Aquarium, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the Sea Education Association (SEA) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Students have the opportunity to take marine courses beginning the first semester of freshman year and to participate in at least one Marine Semester, a hands-on, field-oriented block of marine courses. The development of research skills and projects is strongly encouraged. The BA in Marine Science prepares students for employment in the marine professions or continued training in research, education, government, or industry.
Each marine science major will be assigned a permanent advisor through the program manager of BUMP. This advisor will meet with the student at least once a semester to help set up and implement a program of study.
The requirements for the marine science major include eight courses distributed between the Departments of Biology and Earth & Environment, as well as eight other science courses that provide appropriate background for the marine sciences. A grade not lower than C is required in all required related, core introductory, marine breadth, and Marine Semester courses to receive major credit.
Required Related Courses (8)
- CAS BI 107 and BI 108
- CAS CH 101 and CH 102, or
- CAS CH 109 and CH 110, or
- CAS CH 111 and CH 112, or
- CAS CH 171 and CH 172 or CH 174
Calculus (one year)
- CAS MA 123 and MA 124, or
- CAS MA 127, or
- CAS MA 129
- CAS PY 211
- CAS MA 213
Core Introductory Course (1)
CAS ES 144 (MP or MR section with discussion)
Marine Breadth Requirement Courses (3)
Students must complete one course from three of the four marine science areas.
- CAS BI 260
- CAS ES/BI 423
- CAS ES 331, or
- CAS ES 440
- CAS GE/ES 507
Marine Semester Courses (4)
Participation in at least one four-course Marine Semester is required. If a student’s schedule permits, participation in additional Marine Semesters is encouraged. Students seeking admission to a Marine Semester must have completed at least one of the four “marine breadth requirement” courses. Preference for admission into the Marine Semester will be given to marine science majors. Unlike the typical college semester, students enroll in only one course per month (selected from among 2–3 different offerings). Each block is typically 18–20 academic days and allows students the time for hands-on experiments and fieldwork outside the classroom. Marine Semester courses currently include:
- CAS BI/GE 523 (Marine Urban Ecology)
- CAS BI 531 (Ichthyology: Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of Fish)
- CAS BI 539 (Coral Reef Dynamics; taught in Boston and Belize)
- CAS BI 546 (Marine Megafaunal Ecology)
- CAS BI 550 (Marine Genomics)
- CAS BI 563 (Sensory Biology)
- CAS BI 569 (Tropical Marine Invertebrates; taught in Boston and Belize)
- CAS BI/GE 578 (Marine Geographic Information Science)
- CAS ES 543 (Estuaries and Nearshore Systems)
- CAS ES 557 (Oceanography of Stellwagen Bank)
- CAS MR 510 (Marine Science Policy, Resource Management, and Public Debate)
This suite of courses may be modified annually and students are encouraged to contact the BUMP office for the latest offerings. Students may also enroll in undergraduate research in marine science (CAS MR 491), biology, or earth & environment for one block course per Marine Semester, with written permission from the director of BUMP.
Undergraduate Research Options
BUMP strongly encourages hands-on research at the undergraduate level and offers each student the opportunity to spend time in a marine field environment. Juniors and seniors may receive credit for their research. A maximum of 12 credits may be counted as elective courses.
- CAS MR 391, 392 or
- CAS MR 491, 492
Honors in the Major
Advanced seniors can also participate in “Honors in the Major,” which is an opportunity to develop a special competence in research with a two-semester, two-course (CAS MR 401 and MR 402) independent program of study culminating in a thesis and an oral examination in front of a faculty committee. Successful completion of a departmental honors program signifies outstanding achievement in undergraduate scholarship.
Marine Science Association (MSA)
Marine Science concentrators and other students interested in the field are welcome to participate in this group, which sponsors marine science-related activities, including lectures, field trips, and social events. For further information, email MSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.