Marine Science

What IS the CCS Marine Science Program?

The CCS Marine Science Major is a new program designed to offer students the ability to pursue an education that spans multiple disciplines in marine science while simultaneously building the skills and confidence to conduct marine research. Students will build foundations in chemistry, biology, earth science, engineering, physics, probability and statistics, math, and writing. In addition, students will learn what it means to do research and pursue opportunities to work alongside experts in this field to design and carry out research projects. This program is ideal for self-motivated students who are fascinated by the ocean and want to become the next generation of ocean-knowledge creators.

Why study Marine Science at CCS?

CCS supports students through a network of mentors including upper-class peer mentors, research mentors, as well as CCS staff and faculty mentors who will guide students in curriculum development and navigating University life. As part of this program, students will take courses in CCS and across campus; building their course schedule to align with their disciplinary interests. The flexibility in course development afforded by CCS enables students to build foundations in marine science disciplines while simultaneously constructing the skills and confidence to pursue marine research. This program leverages marine science expertise at UCSB to provide opportunities for students to engage in research as early as their first year.

What makes this program different?

UCSB hosts a few programs in ocean sciences including the Aquatic Biology degree  (which includes an emphasis in Marine Biology!) through Letters and Science, the Ocean Science emphasis through Geography, and the Climate and Environment Emphasis in Earth Science. Many things set these fantastic programs apart and we encourage students to spend time digging into each of these to figure out which program best aligns with their goals.

What are some of the things that make CCS unique?

  • CCS supports and guides students in their pursuit of a degree in Marine Science through a network of mentors including faculty, staff, and peer mentors in CCS, as well as research mentors from the broader campus community.
  • In contrast to more defined course schedules for other programs, in CCS, students work with their faculty advisor to develop a specialized and rigorous course schedule that aligns with their disciplinary interests. This results in students taking courses in CCS as well as across campus, enabling students to build a highly interdisciplinary education in marine science. Check out ‘Curriculum’ below to learn more about the curriculum for this program.
  • In addition to providing specialized and flexible curriculum planning, course schedules are designed to enable students to concurrently pursue marine research as early as their first year. CCS students are supported by faculty and peer mentors, who help them navigate the often challenging task of identifying research opportunities on campus.

There are many more aspects that set these programs apart so spend time digging through online resources and possibly reaching out to program coordinators to learn more! We’re happy to answer any questions that arise during your research.

What does a degree in Marine Science prepare you for?

Students in this program gain a rigorous and specialized understanding of marine science through individualized curricula, a specialized skill set through extensive research experience, and opportunity from a flexible curriculum that allows for study at the interface of science and society. Students who embody these qualities will be sought-after employees throughout their careers and well situated to seek employment after graduation.

Government organizations like NOAA, NASA, BOEM, BSEE, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the DOD readily hire at the bachelor’s level, for those with ocean science degrees. Other positions include education specialist, aquaculture technician, marine science educator, laboratory technician, aquarist, science writer, and non-profit manager are appropriate possibilities at a variety of entities across the globe. The marine technology sector is also an option, for specialties like petroleum, civil engineering, data analysis, monitoring, alternative energy and modeling. For students that pursue higher degrees, other career paths may include energy companies, leadership positions at government agencies, professorships at research universities, or teaching.

Want to search specific job listings, requirements, and salary ranges? Spend some time on job advertisement websites such as Handshake, Indeed, and LinkedIn to see what a Bachelor’s in marine science will prepare you for. Want to see what previous UCSB Aquatic Biology graduates went on to do with their degrees? Follow these instructions from UCSB’s Career Services to explore what UCSB alumni have gone on to pursue after graduation. Note: these students weren’t part of the brand-new CCS Marine Science program.


Students in the Marine Science major work with their CCS faculty mentor to develop an individualized curriculum consisting of classes from various disciplines and departments that align with each student’s area of interest.

Examples of specializations students may wish to pursue include (but are not limited to):

  • Paleoceanography
  • Oceanic climate modeling
  • Marine acoustics
  • Ocean-atmosphere interactions
  • Coral reef dynamics
  • Deep sea exploration
  • Oceanographic sensor development
  • Marine virology
  • Marine materials
  • Ocean economics
  • Fisheries
  • Marine protected areas
  • Marine resource policy
  • Oceanic pollution
  • Ocean biogeochemistry
  • Marine geochemistry
  • Ocean acidification
  • Oceans in human history
  • Marine politics

To check out a full list of requirements, including information for Transfer students from on and off campus, please download the major sheet (coming soon) linked under Resources on the right side of the page.