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College of Sciences

Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Ocean and Earth Science Minor

Juniors and seniors with declared majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, engineering, mathematics or physics are eligible to enter the Ocean and Earth Science Minor Program at Old Dominion University. Students with majors in other disciplines should consult the Ocean and Earth Science Minor Advisor before applying to the program. While the program can prepare students for graduate studies in oceanography, the Ocean and Earth Science Minor enhances a student's undergraduate education regardless of his or her long-term educational goals.

Field trips, oceanographic research cruises, seminars and interaction with graduate students and faculty researchers are all available to the student in the Ocean and Earth Science Minor Program. Students may choose, above and beyond program requirements, the depth of oceanographic activity in which to become involved. An exciting and increasingly important field of study, oceanography is limitless in its exploratory activity and scientific applications. Career opportunities are numerous, and meaningful national/international associations are forged through the study of the oceans.


Twelve hours of oceanography courses at the junior/senior level are required to complete the minor. There are no required classes. All Ocean and Earth Science Minor students must have already declared their major and have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Approval by the student's major advisor and oceanography minor advisor is needed prior to starting the minor program.

The following are some courses available for the minor program (additional courses can be found in the University Catalog). Prerequisites are enforced for all OEAS classes

  • 306 Oceanography
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of the instructor. General survey of physical, geological, chemical and biological oceanography. The application of skills from mathematics, geology, physics, biology and chemistry for the solution of oceanographic problems.
  • 403 Aquatic Pollution
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: At least two semesters of one of the following: BIO 115N-116N,CHEM 115N-116N, GEO 111N-112N or PHYS 111N-112N. This course will present basic ecological principles relevant to water pollution and to toxicology. Topics will cover runoff, eutrophication, sewage treatment, industrial waste, oil pollution, pesticides, metals and plastics in the sea. Case studies provide focal points for consideration of issues in making decisions and setting policy.
  • 404 Environmental Physiology of Marine Animals
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: junior standing; upper level biology courses. Functional morphology and physiological aspects of growth and ecological energetics of marine animals. Basic concepts and habitat comparisons.
  • 405 Physical Oceanography
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: 1 semester of calculus and 2 of either physics or hydraulics. Physics of the ocean: properties of seawater and their distribution; water mass formation; mass and energy flows; waves; tides; models; estuarine and coastal processes. An elective for science and engineering majors.
  • 415 Waves and Tides
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: MATH 208 and PHYS 111N-112N or 231N-232N or permission of the instructor. Causes, nature, measurement and analysis of water, waves and tides. Computer application to wave and tide problems. Field trip.
  • 419 Spatial Analysis of Coastal Environments
    Lecture 1.5 hours; laboratory 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisite: OEAS 414. The course integrates remotely sensed and field techniques for scientific investigation and practical management of coastal environmental systems. Spatial modeling of coastal processes and management tools using Geographic Information System (GIS).
  • 310 Global Earth Systems
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: BIOL 115N, CHEM 121N-122N, MATH 211, and OEAS 111N. Core course for ocean and earth sciences majors that examines the processes linking the Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere into an interactive system.
  • 313 Minerology
    Lecture 2 hours; laboratory 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM 121N-122N. Corequisite: PHYS 111N or 231N. The concepts of mineralogy are developed on the basics of geometrical, crystallographic, chemical bonding, crystal structures, and physical and optical properties. Mineral associations and genesis will be emphasized. Laboratory exercises include mineral identification by physical and optical properties, X-ray diffraction, and crystal form.
  • 320 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
    Lecture 3 hours; laboratory 3 hours; 4 credits. Prerequisite: OEAS 110N or 111N. The origin, transport, and deposition of sediments with emphasis on interpretation of sediment sequences, principles and methods of correlation. Laboratory OCEAN, EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES COURSES 267 exercises involve field sampling, textural analyses, and sedimentary structures. Field trip required.
  • 440 Biological Oceanography
    Lecture 3 hours; laboratory 2 hours; 4 credits. Prerequisites: OEAS 106N-107N, 126N-127N or 306 and STAT 310 or 330. Marine organisms and their relationship to physical and chemical processes in the ocean. Laboratory study of local marine organisms, marine ecosystem and sampling techniques. Includes identification, data analysis and field trips.
  • 451 Data Collection and Analysis
    Lecture 3 hours; 3 credits. Prerequisites: OEAS 306, 310 and MATH 211-212. This course introduces the student to the basic physical oceanographic tools used to obtain and analyze information. The student will use various oceanographic instruments to obtain data at different locations of the Chesapeake Bay. Data obtained with these instruments will be processed and analyzed using the data analysis techniques discussed in class. The data will then be used to answer a particular question related to the temporal and spatial variability in a natural system.