For the first time in 17 years, Cal Maritime is adding a new major. The Bachelor of Science in Oceanography, which comes online in the fall of 2020, will hit the ground running with a strong, existing Oceanography faculty, an ideal campus location and resources, and a hands-on approach that is the signature of Cal Maritime's offerings. The Academy has offered a marine science minor for more than 40 years.
The Cal Maritime campus sits on the shores of the San Francisco Estuary, the largest estuary on the West Coast, and offers exceptional access to conduct oceanographic studies in estuarine, coastal and open ocean environments. The campus facilities include a protected harbor with deep water dock and a fleet of training vessels that include the 500' Training Ship Golden Bear. The Golden Bear has a global reach, with student training cruises to both the Atlantic and Pacific, and serves as an ocean-going research facility for the management of marine invasive species through ballast water treatment.
Cal Maritime is a member of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and hosts a CeNCOOS ocean observing shore station at the pier. A new, dedicated oceanography research lab opened in Spring 2019.
"The Oceanography major will draw from the long maritime tradition of the Academy," said Cal Maritime President Tom Cropper. "Like all our degree programs, this one emphasizes hands-on experience and workforce-ready skills."
This Bachelor of Science degree will contain 120 semester units in campus-based coursework in oceanographic and related sciences preparing graduates for careers or graduate school in oceanography, environmental science and policy, climatology, and hydrology.
"Students in this program will benefit from Cal Maritime's location in the San Francisco Bay Area for vessel-based measurements and research for positions at sea or on shore," said Provost Susan Opp.
"Students in the oceanography degree program will gain a theoretical background and practical skills in biological, geological, chemical, and physical oceanography and will be challenged to apply their foundational knowledge through hands-on directed research experiences, culminating in a piece of original scholarship," said Dr. Alex Parker, associate professor of Oceanography. "They will also benefit from the development of professional networks that are crucial for successful placement after graduation."
"Work has already begun to form partnerships that will provide Oceanography students with valuable research and internship experiences," said Kevin Mandernack, dean of the School of Letters and Sciences. "This degree program will emphasize the value of natural resources, ocean stewardship and sustainability, and produce graduates that receive the proper training to ensure that our oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes are preserved for future generations."
The global nature of the maritime sector is central to Cal Maritime's identity. Oceanography students will gain an appreciation of global perspectives of ocean literacy and stewardship.
"Our graduates will be prepared to serve as leaders in the development of new ocean science knowledge and the ability to make responsible, evidence-based decisions for managing ocean resources," said Parker.
"The addition of an Oceanography major at Cal Maritime makes a lot of sense, not just because of the Academy's maritime nature but also because of its location on the San Francisco Bay and in one of the most scientifically and ecologically-significant estuaries," said Shaun Teter, a 2019 Marine Transportation graduate who minored in Marine Science. "There are opportunities for a student of science or anyone who is curious to get out there and learn more about the estuary and marine science. This school has great faculty and a lot of experience conducting research."