Undergraduate Programs

Scripps Undergraduate Students

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Department offers more than 45 undergraduate courses covering a wide breadth of earth and marine sciences on several different levels.

There are several introductory classes for non-majors, and upper-division courses intended for a wide range of students in natural science majors.

In addition to formal coursework, dozens of UC San Diego undergraduates from a wide variety of majors benefit each year from individual and group research projects with Scripps faculty and researchers.

Please note that all academic advising questions (for current students) are now handled via the Virtual Advisor.

Program Details

Earth Sciences (BS)

Degree Requirements

Degree Checklist (click to download)

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers a rigorous and interdisciplinary curricula in the Earth Sciences. Students can do a major in Earth Sciences or specialize in Earth Sciences within another major (i.e. Physics, Environmental Systems).

Earth sciences encompass broad scientific study of the origin and evolution of the earth system and its life forms. The Earth Sciences major embraces a wide range of topics, including the physical and chemical evolution of the planet, the evolution of life, the causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, earth-surface processes, the origin and behavior of oceans and atmosphere, and the impact of humans on the environment.

Earth science investigations are increasingly quantitative and experimental, and thus most upper-division courses require a strong foundation in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

The Earth Sciences curriculum takes advantage of the unique opportunities offered by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Classes beyond introductory level are usually small, permitting personalized instruction. Field trips are an important part of the instructional program.

Earth sciences students are encouraged to consult with their instructors about incorporating appropriate courses and research opportunities at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography into their undergraduate curriculum.

A degree in earth sciences is an appropriate start for a broad range of career and graduate school opportunities in various areas, including research, government, state and federal survey jobs, environmental management, the petroleum and mining industries, consulting, ocean sciences, industrial institutions, elementary or secondary education, environmental policy, or environmental law.

Program advisors and faculty can provide additional information on career and graduate school opportunities.

Marine Biology (BS)    

Degree Requirements

Degree Checklist (click to download)

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers an undergraduate major program in Marine Biology, resulting in a BS degree.

Undergraduates in this major will develop an understanding of the biology of marine organisms and the biological and physical processes that affect these organisms, their populations, and their coastal and oceanic ecosystems. The major requires a foundation in the natural sciences, a rigorous core of marine biology courses and a unifying laboratory/field course that engages students more directly in the discovery process and in analyzing and interpreting data.

Majors select electives from a growing set of upper division Scripps Institution of Oceanography courses in marine biology and related disciplines. The marine biology curriculum takes advantage of the UC San Diego's unique physical location along the Pacific Ocean. Laboratory work and field trips to intertidal zones, salt marshes, and other marine ecosystems are important components of the instructional program.

Ocean sciences are relevant to many contemporary environmental issues and problems and central to understanding earth-system evolution, dynamics, climate and sustainability. A major in marine biology is an appropriate start for students who are seeking a career or graduate studies in marine biology and related biological disciplines, a career in fields such as marine conservation, or simply interested in the major to broaden their base of knowledge and experience in the biological sciences.

Program advisors and faculty can provide additional information on career and graduate school opportunities. It is strongly recommended that all Marine Biology majors meet regularly with academic advising staff in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Undergraduate Education Office in Galbraith Hall and with the marine biology faculty advisor to discuss and update curriculum choices.

Marine Sciences (Minor)

Minor Requirements

Scripps offers an undergraduate minor program in Marine Science. The minor curriculum is designed to complement the strong disciplinary training of UCSD basic science majors by providing a broad interdisciplinary perspective with an environmental focus.

Ocean-related science is relevant to many contemporary environmental issues and problems and central to understanding earth-system evolution, dynamics, climate and sustainability. The minor consists of courses and research opportunities offered primarily by faculty and researchers at Scripps. The mix of these components can be tailored to reflect students career interests through an all-courses track or a research track.

The all-courses track offers a very flexible curriculum that serves students with a broad range of educational and career interests including environmental management and regulation, teaching, environmental law, economics and policy and a wide variety of graduate programs. The research track is designed for students interested in an undergraduate research experience at Scripps and serves as excellent preparation for graduate research studies.

The Minor consists of twenty-eight units of course work, at least twenty of which must be upper-division. Courses required by a student s major may not be applied toward the minor. Up to 2 courses for the minor may be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis (upper or lower division). Students must earn at least a letter grade of C- in the remaining 5 or more courses used for the minor.

The Marine Science minor places a strong emphasis on a rigorous natural science foundation; thus, several of the upper division courses related to the minor have significant prerequisites. Students planning the minor should check catalog course descriptions carefully and should meet with advising staff in the Marine Science Program office.

Earth Sciences (Minor)

A minor in earth sciences consists of twenty-eight units of earth sciences courses, at least twenty of which must be upper-division, focused on geology, geochemistry, or geophysics.  Courses required by a student's major may not be applied toward a minor and neither can SIO 198 nor SIO 199.  Courses for the minor may be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis if the student's college permits.  Students interested in the earth sciences minor should meet with the earth sciences academic advising staff to discuss their curriculum choices.