Degrees & Certificates

Marine science student getting ready to release our aquacultured white sea bassThe Marine Science Department offers an Associate of Science degree in Marine Science. Marine Science is an interdisciplinary field that requires a background in a number of different natural and social sciences, although students generally specialize in one particular aspect of marine science. This degree is meant to provide students a survey of the many diverse disciplines of marine science, give them hands-on experience working with living organisms and water chemistry, and illustrate the many ways the ocean influences life. Links to external sites that describe the diverse career opportunities available to marine science majors can be found on our Contacts & Additional Information page. 

This degree is meant as an initial step for students looking to pursue a higher degree in marine science at a four-year institution, or as an emphasis in marine science for students that plan to get a Bachelor’s degree in a variety of other fields that can benefit from a solid understanding of marine processes and communities.

Marine science students working the touch tank at a local education eventStudents also have the ability to earn a Certificate of Achievement in Aquarium Sciences through applied coursework and helping to manage the "Student-run" Orange Coast College (OCC) Aquarium. Aquarium Science is an applied, interdisciplinary science that combines aspects of animal husbandry, community ecology, water chemistry, system design and construction, critical thinking, problem-solving, and group management. This certificate is designed to prepare students interested in gaining experience with aquarium systems and caring for living organism in preparation for a variety of potential future goals. These goals may include working for zoo and aquarium facilities, local aquarium retailers, wholesale supply companies, private maintenance companies, as part of a hands-on experience for an advanced degree in Marine Science, organizations/agencies working on water filtration and water quality, stock restoration and conservation projects, research involving keeping aquatic living organisms, and/or the recreational hobby of aquarium-keeping. Students will gain a wide variety of hands-on experience in a number of different skills working in one of the largest and most diverse student-run aquariums in the region.

Students interested in pursuing either of these opportunities should consult a counselor and schedule a meeting with Marine Science faculty to discuss requirements and semester course offerings.


Contact Marine Science Faculty  Consult an OCC Counselor  Schedule a Meeting with Marine Science Faculty

Marine Science Students are encouraged to take courses at the OCC School of Sailing & Seamanship in Newport Harbor as elective courses within the Marine Science AS degree, or they can prepare for a career in the maritime industry through the affiliated OCC Professional Mariner Program.


Students feeding aquarium organisms Class releasing student grown white sea bass Students fragging corals Public education events