MS in Environmental and Ocean Sciences Program Overview

About Master of Science in Environmental and Ocean Sciences

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2017-2018, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on August 10, 2017. Access the catalog of record at

The Environmental and Ocean Sciences MS Program includes two tracks, Environmental Science and Marine Science.  The selection of a track should be based on the nature of a student's thesis research.

Requirements for the Degree

EOSC 500Core Seminar I2
EOSC 501Core Seminar II2
EOSC 511Statistics3
Graduate Science Courses (2), with lab 18
Graduate Elective or Science Course, with lab4
Graduate Science Courses (E = Environmental, M = Marine)
EOSC 520Introduction to Remote Sensing (E)4
EOSC 531Human Impacts on the Coastal Environment (E,M)4
EOSC 532Marine Community Ecology (M)4
EOSC 533Plankton Ecology (M)4
EOSC 550Geological Oceanography (E,M)4
EOSC 551Biological Oceanography4
EOSC 552Marine Geochemistry (E,M)4
EOSC 574 & EOSC 574  574LHistory of the Earth and Climate
and History of the Earth and Climate Laboratory (E,M)
EOSC 585Environmental Geology (E)4
EOSC 587Surface Water Hydrology (E)4
Graduate Electives 2
EOSC 514Introduction to Maps and Spatial Data Analysis4
EOSC 515Geographic Information Systems4
EOSC 561Invertebrate Zoology4
EOSC 562Biology of Fishes4
EOSC 565Marine Mammals3
EOSC 594Special Topics in Environmental and Ocean Sciences2-4
POLS 529Law of the Sea3
Research/Thesis (minimum 11 units)
EOSC 596Research 30.5-7
Graduate Elective or Science course may replace up to 4 units of EOSC 596.
EOSC 597Thesis 31
A minimum of 1 unit of EOSC 597 must be applied toward the degree requirements.

Students in the Marine Science track must take two graduate science courses with an M designation. Students in the Environmental Science track must take two graduate science courses with an E designation.


A maximum of six undergraduate units taken at the university may be applied to the graduate program. Examples include BIOL 364, BIOL 416, BIOL 477, BIOL 478, POLS 349. This list is not exhaustive; consult the graduate program director. See the current Undergraduate Course Catalog for course descriptions. No course taken to fulfill an undergraduate deficiency may count toward the required units in the graduate program.


Students may take these courses for 0.5 unit only after they have completed all of the program requirements except EOSC 597. Students who are enrolled for 0.5 unit of EOSC 596 or EOSC 597 are considered half-time.

Thesis Committee

A thesis committee of at least three members will be established during the second semester of enrollment. It will consist of at least one full-time USD graduate faculty member and may include members from approved outside institutions. The entire thesis committee will meet with the student semi-annually to assess progress and give advice. Following approval of the thesis proposal by both the thesis chair and the graduate program director and satisfaction of any deficiencies noted at the time of admission to the program, the student will be recommended for candidacy by the thesis committee. Adequate progress will need to be made to maintain candidacy (see candidacy policy, available in the graduate handbook). Additional courses related to the student’s area may be required by the committee chair. All students must be enrolled for at least 1 unit to remain active in the program. Students who have completed all program requirements except EOSC 597, including all required courses, may enroll in 0.5 units to remain active in the program.

Recommended Program of Study

First Year
Semester IHours
EOSC 500Core Seminar I2
Graduate Science Course4
Graduate Science Course or Elective3-4
Semester II
EOSC 501Core Seminar II2
Graduate Science Course or Elective3-4
EOSC 511Statistics3
Second Year
Semester I
EOSC 596Research6-7
EOSC 596 or Graduate Elective3-4
Semester II
EOSC 597Thesis1

 Note: Students who will not finish by the end of their second summer should take 9 units in semester I of the second year and 1 unit of EOSC 596 in semester II of the second year. These students should take 0.5-1 unit of EOSC 597 each semester until they finish.