Oceanography Degree Program

Associate Degree Program

The curriculum in the Oceanography Associate Degree program is designed to provide the transfer student the opportunity to achieve an associate degree. While a baccalaureate or higher degree is recommended for those considering majors such as marine biology, environmental science or geological sciences, the Associate degree may support attempts to gain entry-level employment or promotion.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this program will be able to:

  • Explain the origins and history of oceanography and current developments and trends in the discipline
  • Discuss how plate tectonics shapes the continental margin, the oceanic basin and its sediments; explain the distribution of pelagic and benthic communities in the oceanic environment
  • Explain the directions and causes of atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns and assess their impact on marine life and productivity; relate these to waves, tides and coastal characteristics
  • Discuss various types of marine resources and assess the various environmental concerns related to the use and abuse of marine resources


Curriculum changes as industry standards transform. Please refer to the Saddleback College Catalog website as the following requirements may have changed since this webpage was published.

Course ID Title Units
First Year
CHEM 1A* General Chemistry 5
CHEM 1B* General Chemistry 5
GEOL 1 Introduction to Physical Geology 4
MATH 3A* Analytic Geometry and Calculus 5
MS 20 Introduction to Oceanography 4
Second Year
MATH 3B* Analytic Geometry and Calculus 5
MATH 3C* Analytic Geometry and Calculus 5
MATH 10* Introduction to Statistics 3
PHYS 4A* General Physics 5
PHYS 4B* General Physics 5
Total Units for the Major 46

*Course has a prerequisite, corequisite, limitation, or recommended preparation; see course description in the college catalog.

Associate in Science Degree

Completion of all courses listed above and a minimum of 60 units including the general education requirements with an overall GPA of 2.0 qualifies the student for the Associate in Science degree. A minimum of 12 units must be completed at Saddleback College.

General Education Requirements for Associate Degrees

Refer to the Graduation Requirements or to the CSU-GE and IGETC patterns in this catalog for specific courses which meet general education requirements. Refer to ASSIST.org and to the transfer institution's catalog for transfer requirements.

Suggested coursework not required for the major: BIO 3A or 20, 19; GEOL 2, 7, 20; PHYS 4C.