Master of Science in Marine Science & Oceanography 

Curriculum and Core Subject Areas

The MS MSO allows students the opportunity to focus within one or several broad Core Subject Areas dependent upon their interests. The Core Subject Areas and the current list of courses are listed below.

All students enrolled in the MS MSO take the following required courses:

Physical & Geological Oceanography OCE 6097 3
Biological and Chemical Oceanography OCE 6057 3
MSO Colloquium Series GEO 6920 1

For students following the thesis track, a minimum of 24 credits are then taken from the core subject areas listed below, with at least one course from each of four different core subject areas. Up to 6 credits designated as “Special Topics” courses (courses not listed here) may be taken with the approval of the Thesis Advisor. Students can take up to 3 credits of Directed Independent Study and 3-6 credits of Thesis research.

Students taking the non-thesis track take 30 credits from the core subject areas and electives, with at least one course from each of four different core subject areas. Up to 6 credits designated as “Special Topics” courses (courses not listed here) may be taken with the approval of the Thesis Advisor. Students can take no more than 3 credits of Directed Independent Study. Non-thesis candidates will complete an exit exam specific to their area(s) of study in the spring of their second year, administered by the student’s degree committee.

 Core Subject Areas

Conservation and Ecology

Coastal Plant Ecology (BOT 6606) 2 credits
Provides an in-depth analysis of current topics of coastal plant ecology including marsh, mangrove, lagoonal, and reef ecosystems.

Coastal Plant Ecology Lab (BOT 6606L) 2 credits
Field studies of marsh, mangrove, lagoon, and coral reef ecosystems with an emphasis on the flora. Research techniques and data analyses for studying coastal plant ecology are stressed.

Natural History of the Indian River Lagoon (OCB 6810) 3 credits
An overview of the marine plants and animals, habitats, and environmental conditions in the Indian River Lagoon, including human impacts. Field trips to local habitats complement lecture and labs.

Coral Reef Ecosystems (OCB 6266) 3 credits
Explores the structure, biology, ecology, significance and current status of coral reef ecosystems through a combination of lectures and discussions.

Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab (OCB 6266L) 1 credit
Field-and-laboratory-based exploration of coral reef ecosystems focused on coral identification and underwater scientific methods for coral research.

Conservation Biology (PCB 6045) 3 credits
A study of the principles and practice of conservation biology. Emphasis on the primary threats to biodiversity and the application of contemporary tools to solve conservation problems.

Advanced Ecology (PCB 6046) 3 credits
Provides graduate students with a background in development of ecology as a science and current ecological theory and application of ecology for ecosystem management.

Ecological Theory (PCB 6406) 3 credits 
A functional approach to and a critical examination of the principles and concepts in ecosystem theory.

Marine and Estuarine Community Dynamics (PCB 6316) 3 credits
Community, landscape, food web and similar features of marine systems are studied. Both basic and applied (conversation and restoration) aspects of communities are included.

Marine Ecology (PCB 6317) 3 credits 
A study of the principles, concepts, and techniques of marine and estuarine ecology. Environmental factors, adaptations, habitats, communities, and applications of current ecological theory are studied. Lecture, laboratory, and field work are included.

Marine Ecology Laboratory and Field Studies (PCB 6317L) 2 credits
A study of the Methods and Techniques of marine ecological research and their application in the field. Data collections, analysis and presentation.

Marine Global Change (OCE 6019) 3 credits
Introduction to long-term and global scale changes in terrestrial and marine environments and the impact those changes have in marine settings, especially the coastal ocean. Natural and anthropogenic changes are described and compared. Topics include invasions, extinctions, climate change, food web modifications, and freshwater issues in the coastal zone.

Marine Fisheries Ecology and Management (OCB 6715C) 4 credits


Marine Biology

Advances in Finfish Aquaculture (BSC 6342) 3 credits
Prerequisite: Culture of Marine Organisms or permission of instructor
Explores issues affecting finfish aquaculture for food production and fisheries stock enhancement worldwide. Topics include sustainability, new and historic methods for fish culture and issues and controversies faced by finfish aquaculturists.

Introduction to Marine Biotechnology (BSC 6346) 3 credits
Introduces the principles and practices of Marine Biotechnology and its commercial applications: 1) the cultivation and genetic manipulation of marine microorganisms, invertebrates and vertebrates; 2) disease impacts in aquaculture systems; 3) the discovery and production of commercially relevant products; 4) policy related to the commercial development of marine resources.

Data Processing and Modeling of Marine Systems (OCB 6673) 3 credits
Provides tools, methods and numerical recipes to study ocean processes from in-situ observations and ocean numerical models. Provides an overview of current ocean models and biophysical and biogeochemical models, and their applications.

Marine Molecular Biology (PCB 6465) 3 credits
Examines emerging molecular technologies and their application in the marine sciences through a combination of lecture, discussion and debates.

Aquatic Animal Health (PCB 6772) 3 credits
A comprehensive study of basic processes in aquatic organisms, with an emphasis on marine fish and invertebrates.

Physiology of Marine Animals (PCB 6775) 3 credits
A study of how marine animals function in their environment.

Sensory Biology and Behavior of Fishes (PCB 6871) 3 credits
A study of the anatomy and physiology of sensory structures in fishes, as well as the neural processing and behaviors elicited by these senses. Topics include vision, olfaction, audition, gustation, lateral line.

Marine Invertebrate Zoology (ZOO 6256) 3 credits 
A study of morphology, systematics, phylogenetic relationships, ecology, and life histories of marine invertebrates. It includes lecture, laboratory, and field problems.

Marine Invertebrate Zoology Lab (ZOO 6256L) 2 credits
Collection of marine invertebrates aboard a research vessel and various marine habitats in southern Florida.

The Biology of Sea Turtles (ZOO 6406) 3 credits
This upper-level lecture, lab and field course introduces the behavioral, ecological and evolutionary adaptations of sea turtles and conservation-related topics. Major topics include species identification, functional anatomy, reproduction, migration, navigation, feeding ecology, physiology, development, nets and hatchlings, threats to survival and conservation strategies.

Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives (ZOO 6409) 3 credits
Studies biology, ecology, physiology, behavior and taxonomy of the elasmobranch fishes. Includes a review of extant families and contemporary topics in elasmobiology through readings from the primary literature.

Natural History of Fishes (ZOO 6456) 3 credits 
The natural history of marine and freshwater fishes, emphasizing anatomy, functional morphology, general classification, and phylogenetic relationships, as well as biology of fishes in different habitats. Lecture, laboratory, and field study are included.

Natural History of Fishes Lab (ZOO 6456L) 2 credits
A study of external and internal anatomy, osteology, and identification of fishes. Laboratory and field study are included.

Seminar in Ichthyology (ZOO 6459) 1-2 credits
A critical review of current literature dealing with fishes and fisheries. This course may be repeated for credit to a maximum of 4 credits. Grading: S/U

Histology of Fishes and Aquatic Invertebrates (ZOO 6757) 4 credits
Prerequisite: Graduate standing
An introduction to basic histology techniques and interpretation of normal and disease states of marine fish and invertebrates.

Biogeography (GEO 5305) 3 credits
Biogeography is the study of distributions of organisms and the processes responsible for the patterns. This course examines theories concerning spatio-temporal processes and patterns, populations, communities, ecosystems, biodiversity, disturbance, succession, speciation and conservation.

Restoration Implementation and Management (EVR 6358) 3 credits
Restoration projects require the approval of multiple government agencies and cooperation of affected landowners and stakeholders at every phase. This course covers the legal aspects of government approval, creating communication plans for coalition building and collaboration with stakeholders, conflict resolution and ethics in restoration.


Remote Sensing and GIS

Digital Image Analysis (GIS 5033C) 3 credits
This course is the second in a three-course sequence that follows the national model for core curriculum in remote sensing. Digital techniques for processing and analyzing remotely sensed imagery include image enhancement, image classification, ground truthing, and accuracy assessment.

Remote Sensing of the Environment (GIS 5038C)  3 credits
The first of a three-course sequence, this one covers principles and concepts of remote sensing, aerial photograph and satellite image interpretation and analysis. Includes a survey of remote sensing data sources, hands on lab projects in a GIS environment and an introductory research project.

Principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS 5051C) 3 credits
Prerequisite: GIS 3015C or equivalent
Basic concepts of geographic information systems. Evaluation of hardware and software components. Examination of data structures and fundamental GIS functions. Application potential and laboratory experience with GIS systems. Basic GIS project design and implementation.

Applications in Geographic Information Systems (GIS 5100C) 3 credits
Prerequisite: GIS 4043C or GIS 5051C or equivalent
Advanced techniques for raster modeling, network systems, and statistical analysis in geographic information systems. System planning and implementation issues in applying GIS in diverse areas. GIS-based spatial modeling issues.

Programming in Geographic Information Systems (GIS 5103C) 3 credits
Prerequisites: GIS 4043C or 5051C
Course covers basic computer programming concepts and methodologies. Issues for customizing and/or extending available functions in selected cutting edge GIS are discussed along with advanced geoprocessing modeling and data analysis with scripts. Project design and development are addressed.

LiDAR Remote Sensing and Applications (GIS 6032C) 3 credits
Prerequisites: GIS 5051C; Geosciences graduate students only
Introduces LiDAR principles, sensors and platforms, data processing and analysis and applications. Students master basic skills of LiDAR needed to leverage the commercial LiDAR sources and information products in a broad range of applications.

Advanced Remote Sensing (GIS 6039) 3 credits
Prerequisites: GEO 4022 and GIS 4035C or permission of instructor
Advanced study of remote sensing applications. Project design, implementation and evaluation.

Topics in Geoinformation Science (GIS 6120) 3 credits
Prerequisites: GEO 4022 and GIS 4043C or equivalent
Technical, operational, and management issues in geographic information systems. Examination of GIS function algorithms, data structures, error analysis, and other topics in GIS applications.

Hyperspectral Remote Sensing (GIS 6127) 3 credits
Prerequisites: GIS 4035C and 4037C or GIS 5033C and 5038C
Course introduces state-of-the-art techniques for the processing and interpretation of hyper- and ultraspectral data with a focus on thematic information extraction from airborne and satellite-based hyperspectral sensors. Course covers the full hyperspectral remote sensing processing chain from data acquisition and calibration to image processing and thematic mapping.

Spatial Data Analysis (GIS 6306) 3 credits
Prerequisite: GIS 5051C 
Introduces a range of spatial statistical methods commonly used in the analysis of geo-spatial data in GISciences. Emphasis on gaining insight into the overall framework for analysis and developing an understanding of various concepts with in-depth treatment of select techniques. Methods are mainly discussed within the context of GIS technology.

Ocean Monitoring System (OCE 6268) 3 credits
International agreements and conventions call for safety at sea, effective management of the marine environment and sustainable utilization of its resources. This course provides the international framework, concepts and tools used to measure, rapidly detect and provide timely predictions of changes in a broad spectrum of marine phenomena.

Marine Optics (OCE 6269) 3 credits
Marine optics is relevant to a diverse array of marine and environmental science disciplines. The course introduces the theoretical concepts of the irradiative transfer of light through natural waters and how electromagnetic waves interact with natural water and its constituents.

Underwater Optical Imaging for Marine Scientists (OCE 6267) 3 credits
This course introduces the key theoretical concepts in underwater optical imaging, the alternate imaging technologies and related data formats and science products. An overview of imaging and visualization using conventional photography and videography leads to more advanced techniques.

Data Processing for Studies and Modeling of Marine Systems (OCB 6673) 3 credits


Coastal and Geological Science

Comparative Carbonate Sedimentology (GLY 6352) 3 credits
Dedicated to the study of carbonate deposits in the process of formation, methods of studies, examination of sediment types and factors that control their distribution and tracking depositional environments, rocks and calcareous organisms into the recent geologic past (Pleistocene and Holocene).

Shore Erosion and Protection (GLY 5575C) 3 credits
Study of geomorphology and use of coasts, sediment budgets and dune-beach interaction, effects of engineering structures, coastal hydraulics, tides and currents, waves and structures, coastal water level fluctuations, shore erosion control, beach replenishment, coastal protection and restoration, fate of replenished beaches.

Marine Geology (GLY 5736C) 3 credits
Theoretical and applied earth science in the marine environment. Introduction to the history of marine geology, structure and evolution of continental margins and the world’s basins in terms of modern plate tectonic theory, ocean sediments and sedimentary regimes, geologic effects of waves and currents, dynamics of coastal environmental processes, fluctuations of mean sea level through time, ocean mineral resources.

Advanced Topics in Applied, Coastal, and Hydrogeology (GLY 5934) 3 credits
Occasional advanced courses in specialized areas of engineering, coastal and hydrogeology not fully covered in other program courses.

Coastal Environments (GLY 6737) 3 credits
Examination of the biophysical framework and biogeography (zonation) of world coastal environments. Consideration of the areal (spatial) distribution of major coastal ecosystems and the natural processes and littoral materials that make up beaches, dunes, wetlands, tidal flats, rocky shores, and other coastal landforms.

Methods in Hydrogeology (GLY 6838) 3 credits
Prerequisite: GLY 4822 or equivalent with a grade of "C" or better, or permission of instructor
Designed to introduce students to practical aspects of hydrogeology, including project design, field methods and data analysis.

Coastal Hazards (GLY 6888) 3 credits
A global review of natural and human-induced hazards as they affect coastal zones, including the identification of site specific and regional coastal hazards. Mitigation and management are related to individual and community hazard perceptions, risk assessment and response. Emphasis is placed on the susceptibility of the SE Florida region to oil (chemical) spills, coastal floods due to extreme events, and to the potential impacts of global sea level rise.

Global Environmental Change (GLY 6746) 3 credits
An introduction to the study of global climate change through time. Included and in-depth studies of the causes of and evidence for past environmental changes, major perturbations of global natural environmental systems, the effects of sea level changes, solar variations, and planetary dynamics on climate, and details of Quaternary paleoclimate models


Statistics and Communication Core

Scientific Communication (BSC 6846) 3 credits
Introduces students interested in scientific research to various techniques and software important for data processing and presentation of research data. Students learn to effectively present research to the general public and to the scientific community in written form, such as research proposals, conference presentations, seminars and publications.

Experimental Design and Biometry (PCB 6456) 4 credits
Covers experimental design and statistical analysis in biology and ecology. Students learn probability theory basics, univariate and multivariate analyses, proper experimental design such as replication and blocking, and how to use the SAS software application.

Advanced Multivariate Biometry (PCB 6457) 3 credits
Involves learning advanced techniques for analyzing biological and ecological data including time-series analyses, structural equation modeling, MDS, multiple regression and other methods.



Environmental Geochemistry (GLY 5243) 3 credits
Examination of current geochemical problems affecting the earth at global, regional, and local scales. Discussion of the natural geochemical background of substances including a review of geochemical principles.

Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (CHS 6611) 3 credits
Course is designed for environmental scientists and requires minimal chemical training (one year of general chemistry with a "C" or better or permission of instructor). Introductory chemical basics are covered to lay a foundation for the remainder of the course. Atmospheric chemistry (global warming, ozone layer) are covered. However, aquatic chemistry and its effects on biotic communities and humans are emphasized

Dynamics of Marine Biogeochemical Processes (OCE 6096) 3 credits