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The Marine Sciences major prepares students for meaningful and productive post-baccalaureate employment and/or admission to high-quality graduate programs. Although administered by GEMS, the Marine Sciences major is truly interdisciplinary in nature, both in its curriculum and faculty.The program investigates and emphasizes the multiple feedback interactions among unicellular to vertebrate marine organisms, the physiochemistry of the water in which they live, and the substrates in and/or on which they dwell. Typically, students who major in the Marine Sciences also double major or minor in one or more of the following programs: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, and Psychology (for marine mammel training).

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the following requirements for the Marine Sciences Major may be satisfied by taking similar coursework through Rider Approved Study Abroad Programs. Please contact your academic advisor, the GEMS department chair, and/or Rider's Center for International Education (CIE) for further information.


GEMS (34 Credits)
  ENV-200 Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences 4
  GEO-100 Earth Systems Science 3
  GEO-102 Earth Materials and Processes Lab 1
  GEO-306 Sedimentology 4
  MAR-120 Oceanography 3
  MAR-121 Introductory Oceanography Lab 1
  MAR-227-229 Introduction to Field Marine Sciences course1 4
  MAR-330 Chemical Oceanography 4
  MAR-340 Marine Processes and Environments: Seminar 3
  MAR-401 Marine Ecology 4
  MAR-410 Physical Oceanography 3

Biology (8 Credits)
Principles of Biology I
Principles of Biology II
  BIO-272 Introduction to Marine Biology 3
  BIO-272L Marine Biology Lab 1

Chemistry (8 Credits)
  CHE-120 Principles of Chemistry 3
  CHE-121 Principles of Chemistry Lab 1
  CHE-122 Introduction to Chemical Systems 3
  CHE-123 Quantitative Methods Lab 1

Physics (8 Credits) 
  PHY-100 Principles of Physics I 3
  PHY-100L Principles of Physics I Lab 1
  PHY-101 Principles of Physics II 3
  PHY-101L Principles of Physics II Lab 1

Electives (7-8 Credits) Two courses from the following:
  BIO-372 Behavior of Marine Organisms: An Evolutionary Approach 4
  ENV-205 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems 3
  MAR-210 Marine Life Through Time 4
  MAR-325 Marine Vertebrates: Fish to Mammals 4
  MAR-360 Plankton Ecology 4

TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED: 65-66 (In addition to CLAES core requirements). Marine Sciences majors also will take either MTH-105: Algebra and Trigonometry or MTH-210: Calculus I to satisfy the CLAES mathematics core requirement2.

Completion of a OSHA HAZWOPER Training Course is recommended for those students planning on employment within the environmental industry. This 40-hour course fulfills the requirements for the OSHA Hazardous Materials Technician, Level A and the 29 CFR 1910.20 regulations. Students who complete the course are fully certified to handle hazardous materials and waste products. Because OSHA certification normally is required for job positions in the environmental industry, OSHA-certified students are more competitive for summer, part-time, and full-time employment opportunities.

A minor in Biology, Chemistry, or Earth and Environmental Sciences is recommended.

1Introduction to Field Marine Sciences courses are taught at various field stations on a rotating basis during the Summer I or Summer II terms and include:

  • Subtropical Environments; MAR-227
  • Boreal Environments; MAR-228
  • Tropical Environments; MAR-229

2Graduate schools usually require at least one semester of calculus.


Graduation with Honors in Marine Sciences is awarded in recognition of majors who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. Enrollment in the program is by invitation of the GEMS faculty. Eligibility requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses required for the major and the satisfactory completion of a senior thesis. In addition, an honors candidates must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0.