Bachelor of Science in Marine Science

two students on the ocean during field workSaint Joseph's College is the only liberal arts college in Maine offering a major in marine science, and one of the few small colleges in the Northeast to do so.

The Marine Science program includes Dr. Mark Green (ocean geochemistry), Dr. Greg Teegarden (ecosystem ecology), and Dr. Jeanne Gulnick (marine microbiology and chemistry).

Faculty members guide students through investigations of the geological, physical, chemical and biological characteristics of ocean systems, and students receive training on the fresh waters of Maine as well. A heavy emphasis on field work ensures that students will spend ample time learning the discipline in stimulating locations - the rocky coast, mudflats, estuaries, the sea floor, even the open waters of the Gulf of Maine.

All faculty members are active in research, and student involvement is a key component. Collaborations with organizations such as Friends of Casco Bay and Portland Water District are also important.

Through independent study, internships, and senior research, students work on important local issues. From cataloging the diversity of Gulf of Maine waters, to studying the causes and effects of red tide outbreaks or researching how the chemical environments affects juvenile clam survival (crucial to proper fishery management), the marine science program is making a difference today and developing the scientists and leaders of tomorrow.

Strengths of the Marine Science Program

  • Fantastic location featuring lakes, mountains, forest and shore for field exercises and research opportunities
  • Low student-faculty ratios, ensuring close interaction with professors
  • Student involvement in research that prepares students for careers and graduate school
  • Courses provide broad training needed for a career in science
  • Numerous specialty courses to pursue interests

Marine Science Minor

A minor in Marine Science is available and requires students to take 20 credits of course work.

Lane Hubacz '09, Ryan Carrier '10 and Dr. Mark Green

National Science Foundation Research

Lane Hubacz '09, Ryan Carrier '10 and marine science professor Mark Green check temperature of water going into a bin containing oysters. The researchers are hoping to spawn oysters they will raise in various pH conditions in order to determine the effect of pH on rates of fertilization. The project is part of Dr. Green's research on ocean acidification's effect on shellfish.

Environmental Science Semester

Immerse yourself in the Environmental Science Semester. Whether you are an environmental science, environmental studies or marine science major, you will gain a strong foundation of practical experience from the Environmental Science Semester, during which you’ll study field methods, oceanography, climate change and glacial geology, and marine ecology. The entire semester is off campus, with field-based projects and instruction in coastal Maine, Atlantic Canada and aboard a schooner exploring the islands and waters of the Gulf of Maine. Practical experience will solidify your understanding of complex processes and interactions. This will boost confidence in your scientific field and result in a more marketable background for your future career.

Environment Science Semester (ESS) blog

Student research, in the field and in the lab

Sean Donnelly with professor Johan Erikson in a gravel pitSean Donnelly in the labMarine science major Sean Donnelly ’12 spent some of last summer collecting post-Ice Age sand samples in Maine, along the Penobscot River, tributary streams, and even in gravel pits up north with natural sciences professor Dr. Johan Erikson. In the campus lab, Sean sorted and identified the collected minerals – and helped to determine what climatic conditions were like when they were formed. The methodology and research can be used by other scientists to determine the effect of climate on geological landscape over millions of years.

Learn more about Sean

Ocean Acidification with Dr. Mark Green

Marine science professor Dr. Mark Green explains ocean acidification and how it affects marine life.