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Biological Oceanography students are required to define a course of study for their first two years with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Committee of their choosing.  The course of study includes at least 96 units of non-research courses (about 8 courses).

Most of the course work is accomplished during the first and second years. The core oceanography curriculum includes Biological Oceanography (course number 7.47) and Foundational statistics/quantitative methods in data analysis and modeling, and at least 24 additional units of graduate-level oceanography or marine science.  In addition, students are encouraged to include Topics courses among their non-research course credits.

The Topics courses are short (1.5 h/wk), but advanced, lecture and discussion courses in specific areas of biological oceanography. Students are expected to take additional courses in areas within and outside Biology, as appropriate for their specific research directions. The curriculum has built-in flexibility to allow students to build depth of knowledge in their specific area of study, and to add breadth to their understanding of biological oceanography.