Marine Sciences (BS): Physics Concentration

To see more about what you will learn in this program, visit the Learning Outcomes website!

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Science may be obtained by selecting one of five concentrations: Biological Oceanography, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology, or Physics.

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources is available with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Resources.

Marine scientists explore all aspects of the seas and coastal regions, seeking to understand how the oceans, their biological communities, the solid earth and the atmosphere interact. As professionals with interdisciplinary training, marine scientists are needed to advise business, industry and governments on the potential impact of human activities and the wise use of marine resources. Marine scientists work for consulting firms; regulatory agencies; the mass media; business and industry; federal, state and local governments; academic laboratories; research and education organizations; and nonprofit environmental watchdog groups.


For more information about our marine science programs, visit our website or contact:

Maggie Puryear
Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs

Plan Requirements

Core Courses/Marine Science
MEA 100Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections4
MEA 200Introduction to Oceanography3
MEA 210Oceanography Lab1
MEA 250Introduction to Coastal Environments3
MEA 459Field Investigation of Coastal Processes5
MEA 460Principles of Physical Oceanography3
MEA 462Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Marine Physics3
MEA 495Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences1
Physics Concentration
MEA 463Fluid Physics3
MEA 464Ocean Circulation Systems3
MEA 467Marine Meteorology3
PY 203University Physics III 14
PY 411Mechanics I3
PY 412Mechanics II3
PY 413Thermal Physics3
PY 414Electromagnetism I3
PY 415Electromagnetism II3
Technical Elective 23
Basic Math & Sciences
CH 101Chemistry - A Molecular Science 13
CH 102General Chemistry Laboratory1
CH 201Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 13
CH 202Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory1
PY 201University Physics I 14
PY 202University Physics II 14
MA 141Calculus I 14
MA 241Calculus II 14
MA 242Calculus III4
MA 341Applied Differential Equations I3
MA 401Applied Differential Equations II3
ST 370Probability and Statistics for Engineers3
Select one of the following Computer Science electives:3
Introduction to Computing: Python
Introduction to Computing-FORTRAN
Introduction to Computing - MATLAB
Introduction to Computing - Java
Introduction to Scientific Computing
College Requirements
COS 100Science of Change 32
ENG 101Academic Writing and Research 14
Select one of the following:3
Communication for Engineering and Technology
Communication for Business and Management
Communication for Science and Research
GEP Courses
GEP Humanities6
GEP Social Sciences6
GEP Health and Exercise Studies2
GEP Additional Breadth (Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts)3
GEP U.S. Diversity (verify requirement)
GEP Global Knowledge (verify requirement)
Foreign Language Proficiency (verify requirement)
Total Hours120

Semester Sequence

Critical Path Courses – Identify using the code (CP) which courses are considered critical path courses which represent specific major requirements that are predictive of student success in a given program/plan. Place the (CP) next to the credit hours for the course.

This is a sample.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterHours
MA 141 Calculus I (CP) 1 4
MEA 100 Earth System Science: Exploring the Connections 2 4
COS 100 Science of Change 2
PY 201 University Physics I (CP) 1 4
Spring Semester
CH 101 Chemistry - A Molecular Science 1 3
CH 102 General Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
ENG 101 Academic Writing and Research 1 4
MA 241 Calculus II (CP) 1 4
PY 202 University Physics II (CP) 1 4
Second Year
Fall Semester
MA 242 Calculus III 3 4
MEA 200 Introduction to Oceanography (CP) 2 3
MEA 210 Oceanography Lab 2 1
PY 203 University Physics III 1 4
GEP Social Sciences 3
Spring Semester
CH 201 Chemistry - A Quantitative Science 1 3
CH 202 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory 3 1
Computer Science Option Elective 3 3
MA 341 Applied Differential Equations I 3 3
MEA 250 Introduction to Coastal Environments 2 3
PY 411 Mechanics I 2 3
Third Year
Fall Semester
GEP Humanities 3
MA 401 Applied Differential Equations II 3 3
MEA 460 Principles of Physical Oceanography 2 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
PY 412 Mechanics II 2 3
Spring Semester
MEA 462 Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Marine Physics 2 3
MEA 467 Marine Meteorology 2 3
MEA 495 Junior Seminar in the Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences 1
PY 413 Thermal Physics 2 3
ST 370 Probability and Statistics for Engineers 3 3
GEP Additional Breadth 3
MEA 459 Field Investigation of Coastal Processes 2 5
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Advanced Writing Elective 3
GEP Social Sciences 3
GEP Health and Exercise Studies 1
MEA 463 Fluid Physics 2 3
PY 414 Electromagnetism I 2 3
Spring Semester
MEA 464 Ocean Circulation Systems 2 3
PY 415 Electromagnetism II 2 3
GEP Humanities 3
Technical Elective 2 3
 Total Hours120

Career Opportunities

MEAS undergraduate degree programs provide talented students with the foundation of scientific knowledge required for careers in government, industry, or academia. Many students pursue graduate degrees and pursue careers in industry, at government agencies and in academia.

Marine Sciences graduates go on to become oceanographers, to manage our coastal resources, model air-sea interaction, and explore global climate change. They conduct basic and applied research, serving as environmental consultants for industry and governmental agencies, policy and management experts for governmental agencies, and environmental science educators. Graduates with a Natural Resources degree are versed in the fundamental processes and interdisciplinary nature of the coastal zone. As scientists, managers, administrators, and regulators, they make decisions regarding use and conservation of coastal and marine resources.

Geology graduates address society’s needs for dealing effectively with earth processes, such as water resources and the stability of land forms. They work for engineering firms, permit-issuing agencies, and industries that rely on geological resources. Historical geologists are familiar with the evolution of earth through time and provide a perspective on potential long-term reactions of the earth systems to change. Those who concentrate in Environmental Geology are trained to assess and monitor geological resources such as ground water. Marine geologists are experts in the complex issues facing industry, municipalities, and residents in the dynamic and ecologically vulnerable coastal zone.

Meteorology graduates enjoy careers in weather forecasting, air quality assessment, development of weather products and services, broadcast communications, and advanced research. Marine meteorologists study ocean-generated weather systems. Their research is yielding practical benefits such as refined prediction of storm surge, which has streamlined evacuation efforts during severe storms along the Carolina coast. Meteorology graduates with an air quality emphasis work for environmental firms, regulatory agencies, and in applied research. Study of air quality and how air pollution is transported and dispersed is a rapidly expanding field in the atmospheric sciences.

MEAS graduates play a key service role for the State of North Carolina, assisting in everything from forecasting severe storms and analyzing the impact of atmospheric pollutants on agriculture and our estuaries, to determining the effects of toxic waste disposal on quality of surface and ground water.