Planning your MCS Major

Your path to an MCS Major

Marine and Coastal Science (MCS) Undergraduate Courses

Many upper division MCS classes are offered once per year or once every other year, so careful planning will help you fit in your preferred electives. Check when each MCS major (and oceanography minor) class is offered.

The Marine and Coastal Science major begins with introductory courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences.  These are followed by core courses in Marine Science. The major requirements provide focus and breadth, so that each student gains mastery in one area and broad exposure to many facets of Marine and Coastal Science.  Focus and Breadth areas include: Coastal Environmental Processes, Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology, Marine Environmental Chemistry, or Oceans and the Earth System. Students also graduate with hands-on fieldwork and research or internship experience. 


 

  • Marine Science Seminar
  • The Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute's Lead Mentor hosts seminars each year for all students interested in the Marine Sciences. See more at MCS Lead Mentor Courses.  
  • General Education courses to consider
  • GE Chart for MCS majors

    ABT/LDA 150—Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4 units) GE credit: SE, VL
    ANS 018—Introductory Aquaculture (4 units) GE credit:  SE, OL, QL, SL, VL, WE
    ANS 118—Fish Production (4 units) GE credit: SE. Prerequisite: WFC 120
    ANS 119—Invertebrate Aquaculture (4 units) GE credit: SE
    ANS 136–Techniques & Practices of Fish Culture (3 units)
    ANT 131–Ecology & Politics (4 units) GE credit: SS
    ANT 133–Anthropology of Ocean Worlds (4 units) GE credit: SS, WC, WE
    BIS 020Q—Modeling in Biology (2 units)
    CRD 149 — Community Development Perspectives on Environmental Justice (4 units) - includes a global learning focus!
    ESM/SAS 008–Water Quality at Risk (3 units) GE credit: SE, SL, SS, WE
    ESP 174—Environmental Justice Policy & Practice (4 units) GE credit: SS, DD, WE
    HIS/STS 002—Introduction to the History of Science & Technology (4 units) GE credit: AH, SS, SL, WC, WE
    HIS 108—Global Environmental History (4 units) GE credit: AH, SS
    HIS 157—Business, Biomes & Knowledge: Latin American Environmental History (4 units) GE credit: SS, WC, WE
    HIS 172–American Environmental History (4 units) GE credit: ACGH, AH, SS, WE
    HIS 178—Water in the West: Environment & Politics in America's Arid Lands (4 units) GE credit: AH, ACGH, WE
    HYD 150—Water Law (3 units) GE credit: ACGH, SS.
    NAS 161—California Indian Environmental Policy I (4 units) GE credit: ACGH, DD, SS, WE. No prerequisites. Offered Spring of odd-numbered years.
    NAS 162—California Indian Environmental Policy II (4 units) GE credit: ACGH, DD, SS, WE. No prerequisites.
    PHI 030—Introduction to Philosophy of Science (4 units) GE credit: AH, SE, SL, WE
    PLS 021—Application of Computers in Technology (3 units). Teaches Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other useful technologies.
    POL 12B–Climate Change and Politics (4 units) GE credit: SS, WE
    SAS 004Y–Water in Popular Culture (3 units) GE credit: SE, SS, ACGH, SL, WC
    SAS 010—Water, Power, Society (3 units)
    SAS 145Digital Communications in Agricultural, Environmental and Human Sciences. Make video presentations about areas of science most interesting to you. 
    STS 001—Introduction to Science, Technology & Medicine Studies (4 units) GE credit: SS, WE. Learn how society and science affect each other.
    STS 011—Science on Trial: Law, Science, & Technology in the United States (4 units) GE credit: ACGH, SS. An introduction to law and science in America.
    STS 101—Data & Society (4 units) GE credit: QL, SS. Learn to analyze and visualize data about some of today's most challenging social problems. Add data analysis to your portfolio of skills.
    UWP 049 — Writing Research Papers (4 units)
    UWP 102G — Writing in the Disciplines: Environmental Writing (4 units)
    UWP 104E—Writing in the Professions: Science (4 units)
    UWP 111C—Specialized Topics in Journalism: Science Journalism (4 units)

4-year Students | MCS Sample Academic Plan

4-year Students | MCS Sample Academic Plan

The following is a sample academic plan for first year Marine and Coastal Science majors. This information is provided for your convenience, but should be adjusted to each student's specific needs. These plans are not meant to replace a consultation with a major advisor, who can help you create a personalized academic plan. Classes are subject to change. 

MCS Sample Academic Plan (pdf) revised 03/2024

Year 1

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12-15 units 
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • CHE 002B (5)
    • MAT 016B or 017B or 019B or 021B (3-4)
    • Lower Division College English (4)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • CHE 002C (5)
    • MAT 016C or 017C or 019C or 021C (3-4)
    • BIS 002B (5)

Year 2

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 002C (5)
    • CHE 008A* (2)
    • General Education (suggestion: ESP 001)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 002A (5)
    • CHE 008B* (4) 
    • GEL 016 (3)
    • General Education (3+)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • STA 100 (4)
    • Depth Course (4-5)
    • EVE 012 (3)
    • General Education (3+)

Year 3

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 101* (4)
    • PHY 007A or 009A (4-5)
    • Depth Course (4-5)
    • UWP 101 or 102 or 104 or UDCE
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 105* (3)
    • PHY 007B or 009B (4-5)
    • GEL/ESP 116N** (3)
    • ANS 198: Careers in Marine Science (2)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 104* (3)
    • PHY 007C or 009C (4-5)
    • GEL/ESP 150B** (3)
    • General Education (3+)
  • Summer (or Fall) at BML Total: 10 units 
    • Field Requirement (0)
    • Focus Course (4)
    • GEL/ESP 150C** (3)
    • Research/Internship (3)

Year 4

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • Breadth Course (3-4)
    • General Education (3+)
    • General Education (3+)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • Breadth Course (3-4)
    • General Education (3+)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • GEL/ESP 150A** (4)
    • Breadth Course (3-4)
    • EVE/ESP 111 (1)
    • General Education (3+)

*Only required for the focus in Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology
**Choose two from GEL/ESP 116N, 150A, 150B, and 150C

2-year Transfer Students | MCS Sample Academic Plan

2-year Transfer Students | MCS Sample Academic Plan

The following is a sample academic plan for 2-year transfer MCS majors. It assumes that you’ve completed the preparatory coursework. This information is provided for your convenience, but should be adjusted to each student's specific needs. These plans are not meant to replace a consultation with a major advisor, who can help you create a personalized academic plan. Classes are subject to change.  

MCS Sample Academic Plan for Transfers (pdf) revised 03/2024

Year 1

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12-15 units
    • STA 100 (4)
    • Depth Course (4-5)
    • GEL 001 or 002 or 016 or 050 (3-4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 101* (4)
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • GEL/ESP 116N** (3)
    • ANS 198: Careers in Marine Science (2)
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units  
    • BIS 105* (3)
    • GEL/ESP 150B** (3)
    • Breadth Course (3-4) 
  • Summer (or Fall) at BML Total: 10 units 
    • Field Requirement
    • Focus Course (4)
    • GEL/ESP 150C** (3)
    • Research/Internship (3)

Year 2

  • Fall Quarter Total: 12+ units 
    • BIS 104* (3)
    • Depth Course (4-5)
    • Breadth Course (3-4)
  • Winter Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • Focus Course (3-4)
    • UWP 101 or 102 or 104 or UDCE
  • Spring Quarter Total: 12+ units
    • GEL/ESP 150A** (4)
    • Breadth Course (3-4) 
    • EVE/ESP 111 (1)

*Only required for the focus in Marine Ecology and Organismal Biology
**Choose two from GEL/ESP 116N, 150A, 150B, and 150C