Experiential Education – Immersed in a Sea of PossibilitesClass on beach

Central to HMSC’s mission of “research, education and outreach through collaborative partnerships” are university students. HMSC supports students—ranging from non-science majors and community college freshmen to marine science undergraduate interns and graduate students—with world-class, interdisciplinary, hands-on learning.

HMSC has three thematic terms, forming the foundation for experiential education at the coast. Marine Biology in the spring quarter, Marine and Evironmental Studies in the summer quarter and Coastal Ecology and Resource Management in the fall quarter. All terms offer a combination of field, wet lab and classroom learning. In addition, students are able to conduct research projects with faculty and/or agency scientists as mentors. HMSC’s coastal campus allows students from OSU and beyond to eat, sleep and breathe marine science for a total immersion experience.


Marine & Environmental Studies ProgramClass necropsy

Participate in a pinniped and cetacean necropsy! Rearticulate a marine bird skeleton! Coastal oceanography cruises!

Courses within the Summer Marine & Environmental Studies Program at HMSC are designed to provide students with extensive and intensive hands-on field study of organisms in their natural habitats, coupled with interactive classroom or 'hybrid' course formats, unless otherwise noted. The 8-week term provides flexibility for students interested in spending a full summer term at HMSC or students with limited time schedules (e.g., teachers and other professionals) with the added benefit of complete immersion into marine focused topics. Summer Session registration begins in April, and the HMSC summer courses start in June.   Quick Reference of HMSC Summer Session Program Weekly Course Schedule

Flyer of HMSC Summer Session Courses

              Scholarships available! All students pay OSU in-state tuition!

Students enrolled in the summer program can live on-site in the Hatfield Marine Science Center housing complex next to the Guin Library, the largest library on the Oregon coast devoted to marine science. Summer students enrolled in the instruction program take courses in sequence in two 4-week blocks, Marine Ecology Focus and Marine Science Focus earning up to 6-9 quarter credits in 4 weeks and up to 16-17 quarter credits in 8 weeks. Due to the nature of the intensive format, lab and field experience, students may be assigned reading in advance to prepare them for each course. Please see the OSU Summer Session schedule of classes for complete schedule and prerequisites for classes offered at HMSC. 

Get your feet wet and your head fully immersed at HMSC... List of Summer Courses


Marine Conservation and EducationBirding at HMSC

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife offers a variety of courses relating to coastal ecology and the management of natural resources. The program is designed to provide a diverse array of hands-on educational experiences as well as traditional classroom instruction in fisheries science and marine resource management.
The Fall program includes the signature field-oriented course in Coastal Ecology and Resource Management (CERM) FW 426/526. This five-credit course is taught by a team of faculty and agency scientists and is based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.  The class consists of a one-week (Sept. 17-21) intensive field lab and lecture series, followed by weekly seminars, discussions and field trips for the term. Students learn basic biological, chemical, and physical processes of coastal habitats, and some of the issues associated with human use of coastal resources.

An exciting array of courses are available to upper division undergraduate and graduate students in the fall. Students can live at Hatfield Marine Science Center and create their own plan of study from courses in coastal and ocean science, resource management and policy, and outreach and education. 

  • Live at the coast while taking a full term of courses
  • Experience diverse coastal habitats in small, hands-on courses
  • ‘Study abroad’ style experience
  • Learn while doing— marine research, fisheries science, public education

Fall at the Coast program description and flyer (PDF).

Courses come from OSU’s Fisheries and Wildlife Department, College of Education, and College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. Topics range from marine mammals and coastal estuarine ecology to conservation biology and science education. Opportunities for research experience and internships provide additional pathways for students to gain experience in their fields of interest. 

HMSC housing



Marine Biology and Ecology (BI 450) Termclass on mudflat

Imagine a 15-credit course where you eat, breath and sleep marine biology for 10 weeks, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5pm, sometimes earlier and sometimes later and sometimes on the weekend and LOVING IT! Each spring marine biology students take up residence at the center for Oregon State University's 15-credit course in marine biology, dividing their time between lectures in the classroom, field study along the coast, and laboratories in one of our wet labs. Students learn to observe, identify, and collect seaweed and invertebrates, trawl for fish aboard the R/V Elakha and muck through the mudflats and estuaries. Follow our students in the class journal blog.

Teaching Marine Biology Writing in the Field: An Interview with Sally Hacker


First- and Second-Year Weekend Experiential Marine Science Courses at HMSCBirding in estuary

Spend a weekend studying the Oregon Coast marine environment while learning about the interdisciplinary nature of marine science. These are introductory courses with an experiential field/lab emphasis designed for 1st and 2nd year undergraduates, non-science and potential science majors.  The "Introduction to Marine Life in the Sea" course is an overnight weekend stay combining lectures, wet labs, and hands-on field experiences to study a number of topics related to the marine environment on the Oregon coast. These topics include: Marine Habitats, Marine Mammals, Sea Birds and Coastal Forests.

Winter Term – Marine Habitats (option of three different weekends 1/25-1/26, 2/8-2/9, 3/7-3/8) – BI 111: CRN 33009/37183/38632

Spring Term – Marine Birds and Mammals - 5/16-5/17 weekend – FW 113: CRN 56798