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Earth and Ocean Sciences

Earth and ocean sciences is the study of earth’s natural systems. In this program you’ll gain a scientific understanding of the solid earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere. You'll also study climate change and other human impacts on the environment.

Potential careers

What can you do with an earth and ocean sciences degree? Here are a few jobs and fields that relate to the program:

  • oceanographer
  • geologist
  • aquatic scientist
  • atmospheric scientist
  • renewable energy scientist
  • hydrologist or hydrogeologist 
  • petroleum geology
  • mineral and energy exploration
  • fisheries professional
  • lab technician
  • geochemist
  • environmental consultant
  • aquaculture
  • marine researcher
  • geophysicist

Some of these roles may require post-graduate studies or training. 

Find a career that fits you

Experience & connections

Opportunities in the earth and ocean sciences program

  • With the Co-op Program you can alternate study with paid work. 

Opportunities outside your program

  • With a work study position you can develop skills during your study term.
  • Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community while you build skills.

Networks you can connect to

Here are a few professional associations related to earth and ocean sciences:

Hands-on learning opportunities

These courses in the earth and ocean sciences program offer extensive hands-on learning.


Co-op work terms
Alternate academic study with paid work terms to gain workplace experience


EOS 311 - Biological Oceanography
Analyze samples collected during a marine cruise and prepare a report

Field experience

EOS 460 - Earth System Science
Write, present and defend a research proposal for your peers

EOS 201 - Sedimentary Geology
Examine sedimentary rocks on the Gulf Islands

EOS 202 - Structural Geology
Study the structure of southern Vancouver Island

EOS 300 - Earth Science Field School
Learn geological field mapping techniques on Vancouver Island

EOS 311 - Biological Oceanography
Collect biological data during a research cruise in Saanich Inlet

EOS 312 - Introductory Chemical Oceanography
Study chemical oceanography during an ocean-going research cruise

EOS 313 - Introductory Geological Oceanography
Examine rocks near Victoria that record the evolution of the oceans

EOS 314 - Descriptive Physical Oceanography
Study the physics of the ocean on a research cruise

EOS 316 - Igneous and Metamorphic Geology
Examine igneous and metamorphic rocks along southern Vancouver Island

EOS 330 - Paleobiology
Explore southern Vancouver Island for fossil-bearing sedimentary sequences

EOS 400 - Advanced Field Geology
(potentially an international experience)
Participate in a 10- to 12-day advanced geology field trip in BC or abroad

EOS 420 - Resource Geology
Explore economic ore deposits in BC

EOS 450 - Quaternary Geology
Examine the glacial geology exposed in the northwestern United States

Field school

EOS 401 - Oceanographic Field School
Attend a field school at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre


EOS 492 - Advanced Laboratory Topics in Earth and Ocean Sciences
Examine a topic in a lab setting

Research project

EOS 490 - Directed Studies in Earth and Ocean Sciences
Complete an independent research project

EOS 499A - Honours Thesis I
Begin a graduating honours thesis under the direction of a faculty member

EOS 499B - Honours Thesis II
Research, write and orally defend a graduating honours thesis

Work experience

Work experience work terms
Take part in a modified co-op program requiring one or two work experiences

These courses are not always offered as described.

What you'll learn

Every student at UVic builds skills all employers look for. At UVic Co-op & Career we call these  "competencies". This is what you’ll learn in the earth and ocean sciences program.

Earth and ocean sciences

  • oceans and atmosphere and the dynamic processes that drive ocean and atmosphere circulation, weather patterns and global climate change
  • the internal and external processes that shape the earth and its landscapes
  • the nature of tectonic forces, earthquakes and volcanoes
  • rocks and minerals and mountain building
  • the physical, chemical and biological nature of sediments at sea and on the land
  • geometric, kinematic and dynamic analysis of deformation structures in rock bodies
  • mineralogy and optical mineralogy
  • study natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, landslides, flooding, extreme weather and meteor impacts
  • the scientific basis of topics and issues affecting the world’s oceans
  • use earth science to explore areas such as geoscience, geophysics, ocean-atmosphere, geochemistry, life on earth or ocean science

Scientific method

  • gather evidence through observation and experimentation
  • analyze data, define a research problem and predict the outcome
  • use inductive reasoning and deductive methods to form testable, falsifiable hypothesis
  • design an approach or experiment to test and evaluate hypotheses
  • observe and record the results of research
  • analyze results using chemistry knowledge and mathematical techniques
  • draw conclusions
  • communicate the results and identify the need to conduct further research

Computer skills

  • create and modify scientific software
  • use science software
  • develop and use computer modeling as a proxy for physical experiments
  • develop and use computational methods to analyze large data sets

Field work

  • observe behaviour or properties of subjects or phenomena
  • measure subjects or phenomena or their environment
  • identify and collect samples for analysis
  • use field equipment, tools and machinery

Lab work

  • take accurate measurements
  • follow the methods and techniques relevant to chemistry
  • develop and optimize methods and techniques
  • analyze, make, purify, modify and characterize compounds, samples or devices
  • use, maintain and troubleshoot lab instruments
  • troubleshoot procedures
  • use safe and careful practices

Education and training

  • teach science at a level appropriate to the audience
  • assess achievement of learning outcomes
  • train and supervise others to perform scientific or lab procedures

What's next?

To explore more visit the earth and ocean sciences site. For degree planning contact your adviser for help.