Undergraduate Programs

Oceanography »


Oceanography is the study of the ocean environment and its inhabitants.  It is an environmental science, an ecosystem science, and an earth science.  Some oceanographers focus on trying to unravel the mysteries of the deep; others try to study and understand the ocean environment so we can make better decisions how to manage it. 

A degree in oceanography gives you a firm foundation in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and math. There’s lots of hands-on training, too.  At HSU, oceanography students participate in ocean cruises aboard research vessels, collecting samples with traditional and state-of-the-art oceanographic equipment.  At the HSU Marine Lab and on campus computer labs students learn how to analyze and interpret their samples and data.  In other courses, they learn how to write up and communicate their work effectively and professionally.  There are frequent opportunities for students to participate in ocean research projects. 

Small class sizes and an engaged faculty ensure that you will get personal attention.  Your oceanography faculty advisor will help you focus your educational objectives and plan your career goals. Prized by employers because of their skills and background, our oceanography students excel in a wide variety of occupations.

» Visit the Oceanography website

Fisheries Biology »

Fisheries Students

Fisheries Biology is the study of the biology, ecology, management, husbandry and production of both marine and freshwater fishes. The HSU Department of Fisheries Biology is uniquely equipped to provide students with in-depth training in all these areas. The department maintains its own on-campus salmon and trout hatchery. Modern on campus facilities also include teaching and research laboratories for the study of fish genetics, pathology, age and growth, and ecology, all of which are supported by in-depth coursework.

The HSU Marine Lab supports a wide range of studies on the biology and ecology of marine fishes, both finfish and shellfish culture, and studies on the early life history stages of marine fishes. A state-of-the-art sea water system at the HSU Marine Lab provides climate controlled unlimited seawater for both teaching labs and research tanks. Our 5,000 gallon public display aquaria offers students the opportunity for training in captive fish husbandry.

Commercial fisheries in the Pacific Northwest are under much scrutiny as a result of long standing fishing pressures and environmental changes. Many students are attracted to Fisheries Biology because of the opportunities available to them to improve both commercial and recreational fishing for the marine and freshwater fishes found in the region. The Department of Fisheries Biology provides real world management experiences and training for those students interested in fish management and restoration.

The unique location of HSU on the northern California coast means that Fisheries Biology students have regular access to rivers, lakes, streams, estuaries, coastal lagoons, beaches, rocky intertidal pools, and the open ocean. The outstanding award-winning faculty and excellent laboratory and field resources mean that 80-90% of the graduates secure fisheries related employment upon graduation.

» Visit the Fisheries website

Marine Biology »


Marine Biology is the study of the organisms that inhabit the ocean—their ecology, behavior, anatomy, physiology, and evolution. The Marine Biology emphasis within the Biology major provides you with a solid grounding in the core principles of biology and related sciences at the introductory level, while allowing you to focus your studies on the amazing diversity of organisms in the marine realm as you move to more advanced courses. The wide variety of local environments, including open ocean, rocky tide pools, sandy beaches, and the extensive mudflats and estuarine environments of Humboldt Bay, provide a rich opportunity for the aspiring marine biologist. The program requirement for a senior project or thesis provides the opportunity for all students to work closely with a faculty member to gain an in-depth engagement with an outstanding problem in marine biology.

Program faculty interests and expertise include marine mammals, invertebrates, plants, and microbes. Many classes take advantage of the HSU Marine Lab for the study of living marine plants and animals. The R.V. Coral Sea is available for field trips to observe pelagic marine mammals. Other opportunities include the Marine Mammal Education and Research Program (MMERP), in which advanced undergraduate can participate in long-term monitoring of local marine mammal populations, and the Minor in Scientific Diving. Many students graduating from the program pursue advanced academic work in the nation's top graduate programs, while others find employment at marine aquaria, as research divers, with environmental consulting firms, or with local, state or federal agencies.

» Visit the Marine Biology website

Dive Program »

Dive students in pool

A series of diver training courses are offered in support of the marine science curricula. These diver training classes provide the systematic and thorough development of requisite technical and open water diver skills. Students progress from basic SCUBA skills, through advanced Certification and then to research Diver Training. Each training class offers a Humboldt State university Diver Certification and a National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) Certification.

» Visit the Dive Program website

Related Programs

Wildlife »


The Department of Wildlife at Humboldt State University comprises a diverse and interactive group of scientists and students whose work focuses on the applied ecology of vertebrates, especially marine birds and mammals. Our educational mission is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate information and solve problems in Wildlife Biology and to enhance their roles as responsible citizens of the earth.

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Geology »


The Geology Department at Humboldt State University provides an outstanding program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our unique location atop the Cascadia subduction zone provides a natural laboratory for the study of neotectonics and surficial processes. Our nationally acclaimed faculty is committed to quality field-oriented instruction and the involvement of students in all aspects of their research programs.

» Visit the Geology website

Environmental Science & Management »

Environmental Science & Management

Access to quality facilities is one key to an outstanding natural resources education. Unlike some larger universities, here at Humboldt ENRS students have plenty of opportunities to apply their classroom learning to real situations. From the Spatial Analysis Lab (GIS and Remote Sensing) to the natural laboratory right outside our front door, HSU students have access to a wide variety of natural resource-based educational and recreational opportunities. An abundance of parks, forests, nature preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries are located nearby to enhance your learning experience.

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Environmental Resources Engineering »

Environmental Resources Engineering

The Environmental Resources Engineering program (ERE) is one of the largest, oldest, and most respected ABET-accredited undergraduate environmental engineering programs. Our mission is to prepare engineers to solve complex environmental resources problems. The ERE program strives to educate leaders who will sustain, restore and protect our natural resources and the environment.

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