Cal Maritime to Add Oceanography Major

For the first time in 17 years, California State University Maritime Academy will add a new major.


Published: August, 2019

For the first time in 17 years, California State University Maritime Academy will add a new major. The Bachelor of Science in oceanography, which comes online in the fall 2020, will hit the ground running with a strong, existing oceanography faculty, an ideal campus location and resources, and a hands-on approach that is the signature of Cal Maritime’s offerings. The academy has offered a marine science minor for more than 40 years.  

Cal Maritime in Vallejo sits on the shores of the San Francisco Estuary, the largest estuary on the West Coast, and offers exceptional access to conduct oceanographic studies in estuarine, coastal and open ocean environments.  

The campus facilities include a protected harbor with deep water dock and a fleet of training vessels that include the 500-foot training ship Golden Bear. The Golden Bear has a global reach, with student training cruises to both the Atlantic and Pacific, and serves as an ocean-going research facility for the management of marine invasive species through ballast water treatment.  

Cal Maritime is a member of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System and hosts an ocean observing shore station. A new, dedicated oceanography research lab opened in Spring 2019.  

“The oceanography major will draw from the long maritime tradition of the academy,” said Cal Maritime President Tom Cropper. “Like all our degree programs, this one emphasizes hands-on experience and workforce-ready skills.”  

This Bachelor of Science degree will contain campus-based coursework in oceanographic and related sciences preparing graduates for careers or graduate school in oceanography, environmental science and policy, climatology and hydrology.  

“Students in this program will benefit from Cal Maritime’s location in the San Francisco Bay Area for vessel-based measurements and research for positions at sea or on shore,” said Cal Maritime Provost Susan Opp.  

“Work has already begun to form partnerships that will provide oceanography students with valuable research and internship experiences,” said Kevin Mandernack, dean of the Cal Maritime School of Letters and Sciences. “This degree program will emphasize the value of natural resources, ocean stewardship and sustainability, and produce graduates that receive the proper training to ensure that our oceans, seas, rivers and lakes are preserved for future generations.”  

The global nature of the maritime sector is central to Cal Maritime’s identity. Oceanography students will gain an appreciation of global perspectives of ocean literacy and stewardship.  

“Our graduates will be prepared to serve as leaders in the development of new ocean science knowledge and the ability to make responsible, evidence-based decisions for managing ocean resources,” said Parker.   

For more information about the new oceanography degree program at Cal Maritime, visit