Physical Oceanography at UNCW

Deployment of mooringThe Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography is a unique department, combining both physics and physical oceanography. Starting Fall 2010 we have begun to offer a Physics B.S. degree option in Physical Oceanography and a Minor in Physical Oceanography. For more information read below and stop by the department. Our faculty also contribute to the Masters in Science in Marine Science.

How is the Physical Oceanography Option Unique?*

The UNCW Physics B.S. degree option in Physical Oceanography is rivaled only by a similar program at the University of Rhode Island; there are no others in North America. The strength of UNCW's marine programs results from a common emphasis on marine science within traditional science departments, along with shared cooperative interdisciplinary activities. The Physics option in physical oceanography combines a sound grasp of physics fundamentals (classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, experimental physics, thermodynamics, and quantum physics) with a working knowledge of the oceanographic domain. This enables students graduating with a major in physics to significantly improve their career potential in the environmental regime.

Requirements: To complete the B.S. degree Option in Physical Oceanography, a student must complete the following coursework:

  • All UNCW basic studies requirements
  • PHY B.S. core requirements: CHM 101, CHM 102, MAT 161, MAT 162, MAT 261, MAT 361, PHY 201, PHY 202, PHY 311, PHY 321, PHY 335, PHY 411, PHY 444, PHY 455, PHY 495
  • PHY Computer Competency requirement: PHY 315
Additional courses with an oceanography emphasis: GLY 150, PHY 350, PHY 475, PHY 477,
PHY 481; plus one of PHY 478, PHY 479, PHY 480

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Physical Oceanography Courses in the Physics Curriculum

PHY 315. Computational Physics and Complexity (3)
PHY 350. Fluid Mechanics (3) 
PHY 477. (577) Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Physical Oceanography (3)  
PHY 478. (578) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (3)
PHY 479. (579) Ocean Circulation Systems (3)
PHY 480. (580) Coastal and Estuarine Systems (3) 
PHY 481. Undergraduate Cruise Experience (1)


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