Marine Science (Hydrography) B.S.

Hydro students generating 3D maps of seabed using multi beam sonar.

About this Bachelor’s Degree

Traditionally, the hydrographer has been associated with making the sea charts that allow ships to navigate the world in safety. This is still an important role but, as a science and profession, hydrographic surveying has developed into a multi-disciplinary occupation. The hydrographer is involved with every aspect of ocean data from bathymetric mapping of the ocean floor, managing large marine data sets, exploring for the minerals that lie far beneath, measuring currents, tides and waves, and observing the ocean environment. Activities where hydrographers are involved are: charting the seas and oceans, offshore engineering and construction, harbors and coastal engineering operations, operating and positioning oceanographic sensors, optimal routing of trans-oceanic telecommunication cables, marine GIS and exploring for oil and gas. Hydro International reports that vacancies and demands for personnel at sea have made hydrographic surveyors the most wanted profession in the offshore world. 
For such a critical profession to our economy and national defense, only Southern Miss at its Gulf Coast campus has an undergraduate degree program for hydrographic science in North America. The degree program is for the B.S. in Marine Science (Hydrography) and was designed to meet educational and knowledge standards of the International Board for Federation Internationale des Geometres (FIG), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and International Cartographic Association (ICA), and the educational standards of the International Marine Contractor Association (IMCA) for hydrographic surveyors.
The program of study consists of 24 credit hours of General Education Curriculum elective courses, 41 - 43 credit hours of prerequisites in mathematics and science, 32 credit hours of required courses in marine science, and 27 credit hours of required courses in hydrographic science for a total of 124 – 126 credit hours.

Student Learning Outcomes/ Program Objectives

  • Broad-based Knowledge: Students will acquire a broad-based knowledge of the marine sciences, including an understanding of: 1) The critical role oceans play in influencing global/regional climate and weather; 2) The sensitivity of ocean ecosystems to changes from both natural and human causes; 3) The impacts on our coasts and coastal oceans resulting from changes in weather, sea level, and ecosystem dynamics; 4) The risks and hazards associated with a dynamic ocean; 5) The complex interplay of biological, chemical, geological and physical aspects of the ocean; 6) The collection, processing, and analysis of marine science data; and 7) Contemporary views of major marine science topics.
  • Understanding of the Scientific Process: Students will develop an understanding of the dynamic processes of scientific inquiry in general and specific to the marine environment.
  • Technical Skills: Student will demonstrate technical skills consistent with the standards of competency for hydrographic science as published in the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) publication S-5, “Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors”.
  • Written and Oral Communication Skills: Students will receive highly-effective skills training in the written and oral communication of scientific information.
  • Employment and/or Graduate Studies: Students will gain content knowledge of hydrographic science that enables them to obtain employment consistent with their interest in hydrographic science, and/or pursue professional school/graduate education, or be satisfied that the degree has met their personal objectives.





Marine Science (Hydrography) B.S. Degree Requirements


Marine Science (Hydrography) B.S. Semester-by-semester Guide