Marine Sciences - BS, License Option

The license option (LO) in this curriculum leads toward a license as a deck officer in the United States Merchant Marine. This program retains the basic physical science core of the Marine Sciences curriculum, and adds coursework which prepares the student to sit for the U.S. Coast Guard examination as a Third Mate of any gross tonnage upon oceans, steam, or motor vessels. Students combine a broad base of courses in physical science and mathematics and practical instruction in seamanship and navigation with four oceanography courses. The objective of the program is to provide students with a sound intellectual and educational background to function in a scientifically and technologically advanced society, while also providing the practical hands-on training needed for employment in the maritime industry. Graduates are particularly well qualified to serve on research vessels where an understanding of the scientific purpose of the voyage is required. Students who wish to enter a physical science graduate program will need to take additional course work in science and mathematics. Midshipmen who enroll in and apply to graduate under one of the license option curricula must complete the appropriate license examination for Third Mate or Third Assistant Engineer in order to graduate from Texas A&M University as well as licensing requirements outlined in the program requirements. Certain USCG courses require a minimum grade of C (70%).

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallSemester Credit Hours
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3
GEOL 101
GEOL 102
Principles of Geology
and Principles of Geology Laboratory
MARS 101 Marine Science Matters 2 1
MART 103 Basic Safety and Lifeboatman Training 1 3
MART 201 Vessel Structure and Ship Knowledge 1 3
MATH 151 Engineering Mathematics I 4
 Semester Credit Hours18
OCNG 251 Oceanography 2 3
MARS 252 Introductory Marine Science Laboratory 2 1
MART 115 Seamanship I 1 3
MART 204 Terrestrial Navigation 1 3
MATH 152 Engineering Mathematics II 4
Communication 3
 Semester Credit Hours17
Summer Cruise: select from 4
Deck Sea Training I: Basic Communications, Navigation and Seamanship  
 Semester Credit Hours4
Second Year
CHEM 101
CHEM 111
Fundamentals of Chemistry I
and Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory I
MARS 210 Marine Geography 2 3
MART 202 Ship Stability and Trim 1 3
MART 212 Marine Dry Cargo Operations 1 3
American history 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
CHEM 102
CHEM 112
Fundamentals of Chemistry II
and Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory II
MARS 281 Sophomore Seminar in Marine Sciences 2 1
MART 210 Integrated Navigation I: RADAR/ARPA/ECDIS 1 4
MART 215 Seamanship II 1,3 3
MART 303 Celestial Navigation 1 3
MART 321 Navigation Rules, International and Inland 2
 Semester Credit Hours17
Summer Cruise: select from 4
Deck Sea Training II: Intermediate Communications, Navigation and Seamanship  
Deck Sea Training II – Commercial Internship  
 Semester Credit Hours4
Third Year
MART 310 Integrated Navigation II: Electronic Navigation 1 2
NVSC 200 Naval Science for the Merchant Marine Officer 1 3
PHYS 218 Mechanics 4
POLS 207 State and Local Government 3
Creative arts 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
MARS 303 Computing and Data Display 2 3
MARS 440 Chemical Oceanography 2 3
MART 307 Global Maritime Distress Safety System 1 3
MART 313 Marine Liquid Cargo Operations 1 3
PHYS 208 Electricity and Optics 4
 Semester Credit Hours16
Summer cruise: select from 4
Deck Sea Training III: Advanced Communications, Navigation and Seamanship  
 Semester Credit Hours4
Fourth Year
MARS 325 Introduction to GIS for Marine Sciences 2 3
MARS 410 Physical Oceanography 2 3
MARS 481 Seminar 2 1
MART 208 Maritime Meteorology 3
MART 410 Integrated Navigation III: Bridge Watchstanding 1 2
Language, philosophy and culture 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
MARS 310 Field Methods in Marine Sciences 2 3
MART 498 Maritime Medical Care 1 2
POLS 206 American National Government 3
American history 3
Geological Oceanography Requirement: choose from 3
Geological Oceanography-Plate Tectonics 2,3
or Geological Oceanography-Earth's Climate
 Semester Credit Hours14
 Total Semester Credit Hours140

All electives must be chosen in consultation with, and approved by, the student's academic advisor. Unless courses are specifically listed, see University Core Curriculum at for a listing of course options for Communication; Mathematics; Life and Physical Sciences; Language, Philosophy and Culture; Creative Arts; American History; Government and Political Sciences; and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The 6-hour University Core Curriculum requirement for International and Cultural Diversity may be met with courses used to satisfy other degree requirements.

The total hours may be increased if the student is required to take remedial math, remedial English, foreign language or International and Cultural Diversity courses, or any of the six hour cruise options. The six hour cruise options (NAUT 200, NAUT 300 and NAUT 400 or MARR 200, MARR 300 and MARR 400) do not add any required hours to the degree plan.

This degree requires full participation in the Texas A&M University Maritime Academy Corps of Cadets as a qualified License Option cadet. Refer to the University catalog section for the Texas A&M Maritime Academy for additional information. In addition to the academic requirements outlined here, the cadet must also complete the following requirements to receive the degree:

  • Successfully complete required sea service and minimum training cruise requirements

  • Pass a comprehensive professional examination (either the Third Mate Unlimited- Oceans or Third Assistant Engineering Unlimited) administered by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

  • Successfully complete all competencies required by the International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

Note: STCW competency certifications expire 5 years after completion. If the cadet does not complete the degree within that time period, the cadet will be required to revalidate the expired competency prior to graduation.