Sep 14-Dec 11, 2015
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $990.65 NSTA members 10% discount
Instructor(s): Thomas McMahon

Register Online

Course Description

The course is designed for students to gain a broad understanding of structure and function of the world's marine ecosystems and a broader knowledge of the major conservation issues in the oceans including climate change, overfishing, coral reef loss, and ocean acidification. The course will integrate in-depth studies of each of the major marine ecosystems with reading and discussion of major conservation issues. The textbook will be used to lay the foundation of understanding of the major ecosystems and conservation issues but students will also be required to utilize other materials from various resources, including scientific articles, "popular" books, and online videos. Students will develop and share lesson plans using case studies for implementation of course concepts into middle school or high school science classes.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week spending 9 - 12 hours each week, either online or offline, working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Thomas McMahon, PhD.


Teachers must hold at least a Bachelor's degree in science or science education with undergraduate coursework in biology and/or ecology; teachers must have at least two years of teaching experience or instructor approval for admission to the course.

Target Audience

The course is intended for teachers enrolled in the Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree program and other teachers with a minimum of two years teaching experience.

Time Commitment:

9-12 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $105.50
 Computer Fee$10.65
 Distributed Learning Fee$75.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

NSTA Members are eligible to receive a 10% discount on tuition. Enter your NSTA Membership Number when you are asked for it on the registration form.

Required Books/Materials

  • Atlas of the Oceans: an Ecological Survey of Underwater Life by John Farndon, Yale Press (2011).

You can order the text through the Montana State University Bookstore at 1-888-247-2546. Ask to speak with the Textbook Department. It will expedite your order if you tell the sales representative:

  • the course number (BIOL 591)
  • the title of the text
  • that the course is offered online through Extended University

  • The text may also be available from other sources.

    Computer Requirements:

    • Internet access
    • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

    This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

    For More Information

    contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

    How to Register

    Register Online