Jan 25-Apr 16, 2021
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Sean Griffin

Course Description

Registration begins on October 26th - register for CRN 34156.
Fundamentals of Oceanography offers an introduction to the physical, biological, chemical and geological processes of the ocean and its ecosystems. Teachers will learn about the complex interactions between these properties, their influence on terrestrial ecosystems and the impacts humans have on these processes. Exciting laboratory exercises can be adapted to be offered at any grade level.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers log into the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 10 - 12 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this fast paced 3 credit graduate course.


Sean Griffin, PhD.
As a Professor of Oceanography, Dr. Griffin has designed and offered a variety of marine science courses and curriculum at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels. He works in Puerto Rico as a Coral Reef Restoration Ecologist for the NOAA Restoration Center and has extensive sailing experience on everything from small sailboats to tallships.


Bachelor's degree and teacher certification with one year of teaching experience; college level ecology course and some familiarity with using technology in the classroom.

Target Audience

7 to 12 grade teachers seeking graduate credit in Earth Science, NTEN Certificate students, or MSU's Master of Science in Science Education students.

Time Commitment:

10-12 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

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

  • Go to the Student Accounts page.
  • On the left navigation bar, click "Tuition & Fee Charts--Current & Historical."
  • Then click "Online Programs Only."
  • Click the link appropriate to your semester and status as a student.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

In addition, teachers are on their own to purchase the texts listed below.

Required Books/Materials

  • An Introduction to the World’s Oceans, 10th edition (2009)
    Keith A Sverdrup and Virginia Armbrust,
    McGraw- Hill Higher Education
    ISBN 10: 0073376701
    Very expensive new, or for much less used through There are also options to rent the text for a reasonable cost.
  • Life on an Ocean Planet: Laboratory and Activities Manual
    Current Publishing Corp. Margarita, CA.
    ISBN 10: 1878663356
    Approximately $10 - $15 thru

Teachers are on their own to pick up copies of the texts before the course begins.

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

about the course content contact Dr. Sean Griffin at, or NTEN/MSSE at for questions about registration policies and other administrative details.

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.