Montana State University

ERTH 591-802: Fundamentals of Oceanography

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

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  • Certificate Programs
  • Professional Development
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Feb 01-Apr 22, 2016
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Sean Griffin

Course Description

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 - 13 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 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 desiring graduate credit in Earth Science for professional development purposes, or to count toward MSU's Master of Science in Science Education degree.

Time Commitment:

10-13 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, please see the MSU Online Only Tuition and Fees (PDF) table.

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
  • Life on an Ocean Planet: Laboratory and Activities Manual, 2006.
    Current Publishing Corp. Margarita, CA.
    ISBN 10: 1878663356

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

Computer Requirements:

  • Computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer or Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

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

For More Information

contact Dr. Sean Griffin at or NTEN at (800) 282-6062.

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.

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