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 Associate of Arts (Option A)


Oceanography is an earth science devoted exclusively to studying and preserving the ocean. Oceanography includes exploration of the geological structure of the ocean floor; the chemical composition and properties of seawater and pollutants; the physical study of waves, tides and currents; and biological research of the innumerable forms of life within the oceans.

At TCC you can earn an Associates of Arts degree that will prepare you to transfer to a four institution and pursue a Bachelor’s in Oceanography.  TCC has designed its program specifically to allow student to transfer to the University of Washington School of Oceanography.

 For more information about planning your studies, see the guided path tabs lower on this page.

Any Other Questions?

Contact one of our academic advisors to help design your path to accomplish an Associate of Arts degree to transfer in this field.

Ralph Hitz, Instructor and Faculty Advisor


Associate of Arts - Oceanography Path

Your guided path toward earning your degree 

Degree Program
Career Options


While in high school, students should pursue all available courses in math, chemistry, biology, physics, and earth science.  Once at TCC, students can take many of the supporting sciences that transfer institutions require for their oceanography degrees.  Students can also take a variety of TCC earth science classes to introduce them to the different facets of the field and explore what type of oceanography they want to pursue.

There are not many institutions across the country that offer oceanography degrees.  In Washington there is only one: the University of Washington, Seattle.  The advice about which degree to pursue, found under the Degree Programs tab, aligns with the recommendations from the UWS School of Oceanography.  Oceanography programs that are out of state may have degree requirements that differ significantly from UW-S.


A Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) degree from TCC, such as the pathway described below, is a great way to start your oceanography education.  Upon transfer to UW-S, all 90 credits of your TCC degree are applied towards your bachelor’s degree.  If you decide to delay transfer, or not transfer, then you still have an associate’s degree with a strong science record on your transcript.

Associate of Arts, DTA

This is a great choice to prepare yourself for transfer to the UW-S School of Oceanography.  The AA degree ensures that, upon transfer to DTA-participating Washington schools, all of your general education requirements for your bachelor’s degree are met, and you transfer with junior standing, ready to jump into your major.  To follow this path, consult the AA description in the TCC catalog and make sure to complete the classes listed below as you pursue the degree requirements.  Be aware of the following caveat: the UW-S School of Oceanography allows for considerable flexibility in their degree requirements depending on whether a student pursues a Bachelor of Science degree with a life sciences emphasis, a BS degree with a physical sciences emphasis, or a Bachelor of Arts degree.  The courses listed below represent a generalized scenario that will best position a student to pursue any of the degrees the UW-S offers in this field with minimal extraneous courses or deficits in coursework after transfer.  Students are urged to visit the UWS School of Oceanography undergraduate education website and read about the different bachelor’s degrees that the School of Oceanography offers.  Academic plans at TCC can be tailored to the individual needs of each student while still adhering to the requirements for the AA DTA degree.  In rare cases, TCC offers an Associate of Science degree that might provide the best fit for an aspiring oceanography student.  See the oceanography advisor, Ralph Hitz, for help with your academic plan at TCC.

MATH& 151, 152
CHEM& 161, 162
PHYS& 221
BIOL& 221, 222
GEOL& 101
OCEA& 101
(recommended- GEOG 205)

AA-DTA Oceanography Worksheet  AA-DTA Oceanography Worksheet
2020-21 Distribution List 



With a degree in Oceanography, you have many career options:

  • Geophysicist
  • Physical and chemical oceanographer
  • Marine biologist
  • Marine and ocean engineer
  • Marine archaeologist
  • Marine policy expert


Earn your bachelor's degree

TCC’s designed Oceanography path prepares students to transfer to the University of Washington School of Oceanography.

Fascinated with other earth science programs at TCC? We offer several more degrees. 


Environmental Science

Associate of Science - Specialization in Environmental Science

Environmental science is the study of the interaction of humans and the physical and biological systems of the earth, and the dependence on natural resources by humans.  At TCC, you can earn an Associate in Science with Specialization in Environmental Science. Upon completion of this program, you will be prepared to transfer to a four-year institution.


Associate of Science - Specialization in Earth Sciences

Associate of Arts (Option A)

Study the materials and processes of the earth. Students can earn this degree to transfer to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree.

See All Degrees & Programs
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