2.011 | Spring 2006 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Ocean Science and Engineering


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the fundamental aspects of science and engineering necessary for exploring, observing, and utilizing the oceans. Hands-on projects focus on instrumentation in the marine environment and the design of ocean observatories for ocean monitoring and exploration. Topics include acoustics, sound speed and refraction, sounds generated by ships and marine animals, sonar systems and their principles of operation, hydrostatic behavior of floating and submerged bodies geared towards ocean vehicle design, stability of ocean vessels, and the application of instrumentation and electronics in the marine environment. Students work with sensor systems and deploy them in the field to gather and analyze real world data.

The goal of this course is to give each student an introduction to fundamental ocean science, hydrodynamics, acoustics and ocean instrumentation and measurement. This introduction will serve as a spring board for future ocean related coursework and should help students sufficient background to “place” the importance of their future classes in the context of ocean science and engineering and current research trends.


This conference paper describes several teaching innovations embodied in this course:


MIT courses 8.01 and 18.02.


Homework assignments will be distributed weekly. A portion of the assignment will cover material not yet addressed in lecture and will require some independent study (e.g. reading the suggested text). The remainder of the assignment will re-cover and re-emphasize the material covered in lectures. Homework should be a result of individual effort. Homework will be due one week from their date of assignment.


Lab safety and rules must be followed at all times. Lab assignments will include self-directed projects and instructor directed assignments. Laboratory grades will be based on written and oral reports as well as in-class participation and effort. The laboratory staff will be available for help with the assignments where necessary. If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, ask the instructor before using it! Report all emergencies and accidents to the instructor and laboratory head within 12 hours of their occurrence.


There will be two exams during the term. The first exam will be in class, and the second exam will be a take-home exam due one week after its distribution.


Activities Percentages
Laboratories/Projects 40%
Homeworks 20%
Exams 40%


The required text for the course is freely available online.

Stewart, Robert. Introduction to Physical Oceanography. August 2005 version.

Additional reference and supplemental books are listed in the readings section.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Exams with Solutions
Projects with Examples
Problem Sets with Solutions
Online Textbook