Mea Cook

Williams College,
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


This is an introductory survey of ocean science (geology, physics, chemistry, biology and human impacts).

Course Size:

Course Context:

This is a 100-level class with no prerequisites. Students are ~50% first years, and are a mix of students taking the class to fulfill the science division requirement, and students who are taking it a pure elective. It is the gateway class to the maritime studies program and geoscience department.

Course Goals:

The students will be able to

  • analyze depth data and draw a contour map of seafloor bathymetry.
  • predict the evolution of ocean basins forward and backward in time if given a tectonic map with magnetic lineations.
  • predict the sediment composition of any spot on the seafloor.
  • predict the areas of the ocean with greatest productivity.
  • evaluate the behavior of a seawater component based on calculating its residence time.
  • evaluate the effect on an ecosystem of removing (hunting/overfishing) one member.
  • evaluate the scientific merit of a news story on human impacts on the ocean.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The lab activities reinforce the major learning goals from each section of the class. The students are assessed through the exams.



Syllabus Williams College GEOS104 Oceanography (Acrobat (PDF) 118kB Jun10 13)