Certificate of Completion in Marine Option Program (MOP)


The Marine Option Program (MOP) is designed to assist undergraduate and other students interested in marine and freshwater systems. Through MOP you can obtain a marine orientation to your own major while earning an official University of Hawai‘i Certificate, which is registered on your transcript.

MOP emphasizes experiential, cross-disciplinary education and provides opportunities to apply your traditional coursework to the real world while you obtain practical marine skills through a “hands-on” internship, research project or employment. Your campus MOP coodinator can connect you with a wide variety of existing marine skill opportunities which can be adapted to your personal learning and career objectives. Or you can develop your own project from scratch.

MOP is not an employment agency or technician training program. You will not be told what to do every step of the way - some of the learning will be accomplished through your own trial and error. MOP is flexible and to the best of our ability, we will supply guidance, resources, and help when you request them.

Note: this is a system-level certificate of completion that is available at any college and university in the University of Hawaii system.

More information on MOP is available on the MOP webpage.

Total Credits = 12

Required Courses

  • OCN 101 - Introduction to the Marine Option Program (1 credit)
  • either OCN 201 Science of the Sea OR ZOOL 200 Marine Biology

Electives (6 credits required)

Final Project (2 credits)

MOP’s philosophy is that with only classroom and laboratory learning, you leave College incompletely educated about the ocean. Therefore, first-hand experience is central to the Certificate requirements. The MOP seminar (OCN 101, Introduction to the Marine Option Program) is designed to help you choose a topic and develop a written plan or proposal for your project. By enrolling for credit while carrying out the project, it becomes part of your academic record.

The MOP staff will help you survey potential topics, identify an appropriate mentor, prepare your proposal and carry out your project in a timely fashion. You can come into the MOP office with an idea, or you can find a ready-made opportunity by reading Seawords, the MOP newsletter, or by scanning the bulletin board in your campus MOP office. Not all projects fit the academic calendar - this can be accommodated. You may undertake a project alone or with one or more MOP students. The projects can be based on or off campus. Often MOP can provide supplies, equipment or funds to assist with your project. Topics can range from fisheries, marine biology, marine art, and journalism, maritime archaeology, marine education, to marketing surveys for an ecotourism firm. Keep in touch with your MOP Coordinator during the project by submitting periodic progress reports.

Projects are concluded by a final report which may be written, an oral presentation at the annual MOP Student Symposium, a performance, an art show, etc. MOP Coordinators assist students in selecting an appropriate format for the final report and guide students in evaluating their learning.


No more than six credits may be “double counted” between the MOP Certificate and another UH Certificate or
degree. No more than six credits may be from a non-UH institution. The identical project and project report may
not satisfy both the MOP Certificate requirement and the requirement for another Certificate or degree. The MOP
project can be a section or phase of a larger project, for instance, which constitutes a senior thesis, or vice versa.
This relationship should be clearly stated in the project proposal.