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.

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.

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • Are 18 years of age or older, or
  • Have earned a U.S. high school diploma, GED or equivalency

International Student requirements and information

Submit an application if you are:

  • Not currently enrolled at any of the UH system campuses
  • A first-time college student
  • A returning student (a person who previously attended but is not currently enrolled at any other UH campus)
  • A transfer student (a person who is currently or was previously enrolled at a non-UH institution)
  • Transfer Credit Search - UH System Course Transfer Database
  • An Early Admit or Running Start student (a junior or senior high school student admitted under the Early Admission or Running Start program)
Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
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- Resident $126 per credit, Non-resident $340 per credit
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