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Ocean 444 Senior Theses Collection

Course: Ocean 443/444: Design of Oceanographic Field Experiments & Advanced Field Oceanography

Dr. Richard KeilOceanography 444

Louise Richards, Fisheries & Oceanography Librarian


UW School of Oceanography students are actively engaged in fieldwork and experiential learning. As part of Ocean 443 & 444, the 2-quarter capstone course for Oceanography majors, seniors design their own research projects and then carry them out during a week-long cruise aboard an ocean vessel, the R/V Thompson. Past locations have included the Galapagos Islands; Glacier Bay, Alaska; Kermadec volcanic arc, New Zealand; and in 2012, the eastern tropical north Pacific off of the coast of Mexico. After the cruise, students analyze their data and write a scientific research paper with their findings. They also present their findings in a 2-day Research Symposium.

Impressed by the diversity and quality of research papers, Louise Richards proposed to Oceanography faculty that students be encouraged  to submit their papers into ResearchWorks, a digital repository for works produced by UW faculty and researchers. It is now a course requirement that students deposit their theses into ResearchWorks. Since 2006, Louise has deposited about 100 theses into the Ocean 444 Senior Theses Collection.


Not only are Ocean 444 students conducting research and creating new knowledge, but the digital collection provides another opportunity for students to disseminate new knowledge, which can lead “to sharing new understandings, solutions and perspectives in a purposeful and ethical way” (University Libraries).

Oceanography faculty note that other scientists, agencies, and consultants outside the University are particularly interested in the research undertaken by the students in Ocean 444.  Faculty also know that potential employers access student theses during the hiring process. Inclusion in the ResearchWorks helps ensure that each student’s “thesis lives longer than the 20 weeks of the class” (Oceanography Senior Thesis Guidebook, 2012, p. 16).

Course Materials:

Ocean 444 Cruise Blog 2012

Ocean 444 Senior Theses Collection