• Length:
    5 Weeks
  • Effort:
    1–2 hours per week
  • Price:

    Add a Verified Certificate for $49.99 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
  • Language:
  • Video Transcript:
  • Course Type:
    Self-paced on your time

About this course

Skip About this course

In the Sant Ocean Hall at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, our goal is to teach the public that that the ocean is a global system essential to all life on our planet, including yours. In this course, we will explore the ocean from the coast to the deep sea, and from our planet’s beginnings to its function today. Though this course, you will discover why we truly live on an “ocean planet,” as well as your role in our shared responsibility to protect our global ocean and all of the life it supports.


This short course was developed by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History educators and reviewed by scientists at the Smithsonian and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The basics of oceanography - including currents, circulation, abiotic conditions, ecosystems, and zonation
  • An introduction to paleoceanography and the evolutionary history of marine life
  • An overview of marine biodiversity – including marine species, classification systems, and how biodiversity is represented in museum collections
  • Examples of how humans are impacting the health of the ocean and steps being taken to address these impacts

Meet your instructors

National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain
$49.99 USD

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    edX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally