Course at a glance


This diploma is designed for those who have a keen interest in sea life and animals or those who are interested more about oceanography. As we already know oceanography is also often known as Marine science, and is the study of the world’s oceans and the processes within it. The world is made up of 70% of the Earth’s surface so we start by looking at how they are divided into oceans and the seas. Do you know the difference? We look at how oceans formed, have changed, their geology, biology, its make-up, impact on climate, tides and waves, their history and geological past. Little was known of the oceans except of the currents and topmost few kilometres before the 19th century.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will gain knowledge in Oceanography
  • Students will explore the different types of Oceanography such as physical, Geological and Operational and more.
  • You will discover the names and locations of the oceans and seas.
  • At the end of the course you will have a great understanding of the variations of Oceanography.

This course consists of Ten Units and is a qualification awarded by Oxford Learning College, in its own right; with the quality assurance of a leading awarding body (CIE Global) that hallmarks this professional qualification.

Assessment Objectives (AO)

AO: 1

Students must select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct language and terminology appropriate to the course of study. This assessment, involves two written assignments: one halfway through the course and following the final unit. Both are assessed and graded by the assigned tutor, according to college procedures. The grading procedure if Pass or Fail. If you Fail an assessment you have the opportunity to amend where your tutor has highlighted and resubmit.

AO: 2

Students must critically evaluate and justify a point of view through the use of evidence and reasoned argument. Students can include evidence in different formats to support their written work such as documentation or images to support their course remembering Confidentiality and Data Protection.

Quality of Written Communication (QWC)

In addition, OLC require students’ to produce written material in English, candidates must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPG) are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to studying a complex subject matter; organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate and Harvard referencing of citation and sources. In this Specification, SPG will be assessed in all tutor marked assignments (TMAs)

To ensure that we maintain quality standards; all our students written assignments are subject to our plagiarism policy and procedure.

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Course Content

The whole level three diploma has TEN specific units of study, which are sub-divided into topic areas these are:

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 1: Introduction to the Oceans and Oceanography

The first unit introduces Oceanography and how it provides a foundation for the rest of the course. It starts by discussing the interdisciplinary nature of oceanography from a Biological, Chemical, Geological and Physical perspective. It involves mathematics and many calculations, such as the speed and direction of currents, routine measurements of the movement of the seas, oceans and atmosphere.

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 2: Maths for Oceanography

The unit will discover the mathematical side of Oceanography. You will learn how to collect data and interpret it correctly to make accurate (as possible!) predictions about the impact on e.g. our climate, a thorough grounding in basic mathematical skills is required. This section appears early in the course so that as you study the remaining modules you will have the mathematical skills needed to help in your studies.

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 3: The Ocean Basins

The unit looks first looks at how the earth was formed in its present structure – its separation into continents and the seas. We then look at the specific 5 main ocean basins in detail. How did they stretch out from the continental masses through plate tectonics, and how exactly did the basins form, move and get characteristically shaped (Bathymetry), e.g. Iceland was shaped by submarine volcanoes.

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 4: Properties of Seawater

This unit looks at other major component of the sea, the basins are full of sea water. The topography of the oceans affects the sea water, its structure, composition, and therefore it’s Biology – what lives within the internal environment and how it is sustained, and how light and sound travel through it. Within this unit you will gain knowledge of:

  • Chemistry Terminology
  • Properties of water
  • Variation between oceans
  • Chemical composition of seawater
  • Sonar
  • Light

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 5: Currents and Circulation

In this unit you will be looking at how the world moves to create different types of currents and resulting climates, including extreme weather conditions. This is crucial to human life as its affects all aspects of our life from our weather (winds and atmospheric pressure), the seasons, and climate change and the impact on the lands it meets. You will review the following:

  • Types of currents
  • Effects of climate
  • Measurements of climates
  • Energy production

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 6: Waves and Tides

Your last unit will learn about the classification of waves and what causes tides, and their relevance to the marine environment and ecosystem. You will review:

  • The classification of deep-water and shallow-water waves
  • What causes the different types of tides
  • The principles of sediment transport and deposition
  • How tides and waves shape the shores
  • How tides and waves can provide an energy source

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 7: The Oceans and Climate

This unit explains in greater depth the ways in which the oceans (and the specific properties of water) are linked to weather patterns and climate. Discussion about the theories of how climate might change in our future, and related issues such as how human influence may cause possible climate disasters. You will review the following:

  • The Property of water and how it affects climate
  • The Effect of the Oceans on Winds
  • The Effect of the Currents on Climate
  • The Possible Effects of Global Warming
  • Control of Global Climate Change
  • Methods of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Levels
  • Strategies to Cope with Climate Change

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 8: Palaeoceanography

Students learn how rocks, fossils, oil and gas are formed. This unit examines how we can use the oceans to find out about the history of the Earth. The following topics are considered:

  • Why study Palaeoceanography
  • Sediment formation
  • Extraction of Sediments
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • Oil and gas formation
  • Geological timescales
  • Plate Tectonics
  • How the Earth has changed
  • How life evolved
  • Classification of species

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 9: Biological Oceanography

Unit nine looks at how humans depend on, effect and are effected by the marine environment, e.g. we fish the oceans for food, we pollute it with oil spills and this impacts upon the ecosystem. There may be many species yet undiscovered. This module will cover the following topics:

  • Chemical cycles within the ocean
  • Geothermal vents
  • Undiscovered species
  • Humans dependence on the oceans
  • Oil and Gas Extraction

Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma Unit 10: Careers in Oceanography

Careers can involve conducting research, exploring the effects of pollution or marine engineering, investigating climate change, monitoring the oceans for evidence of impact of human activity. This final unit will help you develop your skills in Oceanography and begin to plan a career using these new scientific skills. This unit covers the following topics:

  • Development of Marine Careers
  • The Ocean as an energy source
  • Commerce
  • Telecommunication Cables
  • Ocean Mining
  • Career in Oceanography
  • The Different branches of Oceanography
  • Maritime law
  • Employment in related fields
  • Routes into Studying Oceanography
  • Assessing your skills and abilities
  • Career planning and opportunities
  • Employment opportunities


This Accredited level 3 Oceanography Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.