NC State
MEAS Undergraduate Updates

As a Marine Sciences major you will take part in NC State’s Freshmen Self Registration Program. You will have access to enroll in courses on June 1.  You will be enrolled in a couple of courses before then.  You should also see courses loaded into your shopping cart to help you enroll quickly, but your schedule will still not be complete.

Most students build a semester schedule with 14 to 18 credit hours of courses. To graduate in four years, you will need to average about 15 hours per semester. More about that is below.  Here is an example of a good schedule for a first semester marine sciences freshman. There is more information below to help answer questions about each category.


Course Credit Hours
MEA 100 Earth System Science 4
COS 100 Science of Change 2
Mathematics 3 or 4
Concentration Dependent Course(s) 4 to 5


When you look at your schedule in the Enrollment Wizard in MyPack Portal, you will see courses in green and blue on your weekly calendar.  Courses in green are the ones that you are officially enrolled in.  Courses in blue are in your Shopping Cart, and you are not enrolled in those yet.  You will need to click Enroll at the bottom of your Shopping Cart to officially enroll in these. 

You should enroll in those now by clicking Enroll at the bottom of the Shopping Cart.

After you have enrolled in the courses in your shopping cart, you should have MEA 100, COS 100, Math, and perhaps a concentration dependent course.  For more information, see below.


How many semester hours should you take?

Taking the right number of semester hours is important for your success.  At first when you look at your schedule, you will say “What am I going to do with the rest of my time?”  That is because high school and college are very different.  In college, we expect that you will spend 2 to 3 hours working on a course outside of class for every hour in class.  That means if you take 15 semester hours of course work, you will be spending 45 to 60 hours during your week on school work.  Some of you may be more efficient in your studying and might be able to take a little bit more.  Some will find 15 hours to be more than you can handle.  In your first semester, try about 15 hours and in later semesters we can add more or take less depending on your experiences.


Earth System Science

Earth System Science (MEA 100) is required of all students in our department.  By June 1, you should be enrolled in a lecture and lab section.  If you are not enrolled, you should enroll in a section that fits your schedule, unless you received a 3 or higher on the AP Environmental Science exam.



You will need to complete an online placement exam before you can enroll in a Chemistry course.  If you completed the exam by May 20, you may have the appropriate Chemistry course on your schedule.  Unless you have AP, IB or Community College credit for these, you must take the chemistry placement exam.

If you do not place into CH 101, you will need to add CH 111 (Preparatory Chemistry) to your schedule.

If you received AP or IB credit for CH 101 and CH 102, you should take CH 201 and CH 202 instead.  If you received credit for CH 101, 102, 201 and 202, let Maggie Puryear know, so she can help find an appropriate substitution for you.

If you are in the Biological Oceanography or Geology concentration, you will take CH 101 in a later semester.  If you placed into CH 111, you must take that this fall or complete the modules this summer to ensure that you can take CH 101 on time in a later semester.



Correct math placement is critical to your success in college.   It is important that you take the online placement exam ASAP.  You cannot enroll in a math course until you have completed the placement exam or your AP Calculus score of 4 or higher has been received by Admissions.

If you completed the placement exam by May 20 or your AP scores have been received, you may be registered for the appropriate math course. Once you have taken the online placement exam, let Maggie Puryear know ASAP if you do not place into MA 141.

For students whose concentration in Marine Science is Meteorology, Geology, Chemistry or Physics, the math course you need to take is MA 141.  If your placement or AP score does not place you into MA 141 or higher, contact Maggie Puryear ASAP to find out your options.

For students whose concentration in Marine Science is Biological Oceanography, you have the option to take MA 131 or MA 141.  We encourage you to take the highest level Calculus course into which you are placed and with which you feel comfortable.  Some upper level elective courses may require that you have taken the MA 141 sequence, so if you have any questions, please let Maggie Puryear know.


Orientation Courses

You should be enrolled in COS 100 Science of Change, which is the orientation to college for students in the College of Sciences.  You are required to take this in the fall.



The freshman English requirement at NC State is a four-hour course, ENG 101.  About half of the new freshmen will take ENG 101 in the fall, the other half in the spring.  To take this course, you will need to complete the online placement survey. If you have ENG 101 on your schedule, please let Maggie Puryear know, so we can determine whether you should take it in the fall or in the spring.


Concentration Courses

These courses will depend on your Marine Science concentration: Biological Oceanography, Geology, Physics, Chemistry or Meteorology.  You may already be enrolled in or have in your shopping cart some of these courses as listed below.

Biological Oceanography: BIO 181 with lab, and a Health & Exercise Studies elective

Geology: MEA 101 and MEA 110

Physics: PY 201

Meteorology: CH 101 and CH 102

Chemistry: CH 101, CH 102, and a Health and Exercise Studies elective


Health and Exercise Studies Courses

If you are in the Chemistry concentration and Biological Oceanography, you may want to take a Health and Exercise Studies course this fall.  All students are required to take 2 Health and Exercise Studies electives (1 credit hour each) by the time you graduate.  One of these must be a HESF 100-level course of your choice.  You may want to go ahead and take this 100-level course in the fall, or you may want to take one of the many 200-level options (HES*, where *=A for Aquatics, *=D for Dance, *=O for Outdoor, etc.)


Other Courses

If you are coming to NC State with a significant number of AP, IB or transfer credits, you may need to substitute one of the above suggestions with another course.  Please see below for a few suggestions.

Foreign Language: Most of you have met the NC State requirement for foreign language proficiency in high school.  The requirement is two years of a foreign language with a C or better average in high school.  If you have not met this, you will need to complete through the second semester (usually FL* 102 where *=S for Spanish, *=F for French, etc.) at NC State.  If you want to continue your foreign language from high school, wait until orientation to sign up.  You can take a placement test to see what course you place into.

Honors and Scholars Courses: If you have been invited to join the Honors or Scholars Program, or both, I strongly urge you to do this!  If you were not invited to join one of these, both of them accept applications from students.  I urge you to consider doing this, also.  For more information, please visit the University Honors and University Scholars Programs website.

Both the Honors and Scholars programs require some seminars and classes.  If you have already been accepted into one of these programs, you should already be registered for either HSS 110 or HON 202, depending on the program.


Credit for AP, IB, and Community College Courses

If you have taken an AP exam or an IB course, you may receive NC State credit for these.  You need to be absolutely sure your scores were sent to the Admissions Office at NC State.  Many times students take AP or IP courses in their sophomore and junior years and do not request this.  You must request this for each year. Only official scores from ETS are accepted.  For more information on NC State placements for AP and IB courses, visit:

AP credit

IB credit

Register for your classes based on what credits you know or expect to get as a result of these courses.

If you have taken courses through a community college or a four-year school for college credit, you must request that an official transcript be sent to the Admissions Office at NC State.  Do this immediately, if you have not already done so.


If you have any questions or concerns along the way, let Maggie Puryear know.