Academic Catalogs

Aquarium Science, Certificate of Achievement

Banner Code: 1_CM_AQUA

Control Number: 37713

Not Financial Aid Eligible

Aquarium Science is an applied, interdisciplinary science that combines aspects of animal husbandry, community ecology, water chemistry, system design and construction, critical thinking, problem-solving, and group management. This certificate is designed to prepare students interested in gaining experience with aquarium systems and living organism care for a variety of potential future goals. These goals may include working for zoo and aquarium facilities, local aquarium retailers, wholesale supply companies, private maintenance companies, as part of a hands-on experience for an advanced degree in Marine Sciences, organizations/agencies working on water filtration and water quality, stock restoration and conservation projects, research involving keeping aquatic living organisms, and/or the recreational hobby of aquarium-keeping. Students will gain a wide variety of hands-on experience in a number of different skills working in one of the largest and most diverse student-run aquariums in the region.

Program Outcomes

  1. Describe how a properly designed aquarium environment (habitat, water parameters, filtration components, and microbial populations) influences the health of aquatic organisms.
  2. Identify commonly kept aquatic organisms and explain what critical aspects of their anatomy, physiology and life history a well-trained aquarist must know to be successful with their growth and potential reproduction.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to design, set-up, operate, maintain and trouble-shoot aquarium life support equipment including biological filtration, mechanical filtration, chemical filtration, centrifugal pumps, and quarantine life support systems.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to manage aquarium facilities including preparation of equipment and supply ordering lists, proper documentation, and restocking of facility.

Certificate of Achievement Requirements

The Certificate of Achievement is a state-approved career program that requires a minimum of eight units and is designed to prepare the graduate to enter a particular field of employment.  In order to be awarded a certificate, students are required to obtain a grade of “C” or better in all program-required courses. Grades of “CR” or “P” will be accepted whereas “CR” or “P” meets the equivalency of a “C” or better.  At least 3 units in an advanced course from the certificate must be completed at OCC at the department’s discretion.  Certificates of Achievement are not automatically awarded.  A petition must be filed in Enrollment Services or online at the beginning of the semester in which the student will be completing their final requirements.  The petitioning periods are listed in the Graduation Requirements section of this catalog.  Check with a counselor to determine the requirements for completion.

A list of certificate programs can be found in the Programs A-Z section of this catalog.  

Course Title Units
Required Courses
MRSC A120Marine Aquarium Science1.5
MRSC A130Husbandry of Aquatic Organisms 11
MRSC A140Aquarium Life Support Operation and Maintenance1
MRSC A180Marine Biology3
MRSC A180LMarine Biology Lab1
MRSC A220Practical Experience in Aquarium Science and Management 12
MRSC A221Practical Experience in Aquarium Science and Management 22
Total Units11.5

Program Sequence

These sequences at Orange Coast College are curriculum maps for students to finish all requirements for the certificate. There may be advisories, prerequisites, or time requirements that students need to consider before following these maps. Students are advised to meet with an Orange Coast College Counselor for alternate sequencing.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Semester 1Units
MRSC A120 Marine Aquarium Science 1.5
MRSC A180 Marine Biology 3
MRSC A180L Marine Biology Lab 1
Semester 2
MRSC A140 Aquarium Life Support Operation and Maintenance 1
MRSC A220 Practical Experience in Aquarium Science and Management 1 2
Year 2
Semester 1
MRSC A130 Husbandry of Aquatic Organisms 1 1
MRSC A221 Practical Experience in Aquarium Science and Management 2 2
 Total Units11.5