Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Courses and Certifications

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.  The aquarium science courses at Orange Coast College provide hands-on training in each of these practical aspects of aquarium keeping.

Aquarium Science Courses

Please see the Course Catalog for official descriptions.

  • Marine Aquarium Science (MRSC A120): This course is a survey of basic aquarium science and is designed for students with little to no experience with aquariums. All students get the opportunity to work in the OCC Public Aquarium to help take care of the organisms and maintain the systems.
  • Husbandry of Aquatic Organisms (MRSC A130): This course focuses on husbandry techniques to care for a variety of aquatic organisms.
  • Aquarium Life Support Operations & Maintenance (MRSC A140): This course focuses on various life support equipment used in aquarium systems and teaches students how to properly maintain them.
  • Marine Biology (MRSC A180): This course is a general marine science course required for all students looking to complete an AS degree in Marine Science and is not aquarium specific. It focuses on the diversity of marine life found in the ocean, the characteristics of different marine organisms, and how they collectively compose various marine communities. 
  • Marine Biology Lab (MRSC A180L): Hands-on lab course designed to complement the marine biology lecture course.
  • Practical Experience in Aquarium Science & Management I, II, III, IV (MRSC A220, A221, A222, A223): This series of four courses are designed to introduce students to the complexity of managing an aquarium facility. Students will take on increasing responsibility as they progress through the series.


Certificate of Achievement: Aquarium Sciences 

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. 

For additional details about the courses or certificate program, please contact Robert Ellis at