Southern Miss to Offer New Undergraduate Hydrography Program This Fall

Southern Miss to Offer New Undergraduate Hydrography Program This Fall

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi will welcome the nation's first class of undergraduates seeking a degree in hydrography when the 2015-16 Fall Semester begins in August.

The University's Department of Marine Science established the four-year Hydrographic Science program at the undergraduate level that meets international standards for hydrographic surveyors. The 124-credit-hour program in Hydrographic Science is an emphasis option for the existing Bachelor of Science degree program in Marine Science at the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences that deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of oceans, seas, coastal areas, lakes and rivers – as well as with the prediction of their evolution, for the primary purpose of safety of navigation and all other marine purposes and activities, including economic development, security and defense, scientific research, and environmental protection.

“Upon graduation from this new program, graduates will have attained education and skills that can be employed in a wide variety of applications in the dynamic marine environment,” said Maxim Van Norden, coordinator of the Hydrographic Science Graduate Program. “Some of these include data acquisition, sensor emplacement and sensor operation including geo-positioning using GPS and underwater acoustic systems, acquiring bathymetric data using multi-beam acoustic technology, other oceanographic sensors, and small-boat operations.”

Van Norden and his colleagues are particularly pleased to announce the new program in conjunction with World Hydrography Day – set for Sunday, June 21. Adopted by the United Nations in 2005, World Hydrography Day is celebrated annually with the aim of giving suitable publicity to its work at all levels and increasing the coverage of hydrographic information on a global basis.

The theme for this year's World Hydrography Day, which also marks the 94th anniversary of the establishment of the International Hydrographic Organization, is: “Our seas and waterways - yet to be fully charted and explored.” The theme concentrates on the fact that much of the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters remain unsurveyed and hopes to raise public awareness that, for example, there are higher resolution maps of the Moon and Mars than for many parts of our seas and coastal waters.

Southern Miss has provided a post-graduate program in hydrographic science since 1999 with 161 students completing degree requirements, including 32 international students from 24 different countries. Another 13 students will earn master's degrees in hydrography next month in a ceremony at Stennis Space Center.

Reports show that vacancies and demands for personnel at sea have made hydrographic surveyors the most wanted profession in the offshore world. The hydrographer is involved with every aspect of ocean data from bathymetric mapping of the ocean floor, managing large marine data sets, exploring for the minerals that lie far beneath, measuring currents, tides and waves, and observing the ocean environment.

“With recognized government and industry needs for an entry level program in hydrographic science, a geographic proximity to Stennis Space Center and its largest concentration of oceanographic scientists in the world, a vibrant Blue Economy in the Gulf Region, and the existing expertise with hydrographic academic programs, USM has initiated this new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program that exists nowhere else in the United States,” said Van Norden.

For more information about the hydrographic science program, visit

Copyright 2015 WDAM. All rights reserved.