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Introduction to Physical Oceanography
Course Syllabus for Fall 2008

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Room 203 O&M Building (Oceanography and Meteorology/Eller Building)

Instructor: Robert Stewart
Office & Telephone: 624 O&M, 845-2995
Office Hours: Any day before 9:00 AM or after 2:00 PM


I expect you to come to class prepared to be actively involved in class discussions. I will post on the Class Schedule the material that will be discussed in class. Before class I expect that you will:

  1. Read the chapter to be discussed in that class session; and
  2. Be prepared to discuss in class the material in the chapter.


The course requires you to know some physics and differential equations. Thus the prerequisites for the course are MATH 308 Differential Equations and PHYS 218 Mechanics or equivalent courses, or you may enroll with permission of the instructor if you have not met the prerequisites.


I will use my own textbook. The readily available commercial textbooks are now many years out of date, and the new book provides more information. It is being widely used to teach physical oceanography throughout the world, and it is being translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. Class notes will be for sale at cost of reproduction through Kinko's at 509 University, College Station. Cost is approximately $21. I don't make any money on the sale of the text.


There will be nine homework assignments. There is a penalty for late assignments as stated on the assignment. I encourage you to work in teams of up to four students to do the assignments. By working in teams you will benefit from expertise of other team members. If you work as a team, each team member must sign the homework assignment.

Quizzes and Final Exam

Quizzes will test your ability to think critically about issues discussed in class and included in the homework assignments.

  1. I will give two quizzes and an optional third quiz.
  2. All quizzes will be open book. You may consult books, notes, and class problems during the quizzes.
  3. If you do very poorly on any question in the first two quizzes, you may redo the question to improve your score for that question. Any question scored below 70% can be redone to receive a 70% score, up to a total score of 75% for the quiz.
  4. Schedule:
    • Quiz 1: September 22, 2008
    • Quiz 2: October 20, 2008
    • Quiz 3: Optional- November 26, 2008
  5. There will be no final exam.


  1. Each quiz is one-third of the final grade.
  2. Homework is one third of the final grade.
  3. The optional third quiz is worth one-third of your final grade. You may substitute your score on this quiz for your average homework score, or for one of your other quiz scores.
  4. I reserve the right to make small adjustments to the overall distribution of grades (curving).

Academic Dishonesty

It is the responsibility of students and instructors to help maintain scholastic integrity at the university by refusing to participate in or tolerate scholastic dishonesty. Every act of academic dishonesty deflates the value of the TAMU degree you hope to receive. All cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Aggie Honor System Office, handled according to their guidelines. The report may result in disciplinary action. If you are reported twice, you will most likely be dismissed from the University.

Examples of scholastic dishonesty include: 1) acquiring answers for any assigned work or examination from any unauthorized source, 2) observing the work of other students during any examination, 3) providing answers for any assigned work or examination when not specifically authorized to do so, 4) failing to credit sources used in a work product in an attempt to pass off the work as ones's own, 5) attempting to receive credit for work performed by another, including papers obtained in whole or in part from individuals or other sources, and 6) fabrication of information. For more information, see TAMU Student Rules, Part 1 on Academic Dishonesty, and the library's web site on plagiarism complete with definitions and examples.

Know the Aggie Code of Honor. "An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do."


Texas A&M does not discriminate on the basis of an individual's disability and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its admissions, accessibility, treatment, and employment practices. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities in Room B118 of Cain Hall. The phone number is 845-1637.

Revised on: 19 August, 2008

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