Courses & Units

Dynamical Oceanography KSM310


This unit provides an introduction to the geophysical fluid dynamics governing the ocean circulations with emphasis on the large-scale ocean circulation. The unit will give an overview of the structure and dynamics of the major ocean current systems that contribute to the ocean circulation, the transport of heat, salt, and biogeochemical tracers, and the regulation of climate. Topics include the scaling of the governing equations of motion, the shallow-water system, potential vorticity, vorticity and energy budgets, Ekman layer dynamics, the wind-driven gyres and western boundary currents. On completion of this unit, students will have an appreciation of the fundamental physical processes that govern large-scale oceanic motion. They will gain quantitative understanding of the ocean circulation with substantial mathematical analyses and experience in simplified mathematical models of the ocean circulation.


Unit name Dynamical Oceanography
Unit code KSM310
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies
Discipline Oceans and Cryosphere
Coordinator Associate Professor Maxim Nikurashin
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 26/2/2024 22/3/2024 15/4/2024 2/6/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • demonstrate knowledge of concepts and principles used in physical oceanography
  • apply theoretical and practical knowledge of specific areas of physical oceanography to solve problems and design and implement experiments
  • make observations and estimates using experimental laboratory work and computer simulations
  • analyse, interpret, and report results based on lab experiments and computer models

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
010907 $1,118.00 $1,118.00 not applicable $2,596.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.





Teaching Pattern

The unit is delivered in a standard mode (13 weeks). Overall the unit consists of 26 lectures (2 per week) and 7 labs. Labs will be held in some weeks. Refer to the teaching schedule for full details. 

AssessmentLabs|Take-home assignment (30%)|Final exam (70%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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