Marine acoustics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course shall give a general introduction to the fundamental principles of marine acoustics, with emphasis on physical mechanisms, laws, relationships, and methods. The course shall provide an understanding of central basic methods and problems relevant for the use of sound in marine environments.



The course introduces fundamental methods in marine acoustics, as a basis for both technology development and basic research within marine acoustics. The course addresses acoustic wave propagation in the sea, reflection and transmission of acoustic waves, scattering from objects, surfaces, and volume segments, noise and signal fluctuations, generation and reception of sound waves with acoustic transducers / sonar systems, and basic sonar signal processing. The course gives a general and broad introduction to marine acoustics, with emphasis on physical principles. The course can be of interest for students in related fields, such as optics and industrial instrumentation.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student shall have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills, and general competence:



The student can

  • explain central concepts, laws, and models in marine acoustics
  • explain fundamental physical principles underlying the generation, propagation, reception, and processing of sound waves in underwater environments
  • explain central models for the ocean as an acoustic waveguide
  • describe reflection and spreading of acoustic signals from objects, seafloor, and surface at a basic level
  • describe the ocean as acoustic environment and sound propagation medium.



The student can

  • use fundamental laws and relationships to solve relatively simple problems in marine acoustics.


General expertise

  • The student has insight in fundamental principles of marine acoustics, with emphasis on physical mechanisms, laws, and relationships, and understanding of central basic methods and problems that are relevant in practical applications of sound in the ocean.

ECTS Credits

10 credits.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
PHYS111 or similar knowledge in mechanics.
Recommended Previous Knowledge

PHYS271 gives background that can increase the learning outcome of the course.

MAT111, MAT112, INF100, PHYS112, PHYS116

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and synchronous work: 6 hours per week.

Number of weeks: 14.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment
Oral examination (100 % of grade).
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest grade, grade F is fail.
Assessment Semester
Ordinary exam each semester.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Examination Support Material
Course Coordinator
The contact person for the course is found at Mitt UiB. Alternatively, contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Department of  Physics and Technology has the responsibility for the course and study programme.