Indiana University Bloomington

Center for Underwater Science

Standards and Objectives

For past ten years, students from the School of Public Health (SPH), College of Arts and Sciences Department of Anthropology, School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), and more recently the Individualized Majors Program (IMP), have been collaborating on course work, research, and field projects relating to underwater resources, as coordinated by the SPH Underwater Science Program. The Indiana University Underwater Resource Management Certificate formalizes these inter-school relationships, as well as acknowledges undergraduate achievement. Furthermore, it gives students a unique interdisciplinary education that will better prepare them for the challenges associated with sustainable management of submerged cultural and biological resources.


Through a well rounded curriculum based on development of SCUBA diving skills, core and elective course work in underwater resource management, anthropology, and environmental science and management, the Certificate offers Indiana University students the following opportunities:

  • Different levels of scuba diving certifications that allow students to build and develop their diving skills and knowledge.
  • Opportunity to develop specialized set of diving and research skills equally valued by the dive industry professionals, underwater resource managers, and academics.
  • Ongoing research activities that familiarize students with the principles of underwater resource management, anthropology, and environmental management.
  • Underwater field research projects that provide students with a wide variety of diving experiences augmented by research and publication opportunities that, by their nature, require interdisciplinary training.
  • Practical application of student's knowledge and skills to federal and state agencies that are mandated to provide for underwater resource protection.

    The major topics in the curriculum

  • Scientific diver techniques and safety issues for research diving
  • Underwater park development and sustainable use of underwater resources
  • Legal and social issues regarding park establishment and maintenance
  • Method and theory of underwater resource management with emphasis on underwater archaeology and associated marine biology
  • Resource documentation and computer technology for archiving site features
  • Environmental science and management of natural resources
  • Determination of site significance with application of National Register of Historic Places criteria
  • Interpretation of underwater resources for public benefit and site protection

Performance based standards

Classroom knowledge, hands-on practical skills, and field research experience are equally important if students are to master the challenges associated with underwater resource management. The performance based standards of the program are:

  • Obtain Scientific Diver Certification as outlined by the Academic Diving Manual.
  • Demonstrate diver safety and rescue skills necessary for scientific investigations.
  • Accreditation Certificate for demonstrated proficiencies in competency areas.
  • Completion of outlined required and elective academic course work.
  • Active participation on IU sponsored underwater research field project.
  • Active contribution to field research report for selected state of federal agency.
  • Understand the complexities of an underwater archaeological site.
  • Recognize the historical and biological importance of underwater resources.
  • Understand the legal, social, and environmental implications of resource protection.

Outcome assessment

The assessment emphasis will be placed on evaluating students's ability to integrate scientific diving knowledge and skills with archeological and environmental understanding of submerged resources.

  • Classroom knowledge will be assessed by in class examination, individual research papers and student participation.
  • Practical skills will be evaluated through laboratory exercises in underwater resource documentation and site evaluation.
  • Assessment of student=s field research experience will focus on the quality of student field reports including site drawings and the breadth and depth of the student=s analysis of the site with respect to its archeological and environmental components.
  • Diving certification knowledge and skills for Scientific Diver and safety will be assessed through completion of examinations and skill performance standards as outlined by Recreational Dive Industry.

Who can apply?

  • University-wide majors, including but not limited to, SPH, COAS, IMP, and SPEA students interested in submerged cultural and biological resources.
  • Students interested in developing their educational base for furthering their knowledge of underwater resource management at a Master or PhD level, either at Indiana University or elsewhere.
  • Students interested in careers related to underwater resource management with federal and state government agencies such as National Marine Sanctuaries, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, California State Parks, or Florida Bureau of Archeological Research to name a few.
  • Students interested in full or part time position in the Recreational Dive Industry including students interested in SCUBA instruction, promotion and development.
  • Any students, who, although not interested in the scientific diving field as a profession, want to develop their diving skills while enhancing their understanding of underwater resources.
  • Students that can not find a curriculum in traditional degree areas can develop a specialized Underwater Archaeology degree within the IMP, which will include the Underwater Resource Management Certificate.

Relationship to existing programs within Indiana University

The Certificate includes academic diving courses within the Department of Recreation and Parks Administration and Department of Kinesiology. Additionally, the existing SPH Underwater Science Program has a long history of cooperation with COAS Department of Anthropology, SPEA, and IMP through academic course work and Indiana University sanctioned underwater field research projects. Undergraduate and graduate students have participated in numerous Underwater Science projects in Florida Keys, California, Indiana, and international projects in the Cayman Islands and the Indiana University Over Seas Study project in the Dominican Republic.

Cooperation with other institutions

Current and past Underwater Science projects have been supported and assisted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuaries Program, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, California State Parks, National Park Service, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the governments of the Cayman Islands and Dominican Republic. In addition, Indiana University has signed an agreement of cooperation for collaborative underwater archaeology projects with the Universidad Catolica Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Indiana University is a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Training Facility and offers Recreational Dive Industry sanctioned certifications including: Openwater, Advanced Openwater, Rescue, Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Instructor Development, Underwater Archaeology, and Scientific Diver. PADI has endorsed the existing IU Academic Diving Program and has previously provided significant funding for park development projects and direct financial assistance with student projects.