HPU | Scientific Diving

Scientific Diving


Here you can find information about the program, our courses, the HPU Diving Safety manual, all the forms associated with the program, and learn about the underwater research being conducted at HPU.

The HPU Scientific Diving Program’s mission is to train students in safe scientific diving methods and facilitate research at the university.  Hawai'i Pacific University is an Organizational Member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) and adheres to the policies set forth by the network of AAUS members

What can an HPU Scientific Diver do?

  • Conduct underwater research at HPU
  • Assist faculty and graduate students with research
  • Improve diving skills and earn additional certifications
  • Gain valuable career skills
  • Potentially work with Hawai'i’i partner agencies when need arises
  • Join the AAUS organization and have access to opportunities and scholarships around the world

MARS 3200/1 AND 6200/1

HPU is excited to offer a two-course series, MARS 3200 and 3201 or MARS 6200 and 6201 to undergraduate and graduate students resulting in certification as an HPU Scientific Diver and membership in the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS).  Students who complete this course will also be certified as SSI Stress and Rescue, Nitrox, and Reach Right divers (First Aid, CPR, and Oxygen Administration).

Fall 2023

MARS 3200 and 6200

Scientific Diving I (3 credits)


Lecture format covering the following agenda:

     AAUS Standards/Scientific Diving Regulations

     Physics of Diving

     Physiology of Diving

     Dive Injuries

     Dive Equipment

     Dive Planning


Spring 2024

MARS 3201 and 6201

Scientific Diving II (2 credits)


Lecture and in-water activities focusing on the following agenda:

     Refinement of general SCUBA skills

     Dive Rescue Skills and Emergency Response

     Task Loading

     Nitrox Diving

     Applications of Scientific Diving

     Methods in Data Collection

Additional Information

Students interested in enrolling should ensure they can meet all prerequisites and complete the survey form.  Click here for survey 

Students will be assessed an additional enrollment fee of approximately $1200 to help cover the added costs of conducting this course.



  • Open water dive certification
  • 18 logged dives
  • Physical examination for diving with physician’s approval
  • Must meet swimming standards
  • Instructor approval


** Physical exam must be conducted by a physician familiar with hyperbaric medicine, and approval to dive form must be submitted to the HPU Diving Safety Officer at least a week prior to the start of class. Please note that physi­cian’s approval often takes 10-14 days once physical exam is conducted due to turnaround of lab-based testing.

A list of physicians with experience in diving medicine on Oahu will be provided to enrolled students.


*** Swimming standards include the following:

  • Swim underwater without surfacing for 25 yards (one breath)
  • Swim 400 yards in less than 12 minutes
  • Tread water for 10 minutes and 2 additional minutes without the use of your hands
  • Transport a passive person of equal size a distance of 25 yards in the water


Note: All swimming requirements are to be done without the use of fins.

We recommend enrolled students practice the swimming requirements prior to being evaluated. Practice! Swim test will be held the first week of classes, time and date to be announced.


Students will be required to submit all the appropriate paperwork to begin the training series prior to the start of class. Any missing forms may disqualify the participant to continue, and that spot will be offered to wait-listed students.

For program or class inquiries please contact the Diving Safety Officer at ecoccagna@hpu.edu.