Science of Oil Spills Classes
A group of students work together during an SOS class.

Science of Oil Spills (SOS) classes help spill responders increase their understanding of oil spill science when analyzing spills and making risk-based decisions. They are designed for new and mid-level spill responders.

These trainings cover:

  • Fate and behavior of oil spilled in the environment.
  • An introduction to oil chemistry and toxicity.
  • A review of basic spill response options for open water and shorelines.
  • Spill case studies.
  • Principles of ecological risk assessment.
  • A field trip.
  • An introduction to damage assessment techniques.
  • Determining cleanup endpoints.

To view the topics for the next SOS class, download a sample agenda [PDF, 170 KB].

Where and When

SOS classes are held 2-4 times per year in different regions of the U.S. One course per year is held in the Spring at NOAA's Western Regional Center in Seattle, Wash. Class sizes are limited to allow for personalized instruction.

The next SOS class will be held November 17-21, 2014 in Norfolk, Va. Class will begin on Monday afternoon, November 17, and will conclude at noon on Friday, November 21. The application period for this class is open until October 3.

Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status no later than October 17, via email. Accepted applicants will be sent an email containing information about hotel accommodations in the area, a map and directions to the class location, as well as information regarding the field trip and other logistics.

Please be advised that SOS classes are not filled on a first-come, first-served basis. NOAA ERD tries to diversify the participant composition to ensure a variety of perspectives and experiences to enrich the class for the benefit of all participants. Classes are generally limited to 40 participants.

Additional SOS courses will be held in 2015 in Houston, Tex., Mobile, Ala., and Seattle, Wash. Course dates will be posted as they are determined.

Application Form

There is no tuition for SOS classes; however, attendees are responsible for their own travel costs.

Online Application: Please complete the online application form to apply for the November 17-21, 2014 SOS class in Norfolk, Va.

If you experience any problems with the submission of your application, please send us an email.


Questions: Contact us with questions, comments, or suggestions about SOS classes.

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