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.

Most examples provided in the class relate to oil spills that have occurred in coastal and marine environments; however, much of this information applies regardless of the spill location (e.g., inland vs. coastal).

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.

The next SOS class will be held the week of December 7, 2015 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The application period for this class will be open until October 16. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status no later than October 30, 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.

Dates for the remaining SOS classes planned for fiscal year 2016—to be held in Mobile, Alabama; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Seattle, Washington—have not been set yet, but will be announced here as soon as they are decided.

Please be advised that SOS classes are not filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We try 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, to allow for personalized instruction.

Application Form

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

Online Application: The online application form will be available during the application period for each scheduled SOS class.

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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