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.

Four SOS classes are planned in fiscal year 2016, including classes in Honolulu, Hawaii; Mobile, Alabama; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Seattle, Washington. Dates have not yet been set for these classes, 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. 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, 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.

Stay Updated: If you'd like to receive updates about OR&R's activities and events, including SOS classes, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Go back to the Workshops page.