A Canadian university says it is launching the country\'s first undergraduate degree program in Ocean Sciences, set to offer its first courses this fall. Officials at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said the program would help position Canada as a global leader in ocean science and decision-making. \"This program will fill a gap in science education in Canada,\" oceanography Professor Anna Metaxas said in a university release Friday. \"It will provide Canada with the expertise to help understand and sustainably manage this vital part of our planet.\" Courses will introduce students to high-profile issues including climate change and offshore energy, the university said, with required classes such as \"Oceans and Global Change.\" The undergraduate degree program will combine courses in physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences and mathematics with courses exploring how these basic sciences are applied to investigations of the ocean, school officials said. \"Dalhousie is setting the scale for ocean sciences in Canada and the world,\" university President Tom Traves said. \"This program extends Dalhousie\'s reach by providing an avenue to educate and train the next generation of ocean scientists, managers and citizens.