SOEST was established by the Board of Regents of the University of Hawai‘i in 1988, in recognition of the need to realign and further strengthen the excellent education and research resources available within the University.

SOEST brings together four academic departments, eight research units, interdisciplinary Marine Biology Graduate Program, several federal cooperative programs, and support facilities of the highest quality in the nation to meet challenges in the ocean, Earth and planetary sciences and technologies.  The legacies of our units stretch back over 100 years–beginning with the construction of a small biological laboratory, the precursor to the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, adjacent to the Waikīkī Aquarium on Waikīkī Beach in 1912.

Over the years we have grown and evolved from that initial lab, itself a private gift from the C.M. Cooke Estate, into one of the world’s premier institutions for research and education in the Earth, ocean, and planetary sciences.  The research output of the School is of the highest quality, and the research output of our University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as RU/VH (very high research output).