Diving for College Credit


In the heart of the Midwestern United States, far from any ocean shoreline or amazing fresh water lake, stands the city of St. Louis, MO. Making its place in history as the gateway to the westward expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century, St. Louis is hardly known for scuba diving, though there are several unique underwater attractions nearby including Bonne Terre Mines and Mermet Springs. Even so, the city and surrounding suburbs are home to four dive shops and several dive clubs. What’s even more surprising is Lindenwood University, located in the suburb of St. Charles, offers PADI’s Open Water Diver course for college credit.


Yes, that’s right, diving for college credit! In fact, the American Council on Education has approved 18 dive courses for college credit through both PADI and NAUI, allowing certified divers to transfer credit hours towards completion of a degree.

Steve Dasovich, Ph.D., is a professor of Anthropology at Lindenwood, along with being a professional underwater archaeologist and certified Science Diver through the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. A few years ago, several of his students approached him asking how they too could get into the field of underwater archaeology. Not wanting to disappoint, Dr. Dasovich sought out help from area dive shops and ultimately chose Midwest Scuba to lead the program. February 2016 marked the start of Lindenwood’s first PADI Open Water Diver course with eight students enrolled. The class was a success and a positive experience for the students, and so it continued for a second season in spring 2017.


The Open Water Diver Course is a major first step for making a career out of scientific diving. Global opportunities exist for oceanographers, marine biologists, archaeologists, and even physiologists, among others. There are also non-scientific opportunities including underwater photography and videography, tourism, and dive instruction.


On a personal note, aiding in the instruction of these courses as a Divemaster has been an amazing experience. Watching anyone develop dive skills is always rewarding, but even more so with college students who have a career path in mind that includes scuba. To accommodate the education standards of Lindenwood University, the standard PADI Open Water Diver course was extended to include both more classroom and more dive time. This has allowed myself and instructor, James Johnson, the ability to delve even further into dive theory and practice than usual, which is really exciting for us.

If you’re interested in transferring an existing dive certification to college credit, talk to your college advisor then contact your respective training agency for information on obtaining an official transcript:

To learn more about enrolling in the dive program through Lindenwood University, contact Dr. Dasovich directly, through email at sdasovich@lindenwood.edu or by calling 1-636-255-2223.

Follow Lindenwood University on Facebook and Instagram @LindenwoodUniversity and on Twitter @LindenwoodU

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About Author

Mike Johnson is a Director of Photography specializing in adventure and outdoor video productions. He travels the world shooting and producing television shows, documentaries, and the occasional corporate video.

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