Established as the university's marine laboratory in 1965, the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) has grown to include faculty, researchers and students from five colleges. Located on Yaquina Bay in Newport, the HMSC houses several university programs, including the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, Marine Mammal Institute, Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center and components of Oregon Sea Grant. On-site partners include state and federal agencies, federal research programs and associated marine laboratories involved in research and management of the marine environment, and collaborations include faculty appointments for agency staff as well as opportunities for students to work with agency scientists.

The HMSC Visitor Center is a key site for public education, with 150,000 visitors annually.