Overview

The Ocean Sciences (OCE) graduate program naturally fosters multidisciplinary research and education in a wide variety of topics at the interfaces between physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. OCE Ph.D. students learn first-hand about instrumentation and methods to measure the ocean using both in-situ and space-based sensors, and about laboratory, analytical, and numerical models to understand oceanic processes.

Admission Requirements

The best OCE applicants have a strong foundation in science, with a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, engineering, geophysics, oceanography, marine science, or a related field. The GRE score is not required for admission. Those whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550. All application requirements are available here.

Curriculum Requirements

The applicable requirements will be those in effect during that academic year when the student first registered in the Program, unless stated otherwise in the OCE Handbook or by the OCE Graduate Program Director.  Any uncertainties regarding the procedures and requirements should be clarified with the OCE Graduate Program Director and the RSMAS Graduate Studies Office (GSO).

All RSMAS courses are listed on the RSMAS website. Students should consult their advisors and the OCE Graduate Program Director regarding their choices of courses; courses taken by students should be approved by their advisors. Any deviations from the requirements listed below must be approved by the advisor and the OCE Graduate Program Director.

OCE students follow one of four academic tracks: Ocean DynamicsAir-Sea Interaction and Remote SensingMarine Biogeochemistry, or Biophysical Interactions

Ocean Dynamics Track

The OCE Ph.D. degree requires 60 total credits. 1
Core Courses6
Choose 2 courses from the following:
Physical Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemistry
Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics
Ocean Dynamics Track6
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II
Electives 215
Dissertation Research33
Doctoral Dissertation
Required Examinations
Comprehensive Examination 3
Qualifying Examination 4
Additional Requirements
Dallas Murphy Writing Workshop or Writing Skills Course (RSM 780)
Research Ethics
COMPASS Seminars 5
Educational Training Program (TA) 6
Educational Training 1
Educational Training 2
Educational Training 3
Total Credit Hours60

Air-Sea Interaction and Remote Sensing Track

The OCE Ph.D. degree requires 60 total credits. 1
Core Courses6
Choose 2 courses from the following:
Physical Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemistry
Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics
Air-Sea Interaction and Remote Sensing Track6
Fluid Mechanics
Wave Propagation in the Ocean Environment
Electives 215
Dissertation Research33
Doctoral Dissertation
Required Examinations
Comprehensive Examination 3
Qualifying Examination 4
Additional Requirements
Dallas Murphy Writing Workshop or Writing Skills Course (RSM 780)
Research Ethics
COMPASS Seminars 5
Educational Training Program (TA) 6
Educational Training 1
Educational Training 2
Educational Training 3
Total Credit Hours60

Marine Biogeochemistry Track

The OCE Ph.D. degree requires 60 total credits. 1
Core Courses6
Physical Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemistry
Marine Biogeochemistry Track12
Marine Organic Geochemistry
Marine Microbial Dynamics
Biological Oceanography
Chemical Oceanography
Electives 29
Dissertation Research33
Doctoral Dissertation
Required Examinations
Comprehensive Examination 3
Qualifying Examination 4
Additional Requirements
Dallas Murphy Writing Workshop or Writing Skills Course (RSM 780)
Research Ethics
COMPASS Seminars 5
Educational Training Program (TA) 6
Educational Training 1
Educational Training 2
Educational Training 3
Total Credit Hours60

Biophysical Interactions Track

The OCE Ph.D. degree requires 60 total credits. 1
Core Courses6
Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics
Physical Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemistry
Biophysical Interactions Track3
Modeling of Physical-Biological Interactions
Electives 218
Dissertation Research33
Doctoral Dissertation
Required Examinations
Comprehensive Examination 3
Qualifying Examination 4
Additional Requirements
Dallas Murphy Writing Workshop or Writing Skills Course (RSM 780)
Research Ethics
COMPASS Seminars 5
Educational Training Program (TA) 6
Educational Training 1
Educational Training 2
Educational Training 3
Total Credit Hours60

Plan of Study Samples

Ocean Dynamics 

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
OCE 603 Physical Oceanography (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 611 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics I 3
OCE 701 Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics (or Approved Elective) 3
RSM 700 Research Ethics 0
 Credit Hours9
Spring
OCE 610 Ocean Biogeochemistry (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 711 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics II 3
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours9
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Two
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Three
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 771 Educational Training 1 0
RSM 772 Educational Training 2 0
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 773 Educational Training 3 0
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Four
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Five
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
 Total Credit Hours70

Air-Sea Interaction and Remote Sensing Track

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
OCE 603 Physical Oceanography (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 675 Fluid Mechanics 3
OCE 701 Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics (or Approved Elective) 3
RSM 700 Research Ethics 0
 Credit Hours9
Spring
OCE 610 Ocean Biogeochemistry (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 676 Wave Propagation in the Ocean Environment 3
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours9
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Two
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Three
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 771 Educational Training 1 0
RSM 772 Educational Training 2 0
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 773 Educational Training 3 0
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Four
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Five
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
 Total Credit Hours70

Marine Biogeochemistry Track

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
OCE 603 Physical Oceanography 3
OCE 705 Chemical Oceanography 3
MBE 704 Biological Oceanography 3
RSM 700 Research Ethics 0
 Credit Hours9
Spring
OCE 610 Ocean Biogeochemistry 3
OCE 622 Marine Microbial Dynamics 3
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours9
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Two
Fall
OCE 612 Marine Organic Geochemistry 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Three
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 771 Educational Training 1 0
RSM 772 Educational Training 2 0
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
RSM 773 Educational Training 3 0
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Four
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Five
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
 Total Credit Hours70

Biophysical Interactions Track

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
OCE 603 Physical Oceanography (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 701 Mathematical Methods in Marine Physics 3
Approved Elective 3
RSM 700 Research Ethics 0
 Credit Hours9
Spring
OCE 610 Ocean Biogeochemistry (or Approved Elective) 3
OCE 736 Modeling of Physical-Biological Interactions 3
Approved Elective 3
 Credit Hours9
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Two
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Three
Fall
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 771 Educational Training 1 0
RSM 772 Educational Training 2 0
 Credit Hours4
Spring
Approved Elective 3
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 1
RSM 773 Educational Training 3 0
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Four
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Year Five
Fall
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Spring
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
Summer
OCE 830 Doctoral Dissertation 4
 Credit Hours4
 Total Credit Hours70

Mission

The Department of Ocean Sciences (OCE) seeks to advance knowledge and understanding of physical, chemical and biological processes in the oceans. We train graduate students and young scientists to be leaders in ocean-science-related fields. With distinct strengths in ocean dynamics, air-sea interaction and remote sensing, ocean biogeochemical cycles, biophysical interactions and coastal processes, we strive to achieve excellence in research and education. We seek to promote, among the public and policy makers, responsible science-based stewardship of the oceans. Our program commits to inspire graduates to continued scholarship, service, and innovation in an environment that is inclusive and diverse.

Goals

To train graduate students and young scientists to be leaders in ocean-science-related fields.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Proof of Fundamental Knowledge: Students will demonstrate a broad understanding of fundamentals of ocean science and an awareness of how scientific research in their topical areas relate to current societal issues.

  • Capability to Explain and Defend Own Work: Students will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their field of work and the ability to explain their work and defend their results in oral and written communication in a way adequate for a continuing academic career and for employment as a highly qualified research scientist or equivalent professional level scientist.

  • Capability to Give Short Presentations: Students will demonstrate the ability to explain their work and defend their key results in a short oral presentation in a competitive environment similar to a session at a scientific conference or a professional project meeting.