Graduate Program in Oceanography


The PhD degree in the Graduate Program in Oceanography is intended to train students at an advanced level in interdisciplinary science and technology related to oceanographic, climatic, littoral, and coastal marine processes, so as to prepare them to assume careers in research and applied science across a broad, diverse spectrum of associated fields.

Learning Goal 1 for Students:

Attain marked ability, scholarship and research skills in interdisciplinary marine-related learning

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1:

  • Grades in graduate courses
  • A Ph.D. qualifying examination assessing interdisciplinary knowledge and reasoning
  • Mentoring by a student’s individual advisor and thesis committee
  • Self-reported student learning outcomes in an annual report to a GPO scholastic review committee
  • Post-graduate placement in positions and careers that require abilities, skills and scholarship broadly related to the field and associate disciplines.

Roles of the Graduate Program in Oceanography and the University in helping students achieve Goal 1:

  • Evaluate teaching effectiveness of instructors in graduate courses
  • Periodic review of curricular offerings and assessment tools
    • Through annual meetings of the GPO faculty
    • Through consultation with faculty and the Directors of related graduate programs
    • Through consultation between the GPO Director and the Oceanography Graduate Students Association
  • Monitoring of timely progress toward graduation via an annual student review process
  • Ensuring equality and transparency in access to financial support through university supported Graduate and Teaching Assistantships

Learning Goal 2 for Students:

Engage in and conduct original research

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 2:

  • Preparation of and defense of Ph.D. dissertation proposal
  • Assessment of the Ph.D. dissertation:
    • Public defense of dissertation
    • Critical reading of dissertation by a committee of GPO members and a committee member from outside of the GPO
    • Publication of articles based on the dissertation in peer-reviewed journals
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by selection for conference presentations, attainment of individual grants or fellowships, awards from professional societies, peer-reviewed journal publications, and post-graduate career placement.

Roles of the Graduate Program in Oceanography in helping graduate students to achieve Goal 2:

  • Provide early introduction to research opportunities
  • Provide opportunities to present research and receive feedback
  • Maintain adequate funding through the research phase
  • Provide comprehensive advising and assist in identifying mentors
  • Encourage grant support of graduate student travel to appropriate conferences, special educational opportunities, and field work
  • Establish standards for membership and outside members of student committees

Learning Goal 3 for Students:

Prepare students to become professionals in their discipline

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 3:

  • Review evidence of papers presented, publications and professional networking
  • Aggregate evaluations of teaching effectiveness of graduate student instructors
  • Collection of career placement data


  • Encourage enrollment in courses related to scientific writing, college instruction, and science communication
  • Host and promote professional development programs in fellowship proposal preparation, and how to write a scientific paper
  • Facilitate opportunities for students to participate in oceanographic cruises, field work, and international summer schools
  • Acquaint students with non-academic career opportunities.