Ph.D. Program


The marine sciences program offers courses and opportunities for research in four main areas: biological, chemical, physical, and geological oceanography. Each student receives formal training in each of these disciplines while concentrating in a specific research area. The requirements and procedures that follow are specifically for the Department of Marine Sciences. However, the general rules and policies of the Graduate School also apply.


Core Courses

A field of specialization is required of all candidates for the Ph.D. degree. All students must have formal course work in all of the core marine science subdisciplines. This requirement is normally met by completion of four (4) core courses (see below) and seminar, representing eighteen (18) credit hours.
The four (4) core courses consist of four (4) semester hours each for a total of 16 semester hours in physical (MAS 601), chemical (MAS 602), geological (MAS 603), and biological oceanography (MAS 604), or equivalent transfer courses. 

Other Required Courses

At least 46 semester hours in courses beyond the baccalaureate degree are required in addition to the core courses, at least half of which must be taken in formal courses exclusive of directed studies or directed research. No more than 18 hours of dual-listed courses (400- and 500- level listing for the same course) may be counted toward meeting the minimum hours required for a degree. Graduate students will only receive graduate credit for the 500 level version of dual-listed courses.
At least 12 semester hours of dissertation course credit is required. Not more than 15 hours in this category can be counted toward the minimum requirement of 60 semester hours.
At least two (2) semester hours of seminar (two, one (1) semester hour enrollments) are required.  
Core Courses (4 of 4) Credit Hours
MAS 601 (4 cr)
MAS 602 (4 cr)
MAS 603 (4 cr)
MAS 604 (4 cr)
Seminar Credit Hours
Seminar I (1 cr)
Seminar II (1 cr)

Marine Sciences Electives (as determined by advisory committee, but at least six (23) semester hours)

Electives Credit Hours
Directed Studies (8 cr) (maximum)
Dissertation (1-5 per semester) (12 cr) (15 cr maximum)

Comprehensive Examinations

Written and oral examinations in marine sciences are required of all students seeking the Ph.D. degree in marine sciences. These examinations are given after at least two full years but before five full years of graduate study are completed. The written comprehensive examination is taken first and normally is more general in scope than the oral comprehensive examination. The examinations may be taken no more than twice.


A doctoral student is admitted to candidacy upon passing both the written and oral comprehensive examinations and after completing all formal course work requirements. The doctoral candidate is a student who has fulfilled all preliminary requirements for the Ph.D. and has only completion of the dissertation research as the remaining requirement.

Defense Of Dissertation

The final oral defense of the dissertation is scheduled after the dissertation is completed except for such revisions as may be necessary as a result of the defense. The final oral defense will not be given earlier than one semester after admission to candidacy and not before all required course work has been completed or is currently in progress. 


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