There are two informal divisions within the Ph.D. in Oceanography Program: marine biology and physical oceanography. Ph.D. applicants should have obtained agreement from a faculty member to serve as major professor. For the biological sciences, Ph.D. applicants should have a completed draft dissertation proposal that must be submitted with the application. The proposal content will be a major factor in acceptance.
The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate. At least 42 credits must consist of upper-level course work. At least 24 credits must consist of dissertation research. The student may not register for research credits (DIS) until after successfully defending the research proposal. After faculty acceptance of the research proposal, the student must register for a minimum of 3 research credits per session until completion of the degree. The student is limited to a total of 9 credits of coursework per term. In rare circumstances, the student may register to take more than 12 credits/term but this requires written permission from the Chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences.