Oceanography Program faculty and students conduct research on physical, geological, biological, and chemical problems in estuarine, coastal, and marine environments. Historically, the program’s focus has been estuarine, coastal, and continental shelf studies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Our research studies have made the nearby Delaware, Chesapeake, and Delmarva Coastal Bays some of the most extensively studied estuaries in the world. In addition, faculty and students have had increasing interests in issues related to global environmental change in a number of other regions of the world.
Estuarine waters, salt marshes, and sediments provide ideal sites for work on the cycling of particulate material, trace metals, nutrients, and organic matter. An integrated picture of contrasting estuarine behavior is emerging from studies of circulation, chemistry, sedimentary geology, and planktonic biology in these contrasting environments. Faculty and students investigate topics at scales as large as paleohistorical circulation patterns, and as small as chemical cycles in algal mats. Multidisciplinary studies of the hydrology and ecology of intertidal groundwater seepage and the controls of harmful and noxious algal blooms are also explored. Together with the Center for Remote Sensing, faculty and students study the impact of land-use changes on wetlands and estuarine waters and the effects of oceanic circulation on climate. The Oceanography Program fosters an environment where a diverse faculty and student body work together to understand marine and environmental processes in the interest of solving environmental and societal problems.
Application Procedures and Requirements for Admission
Application Deadline: The University permits each program to establish its application deadline. Applicants should refer to the information given in the academic department segment of this catalog and/or check with the department to which they are applying for specific application deadlines and for other specific admission requirements. Applicants can reference the general Applicant Deadlines web page at: http://grad.udel.edu/apply/application-deadlines/. The University deadlines for application to a graduate degree program if not specified otherwise by a program is July 1 for fall semester, December 1 for spring semester, and April 1 for summer session.
On-line applications are required and may be accessed at http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/applicants/. All applicant related documents should be uploaded into the online graduate application. Completion of the on-line graduate application includes the following:
- A $75 nonrefundable application fee submitted with the application. Credit card payment is accepted. Checks must be made payable to the University of Delaware. Applications received without the application fee will not be processed. Foreign students must use a check drawn on a U.S. bank or an International Postal Money Order. See established application fee waiver categories at http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/apply/appfee.html.
- Applicants must list and upload unofficial transcripts of all post-high school academic work from all institutions attended. For institutions outside of the United States that issue transcripts in a foreign language, a course-by-course English translation must be uploaded along with the original language document. Refer to http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/apply/transcript.html for additional information. The Office of Graduate and Professional Education verifies all transcript related documents. If any document is found to have been altered or falsified, the University reserves the right of expulsion.
- Applicants must submit a Personal Statement or answer specific questions or essays as part of the application; a Resume; also, some programs require Supplemental Information Forms. Refer to http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/apply/ for more information about these forms.
- Most applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, but some programs require fewer. Please check the program’s web page.
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) admission test scores are required by most departments and some departments also require subject test scores. Applicants for the Master of Business Administration or the Master of Science in Accounting program must submit their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. Applicants should refer to the information given in the academic department segment of this catalog for specific admission test score requirements in each department. Applicants should request Education Testing Services (ETS) to report official test scores directly to the University of Delaware. The University of Delaware’s institutional code for ETS is 5811. Applicants are encouraged to upload student copies of tests scores with the application. Applicants may self-report scores within the application.
- International student applicants must demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in the English language if English is not the first language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is offered by the Educational Testing Service in test centers throughout the world. The University requires an official paper-based TOEFL score of at least 550 or at least 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) for an applicant to be considered for admission. The University expects a minimum score of 18 on the Internet-based Speaking Test. TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be validated or considered official. Some programs will accept the IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, that is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. A band score of 6.5 is expected by the University.
- International students applying for a teaching assistantship must report a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 600 or at least 100 iBT with a speaking score of 20. TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be validated and cannot be considered official. In addition, international students who are awarded teaching assistantships must attend a month-long training program held in late July and through the third week of August at the University of Delaware’s English Language Institute. Eligibility of the international student to be appointed as a teaching assistant is determined by the student’s TSE/SPEAK and UDIA (University of Delaware Instructional Assessment) scores at the conclusion of this session. The UDIA, a teaching test, supplements the TSE/SPEAK by assessing overall language, cultural, questioning, and basic teaching skills as the ITA (International Teaching Assistant) teaches to a group of students in their subject area. Students who do not achieve the appropriate scores may find that their funding in the department is terminated.
- International students must be offered admission to the University and provide evidence of adequate financial resources before a student visa will be issued. The University has been authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The University has more than 1000 international graduate students enrolled from more than 96 countries. International students are required to purchase the University-sponsored insurance plan or its equivalent.
- Application procedures for senior citizens are the same as for other applicants. The admission application fee and tuition fees will be waived for senior citizen students 60 years of age and older who meet the Delaware residency requirement when admitted to a graduate program. Senior citizens who desire to enroll in graduate courses but who do not seek a degree should contact Professional and Continuing Studies or the Academy of Lifelong Learning for registration information.
- It is a Delaware State Board of Health regulation and a University of Delaware mandate that all graduate students with a birth date after January 1, 1957, be immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Also, students may be required to provide evidence of PPD (Mantoux) Tuberculosis Screening Test within six months prior to beginning classes. Students are required to show proof of vaccination against meningococcal disease unless granted a waiver. Students should refer to and complete the Student Health Service Immunization Documentation form upon admission.
Application Procedures for Fellowships and Assistantships
Of the approximately 2,700 full-time graduate students, nearly 2,000 receive financial awards. Fellowships, tuition scholarships, assistantships, and internships are awarded on the basis of merit. Application for fellowship or assistantship awards is a part of the admission application form. U.S. applicants are strongly encouraged to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Applicants should apply by February 1st in most programs to be considered for financial awards. In some fields, funding from the University may be fully committed by March 15. Awarded financial aid is granted to full-time degree students with regular status who are in good academic standing. The award is valid for the term designated. Information on fellowships and assistantships may be obtained from the department to which the student is applying.
The application deadline for need-based financial assistance (FAFSA) is March 1. Refer to the Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships for details about the various kinds of financial assistance available through various lending agencies.
At the graduate level, we apply an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of research questions.
Located directly on the Delaware River estuary, students have many opportunities to participate in coastal research cruises on board the R/V Hugh R. Sharp, the R/V Joanne Daiber and smaller outboard-driven boats. Oceanography faculty and students conduct diverse research ranging from the nearby estuaries of the Delaware and Chesapeake Rivers to the far reaches of the world, the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica, surface to deep.
We assess nutrient cycling in our adjacent wetlands and waters, and we investigate processes and rates of sediment transport and their effect on the behavior of benthic organisms. We study the biogeochemistry of hydrothermal vents, and using the geochemistry of coastal and deep sea sediments, we reconstruct past climate change. We utilize observational data and numerical models to better understand coastal and open ocean climate interactions.
Admission to the graduate programs of the School is based on GRE scores, grade point averages, letters of recommendation, and other appropriate information. Prospective students apply online through the University Office of Professional and Graduate Education.
Subsequent evaluation of the applications for Master of Science (MS), Master of Marine Policy (MMP), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is conducted by the respective Associate Directors in consultation with relevant faculty members. The Associate Director forwards a recommendation for admission to the Director, who makes final decisions concerning admission.
International students are also required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), to be considered for admission. A minimum score 95 must be achieved by applicants taking the TOEFL IBT exam. No exceptions will be made to this minimum. The IELTS may not be taken in lieu of the TOEFL exam.
Before qualified applicants are admitted to the School, a specific faculty member must be identified as the primary advisor for the admitted applicant. The Director appoints the faculty advisor pro tem; at the initiative of faculty or applicant, the advisor may be changed. When an appropriate advisor cannot be identified, the relevant Associate Director acts as the point of contact for the applicant regarding academic issues.
Policies for Matriculated Students:
All degrees except the Master of Marine Policy require a thesis or dissertation describing original work completed by the student.
Graduate work must be completed within the time limits imposed by the University and the SMSP. The SMSP provides guidance for students with regard to the time frame in achieving individual academic milestones as listed below:
All students matriculated into the SMSP will have their milestone achievements tracked in the SMSP Graduate Student Database. Each year during the faculty performance review with the SMSP Director, the milestone achievement and academic progress of each SMSP student advisee will be discussed and appropriate notes about progress will be updated into the student’s file. Students who are significantly overdue on their milestone achievements and have been notified must submit (jointly with their advisor) a justification of why they are out of compliance and a detailed plan an timeline for completion of the remaining milestones. In the case of University time limits, all requests must be approved by the SMSP Director and then the University Office of Graduate and Professional Education.
A Ph.D. committee must consist of at least four members, but not more than six. At least one member of the committee must be a core faculty member of the SMSP and at least half of the committee members must be either core or joint faculty in the School. As per University regulations, at least one member of the committee must be external to the School, and students are “encouraged to seek the external member from outside the University in order to broaden the perspectives of the committee.”
An MS or MMP committee must consist of at least three members, but no more than four. At least one member of the committee must be a core faculty member of the School and at least half of the committee members must be core or joint faculty in the SMSP.
Only core or joint appointees may serve as committee chairs, except in the case of an emeritus professor who has, prior to retirement, been the advisor of a student when that student’s committee was formed.
A dissertation proposal is required to obtain admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. Satisfactory completion of dissertation proposal is at the discretion of the advisor in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The dissertation proposal may be included as part of the written qualifying exam (below) at the discretion of the advisor in consultation with the student’s advisory committee.
- A qualifying examination is required to obtain admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. In order to take the examination, each student must be in good academic standing and have approval of the advisory committee. A research proposal is ordinarily required before a student takes the qualifying examination. The dissertation proposal and the qualifying examination are to be completed before the fifth semester, however because of workload it is advised that either the proposal or the qualifying exam be completed during the third semester.
- The qualifying examination must include both oral and written sections.
- The examination is prepared and administered by the advisor in consultation with the student’s advisory committee At least 60 days prior to the examination, the advisor must inform the student of the areas to be examined and the format of the written and oral parts of the examination. If the student is not notified with at least 60 days notice, the student has the option to petition the School Director for a postponement of the qualifying examination.
- The student must be informed of success or failure of the written portion of the qualifying examination within two weeks of completion and if the written component is not successfully satisfied the oral may not be administered. Once the written component is satisfied, the oral component may be administered. The student must be informed of success or failure of the oral portion of the qualifying exam within two weeks of completion.
- A student who fails either part of the qualifying examination is entitled to only one re-examination, which must be taken within six months of the first examination.
- A student who fails either part of the second qualifying examination may be considered for reclassification as a Master’s student only after advisory committee consultation with the School Director. If a student is reclassified in this situation, the Master’s thesis must follow the same rigor outlined in this policy statement. In some cases, if recommended by the committee and the School Director, the student may be terminated from the program.
- The defense of the dissertation, thesis, and analytical paper focuses on the scope of the research and its contribution to the field.
- The student’s advisory committee serves as the examining board.
- The defense is oral and open to the academic community of the University and to interested members of the public; the defense must be announced at least two weeks in advance.
- The defense begins with a presentation of the work by the candidate, followed by an open period of questions from the audience.
- After a short break, the members of the examining board address questions to the candidate.
- At the close of questioning, the examining board retires for deliberation and decision.
- Upon reaching a decision, the board communicates that decision to the candidate and to the Director of the School.
- Dissertations, theses, and analytical papers must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education according to the deadline schedule published by that office.