Master of Oceanography

General

Program Description

Advanced studies and real-world experience for professional oceanographers

If your goal is to enter or advance in the ocean-science workforce, holding a Master of Oceanography (M.O.) degree can prove you possess the skills, experience, and credentials that employers will notice, respect and value. Those who earn an M.O. are more than well-versed in current issues and practices, they are recognized as accomplished and proven professionals. The program combines traditional academic studies with professional experience to provide a distinct advantage in the job market.

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“The M.O. program was perfect since it allowed me to combine oceanography core courses with courses on policy and environmental management. With my new degree I hope to build my career, get involved in more research and, if possible, propose my own research interests so I can ascend to a higher level.” Bertha Borneo, 2019 M.O. alumna

Who should apply

Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences or engineering and must show an aptitude for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. M.O. students have a passion for applying science and technology to real-world oceanographic challenges. Learn more about the admission process.

Academic expectations

Full-time students can earn the M.O. in as little as one year. Students enjoy extraordinary access to faculty mentoring and advising. With guidance from their major professors, they map courses of study that build upon personal achievements and give direction to their professional ambitions.

To earn an M.O., students accumulate 30 graduate-level credits but do not write or defend a master’s thesis. Rather, they complete advanced coursework and gain practical experience in problem-solving in oceanography by undertaking internships or capstone projects.

Upon completion of the program, M.O. graduates are expected to demonstrate:

  • Command of the fundamental principles of oceanography
  • Understanding of the current state of knowledge about oceanic problems and technologies
  • Ability to create and apply solutions linking the science to policy and management practices
  • Proficiency in communication to discuss scientific and technical issues with diverse audiences.

Program tracks

Choose a track to build fluency and depth of understanding, while having the flexibility to advance in a specialization

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Fisheries Science

Topic Areas

Students pursuing the M.O. degree with a concentration in fisheries science may develop expertise in:

  • science and management of marine fisheries in developed and developing nations
  • marine policy and spatial planning.

Employers

Professionals with advanced knowledge of fisheries science are commonly hired by:

  • government agencies
  • the fishing industry
  • environmental consultancies
  • not-for-profit organizations.

Learn more about the Fisheries Science track.

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Coastal Systems

Topic Areas

Students pursuing the M.O. degree with a concentration in coastal systems may develop expertise in:

  • mapping
  • marine spatial planning
  • oil-spill impacts and remediation
  • coastal eutrophication
  • planning for impacts of sea-level rise
  • coastal ocean energy development
  • port management

Employers

Professionals with advanced knowledge of coastal systems are commonly hired by:

  • construction consultants
  • shipping firms
  • resource and energy developers
  • port managers
  • uniformed marine services
  • government agencies
  • environmental organizations

Learn more about the Coastal Systems track.

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Ocean Data and Technology

Topic Areas

Students pursuing the M.O. degree with a concentration in ocean data and technology may develop expertise in:

  • marine robotics
  • seafloor mapping
  • ocean engineering
  • sensor utilization
  • data collection and processing
  • network and system security
  • maritime and coastal policy.

Employers

Professionals with advanced knowledge of ocean data and technology are commonly hired by:

  • maritime industries
  • environmental consultancies
  • uniformed marine services.

Learn more about the Ocean Data and Technology track.

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General Oceanography

Preparation for the Field

Students pursuing the M.O. degree with a concentration in general oceanography develop a foundational knowledge of all oceanographic disciplines, which is paired with advanced studies in a topic of the student’s choosing.

Career Direction

Professionals with advanced knowledge of general oceanography are commonly hired by employers in marine-related fields such as ocean-science communication, environmental law, and education. This specialization is also well-suited to students who will pursue further graduate study.

Lean more about the General Oceanography track.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

As one of the nation’s premier academic oceanographic institutions, the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) educates marine scientists, students, policymakers, business ... Read More

As one of the nation’s premier academic oceanographic institutions, the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) educates marine scientists, students, policymakers, business leaders and citizens and helps develop the knowledge and skills necessary to address present and future marine challenges. Read less