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.

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.

Program tracks

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

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.

Example course paths

This table illustrates the courses one may take to pursue a typical specialization within Fisheries Science.

Customized Learning in Fisheries Science
Focus: Demersal Fisheries Focus: Pelagic Fisheries
Biological Oceanography Biological Oceanography
Fisheries Stock Assessment Fisheries Stock Assessment
Fish Population Dynamics Fish Population Dynamics
Geological Oceanography Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
Management of Marine Protected Areas Fisheries Oceanography
Ecological Statistics Numerical Models and Data Analysis
Independent Study Independent Study
Internship Internship
Student Seminar Student Seminar

Studies and Coursework

Requirement

  • Independent Study (results in a major paper that may include an internship)
  • Seminar in Oceanography
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Fish Population Dynamics
  • Fisheries Stock Assessment

At least one from each group

Fundamentals

  • Physical Oceanography
  • Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography

Research and Analysis

  • Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences
  • Fisheries Oceanography
  • Fundamentals of GIS
  • Marine Protected Areas: An Interdisciplinary Analysis
  • Ecological Statistics
  • Economic Structure of the Fishing Industry

Policy and Practice

  • Fisheries Law and Management
  • Management of Marine Protected Areas
  • Marine Affairs Seminar
  • Biology and Ecology of Fishes
  • Fisheries Oceanography
  • Marine Protected Areas: An Interdisciplinary Analysis

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

Example course paths

This table illustrates the courses one may take to pursue a typical specialization within Coastal Systems.

Customized Learning for Coastal Systems
Focus: Near-shore Physical Processes Focus: Coastal Ecology Focus: Oil Spills
Physical Oceanography Biological Oceanography Physical Oceanography
Geological Oceanography Foundations of Earth System Dynamics Chemical Oceanography
Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences Applied Coastal Ecology Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences
Geological Oceanography Salt Marsh Ecology Introduction To Marine Pollution
Ocean Waves and Storm Surge Modeling Restoration Ecology Marine Environmental Organic Chemistry
Engineering Wave Mechanics and Nearshore Processes Coastal Zone Law Marine Pollution Policy
Independent Study Independent Study Independent Study
Internship Internship Internship
Student Seminar Student Seminar Student Seminar

Studies and Coursework

Requirement

  • Independent Study (results in a major paper that may include an internship)
  • Seminar in Oceanography

Elective (at least two)

  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Physical Oceanography or Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
  • Biological Oceanography

At least four from the following

Environment

  • Foundations of Restoration Ecology
  • Salt Marsh Ecology
  • Applied Coastal Ecology
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Marine Environmental Organic Chemistry
  • Introduction to Marine Pollution
  • Climate, Radiation, Gases, and Aerosols

Geological/geotechnical

  • Coastal Geologic Hazards
  • Glacial Geology
  • Quaternary Paleoclimates
  • Marine Geotechnics
  • Deep Foundations
  • Experimental Geomechanics

Physical Science

  • Dynamics of Waves and Structures
  • Ocean Waves and Storm Surge Modeling
  • Engineering Wave Mechanics and Nearshore Processes
  • Tides
  • Ocean Renewable Energy

Policy

  • Coastal Zone Management
  • Coastal Zone Law
  • Port Planning and Policy
  • Marine Pollution Policy

Tools and Methods

  • Remote Sensing in Natural Resources Mapping
  • Concepts of GIS and Remote Sensing in Environmental Science
  • Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences
  • Modern Oceanographic Imaging and Mapping Technique

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.

Example course paths

This table illustrates the courses one may take to pursue a typical specialization within Ocean Data and Technology.

Customized Learning in Ocean Data and Technology
Focus: Ocean Technology Focus: Ocean Security Focus: Ocean Data
Physical Oceanography Physical Oceanography Chemical oceanography
Geological Oceanography Geological Oceanography Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
Numerical Models and Data Analysis in the Ocean Sciences Coastal Geological Hazards Numerical Models and Data Analysis in the Ocean Sciences
Modern Oceanographic Imaging and Mapping Techniques Coastal Zone Law Programming for Scientists
Design of Remotely Operated Vehicles Port Operations and Policy Satellite Oceanography
Digital Signal Processing Numerical Models and Data Analysis in the Ocean Sciences Modern Oceanographic Imaging and Mapping Techniques
Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis Introduction to Network and Systems Security Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
Independent Study Independent Study Independent Study
Internship Internship Internship
Student Seminar Student Seminar Student Seminar

Studies and Coursework

Requirement

  • Independent Study (results in a major paper that may include an internship)
  • Seminar in Oceanography

Elective (at least two)

  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Physical Oceanography or Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
  • Biological Oceanography

At least four from the following

Coastal Policy

  • Coastal Zone Law
  • Coastal Zone Management
  • Port Planning and Policy

Engineering

  • Biomimetics in Ocean Engineering
  • Computer Vision
  • Deep Foundations
  • Design of Remotely Operated Vehicles
  • Dynamics of Waves and Structures
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Engineering Wave Mechanics and Nearshore Processes
  • Experimental Geomechanics
  • Feedback Control Systems
  • Introduction to Random Processes
  • Linear Control Systems
  • Modeling, Simulation, and Control of Marine Vehicles
  • Ocean Systems Engineering
  • Ocean Waves and Storm Surge Modeling
  • Optimal Control Theory
  • Marine Geotechnics

Ocean Science and Data

  • Climate, Radiation, Gases, and Aerosols
  • Coastal Geologic Hazards
  • Concepts of GIS and Remote Sensing in Environmental Science
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
  • Modern Oceanographic Imaging and Mapping Techniques
  • Numerical Models and Data Analysis in Ocean Sciences
  • Remote Sensing in Natural Resources Mapping
  • Satellite Oceanography

Security

  • Advanced Topics in Network and System Security
  • Introduction to Information Assurance
  • Introduction to Network and Systems Security
  • Professional Skills for Cyber Security

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.

Studies and Coursework

Requirement

  • Independent Study (results in a major paper that may include an internship)
  • Seminar in Oceanography
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Physical Oceanography or Foundations of Earth System Dynamics
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Scientific tools: statistics, data analysis, or scientific writing

Elective

  • 6 credits of coursework in Oceanography or other science departments
  • 3 credits of coursework in policy, management, economics or a related field

For real...

"This program allows me to take classes at one of the best oceanography schools in the country while also giving me the chance to apply what I learn to a real-world problem". Casey Dannhauser, 2019 M.O. alumna

"We work with many of New England's top regulators, scientists, and stakeholders on the health of our coastal waters. Having an M.O. student from URI on staff—a professional like Casey—brings us the skill set necessary to move ahead with this environmental agenda". Zenas Crocker, Executive Director, Barnstable Clean Water Coalition

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 taught in:
  • English
Last updated October 8, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2020
Duration
1 year
Full-time
Price
15,514 USD
- In State Annual Tuition 2019-2020; 28,292 USD - Out of State Annual Tuition 2019-2020
Deadline
Jan 15, 2020
By locations
By date
Start Date
Sep 2020
End Date
May 2021
Application deadline
Jan 15, 2020

Sep 2020

Location
Application deadline
Jan 15, 2020
End Date
May 2021