Jul 15, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Bulletin 
2019-2020 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marine Science (Geological Oceanography) PhD


The School of Ocean Science and Engineering offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science with specialization in a wide range of marine science fields, including biological oceanography, geological oceanography, hydrographic science, marine chemistry, and physical oceanography. The Ph.D. program emphasizes excellence in research. Qualified students holding either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field of science, mathematics, or computer science are encouraged to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program.

Students must meet the general requirements set forth in the Graduate Bulletin of The University of Southern Mississippi. The Ph.D. in marine science entails a minimum of fifty-four (54) semester hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Admission Requirements and Procedures  for all graduate programs as set forth in this Bulletin, regular admission to the Ph.D. program in marine science requires:

  1. Successful completion of the Graduate Record Examination (all sections) and a high grade point average for the last two years of undergraduate study as well as a 3.50 GPA on previous graduate study. Successful applicants have highly competitive scores and have a grade point average of 3.0 or above for undergraduate work and 3.5 on previous graduate study.
  2. Resumé
  3. Also required are three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.
  4. A letter of intent should also be addressed to the school director expressing personal academic and research goals.
  5. Students whose native language is not English must achieve a score of 84 or above on the internet-based TOEFL exam.

For students wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships for the academic year beginning in the fall semester, application materials should be received by the department no later than March 1.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

1. The student must complete all core courses with a grade of B or better.

2. The student can accumulate no more than two Cs.

3. The student is required to pass an oral and/or written qualifying examination.

4. Research tool(s) requirement for marine science doctoral students is tailored to the specific tools and skills needed by the student for his/her dissertation research or future career. Contact the school for specific requirements.

5. The student must select and have approved a suitable research problem and completion of a dissertation prospectus

6. The student is required to pass an oral and/or written comprehensive examination consisting of written and oral components to determine the student’s comprehension of course material and the student’s ability to pursue the proposed research.

7. Completion and successful defense of a scholarly dissertation based on the student’s original research. (12 hours of 898 are required)

8. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is required for graduation.

9. Residency. Students must meet the residency requirements specified in the Bulletin.

10. In addition to the degree program requirements described in this Bulletin, all students in the Ph.D. degree program must accumulate at least ten (10) days of appropriate field experience in order to successfully complete the degree program. Contact the school director for information on appropriate types of field experience.

11. Continuous enrollment - Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.

12. All other timeline requirements can be obtained through the director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

See General Degree Requirements  and General Academic Information  for other requirements.


*MAR 691 - Directed Research in Marine Science, MAR 791 - Directed Research in Marine Science, MAR 697 - Independent Study and Research, MAR 797 - Independent Study and Research, MAR 698 - Thesis and MAR 898 - Dissertation, do not count toward the above twelve (12) credit hour approved elective requirement of approved courses numbered 500 and above for the Ph.D. The above courses account for forty-two (42) of the total fifty-four (54) hours required for the Ph.D. Course listings for the additional 12 hours of approved elective courses numbered 500 or above can be obtained by writing to the school director.

**Additional requirements for the Ph.D. with hydrographic science emphasis can be obtained through the director of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering.

Master of Science en route to Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science

Ph.D. students may elect to earn an M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D. degree. To do so, students must complete all coursework requirements of the thesis-based marine science M.S. program, with the exception of MAR 698 (Thesis). Other electives, as determined by the student in agreement with their advisory committee, will be substituted for MAR 698. The student must also obtain approval of a Ph.D.-level research prospectus and pass a comprehensive examination. Successful completion of this non-thesis M.S. degree will be assessed based on a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ assessment provided by each student’s committee members and will also include review of the student’s research progress. This option is only available to Ph.D. students wishing to earn the M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D.