The Department of
Oceanography at the University of Hawaii offers Master's and Doctoral degrees
in the field of Oceanography. Students in the Department specialize in one of
three sub-disciplines: biological, marine geology and geochemistry, or physical oceanography.
Both the M.S. and Ph.D programs are academically challenging and are designed
to prepare students for careers in academia, industry, and government. M.S.
and Ph.D programs require independent research as well as basic and specialized
courses. Information about these programs is provided in the Graduate Student Handbook (PDF); important aspects of the programs relevant to
prospective students are summarized below:
Prospective applicants are highly
encouraged to find a faculty member who shares their research interests and is
willing to sponsor the student. Such sponsorship includes willingness to serve as the
student's major advisor and provide financial support for the student. Student's chances of successful admission are greatly increased with a faculty sponsor. Applicants should contact faculty members well
before the January 15 or August 1 / September 1 application deadlines to discuss sponsorship. It is recommended that students identify and contact faculty whose interests are similar as early as possible.
Applicants must have a record of
rigorous university-level coursework in science or engineering, including
undergraduate studies in biology, physics, chemistry, geology, mathematics,
microbiology, zoology, or related fields.
All applicants must have completed
college-level mathematics and calculus courses that include linear algebra,
ordinary differential equations, and vector calculus. Applicants must also
have completed at least one year each of college-level physics and chemistry.
- GRE scores (general
test only) are necessary for admission to the Department. TOEFL scores are
required of foreign applicants for whom English is not their primary language.
- Upon admission to
the program, students take interdisciplinary core courses, in addition to
courses required by the subdisciplines. Students must also demonstrate
competence in computer programming, and have at least 30 days of field-work
- Degree requirements
for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are typically completed within 2 to 3 years and
4 to 6 years of admission, respectively.
- Upon admission to the Department,
students are mentored by a primary thesis advisor, with additional guidance
provided through appointment of an Advisory Committee and advisement by the
student's Thesis Committee.
- Students may advance to M.S.
candidacy upon successful completion of required core courses. Master's
students must also write and publicly defend a thesis. With approval of an
Advisory Committee, students may petition for direct advancement to Ph.D.
- Upon completion of core courses, a Comprehensive Examination is administrated
designed to test the student's general knowledge in their field of study.
Students advance to Ph.D candidacy upon completion of the Comprehensive Examination. Completion
of the Ph.D program requires a written dissertation and a public defense of the
U.S. applicants, deadlines to submit applications for admission to the graduate
programs are January 15 for Fall admission and September 1 for Spring admission. For foreign
applicants, the corresponding deadlines
are January 15 and August
Most of the Department's
graduate students receive financial support as Research Assistants on
federally-funded research grants and contracts. The Department also has
several state-funded Teaching Assistantships. In addition, scholarships in
varying amounts are awarded annually on a competitive basis from funds
available from the:
- Watumull Scholarship Program
- University of Hawaii Research Corporation
Applications and required forms
All information that
needs to be submitted can be found in this checklist (PDF). The official application form is available
at the University of Hawaii Graduate
Division Admissions page. The
application and supporting documents become the property of the University and
are not returned or available for distribution.
Forms required by the Department can be found here:
Application Forms for
Admission and Financial Aid are also available by writing to:
- The Department of Oceanography
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- 1000 Pope Road
- Honolulu, HI 96822
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Click Here. (PDF)
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