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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Marine Science (MSC)
with a Concentration in Geological Oceanography (GOG)

Catalog Photo

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CIP Code: 40.0607
College of Marine Science (MS)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 90
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Masters Degree): 58

Contact Information:
College of Marine Science
Marine Science Department (MSC)
140 Seventh Ave. S. MSL119
St. Petersburg FL  33701

Program Director or Coordinator:
David Naar
Phone: 727-553-1637


Faculty Search: Marine Science Faculty List

Program Information

The College of Marine Science (CMS) offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Science. This research based program has a low student?to?faculty ratio, with an average of 100 graduate students under the direction of ~ 30 full?time faculty. Students in the Masters program may elect a concentration in biological, chemical, geological, or physical oceanography, or Marine Resource Assessment through course work and thesis research. CMS graduates are well prepared for positions in academia, industry, government agencies, and non?governmental organizations at local to international levels.

Biological Oceanography
Biological oceanography seeks to understand the life histories and population dynamics of marine organisms and how they interact with their environment over space and time. Scientists in the College of Marine Science study the full breadth of biological oceanography including microbiology, phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, coral reefs, fishes, and marine mammals. Our biological oceanographers utilize a variety of techniques including SCUBA, shipboard samplers, acoustics, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling to understand the oceans and their inhabitants. Scientists in our college also use the latest in remote sensing technology to study vast regions of the Earths oceans, and have also developed new technology, such as genosensor capable for identifying and quantifying harmful algal blooms and related processes on unprecedented scales.

Chemical Oceanography
Chemical oceanographers seek to understand the ways in which various elements are cycled within the oceans, and the reactions that influence biogeochemical cycles. Ocean chemists improve our understanding of the basic conditions under which ocean life thrives in seawater, and help predict the effects of anthropogenic and natural climate change on ocean composition. Research programs in the College of Marine Science include such wide ranging topics as the role and variability of nutrients in seawater, the distribution and cycling of both biologically-essential and toxic metals, the oceans' CO2 system, dissolved organic matter, molecular organic compounds, radionuclides and stable isotopes and the distribution of chemical pollutants and their interactions with marine organisms and ecosystems. Faculty and students utilize a wide variety of state?of?the art instrumentation and technology for conducting this research.

Geological Oceanography
Geological oceanographers in the College of Marine Science conduct research from the continental margins to the deep?ocean seafloor. Their work extends from modern environments to millions of years present to understand and predict Earth surface and interior processes. Primary research themes include: (1) paleoceanography and paleoclimatology; (2) coastline and continental shelf development and processes including effects of storms and sea?level fluctuations; (3) the health of modern coral reefs (4) carbonate depositional processes; (5) anthropogenic influences on estuaries; (6) mathematical descriptions of geologic phenomena; and (7) plate tectonics. Our geological oceanography group has a variety of modern well?equipped laboratories and field equipment, including one of the best seafloor mapping capabilities in the US. Fully integrated with these field instruments is the computational capability to generate state?of?the art data depictions and imagery. Our group also works closely with scientists from the US Geological Survey's Center for Coastal and Marine Science Center, a major federal laboratory located nearby.

Physical Oceanography
Physical oceanography involves the study of water movement in the ocean. Energy is introduced to the ocean through wind and solar heating, and these combine with the rotation of the Earth and gravitational effects to drive ocean circulation, tides, and waves. Our physical oceanographers also investigate how the Earth's oceans are directly coupled with the atmosphere, from local weather patterns to the global climate system. Physical oceanographers in the CMS carry out research on a variety of topics using the latest technology. Computer models, real time data, satellite remote sensing, and in situ data from moored arrays, coastal tide gauges, and research cruises are used to study a wide range of research problems. Topics include tide and current prediction in Tampa Bay, circulation on the West Florida Shelf and in the Gulf of Mexico, El Nio phenomena, and the potential for global climate change.

Marine Resource Assessment
The College of Marine Science offers an interdisciplinary concentration in Marine Resource Assessment (MRA) as part of its M.S. and Ph.D. programs. This concentration provides training in the emerging field of ecosystem?based management. Its mission is to train a new generation of scientists that can effectively address issues concerning the sustainability of the worlds living natural resources. the MRA concentration addresses the national shortage of graduates possessing the skills required for managing living marine resources by teaching a quantitative approach to ecosystem analysis and living resource assessment. The MRA concentration is designed to produce resource assessment scientists who can introduce relevant ecosystem?level variables into the traditional, single?species assessment process, complementing and enhancing the development of the science?based management policies that protect living marine resources.

Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: January 10
Spring: October 1
Summer: ---

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: January 2
Spring: June 1
Summer: ---

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements
Meeting these criteria per se shall not be the only basis for admission. Complete application instructions can be found on the college website : :

Required Application Materials

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

A committee, consisting of a major advisor and at least 4 other members of the graduate faculty, is appointed to supervise and guide the program of the candidate. One member shall be from a department outside of the College of Marine Science.

Students must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the Bachelor's degree, (12 hours of core requirements, 16 hours of dissertation, and 62 hours split between coursework and research as determined by the committee) and must complete the following:






Core courses completed with a grade of “B” of better:

OCB 6050
OCC 6050
OCG 6051
OCP 6050

Biological Oceanography
Chemical Oceanography
Geological Oceanography
Physical Oceanography




Students select one of the following concentrations. There is no minimum credit requirement except for the Marine Resource Assessment Concentration.

Biological Oceanography (BOC)
Chemical Oceanography (COG)
Geological Oceanography (GOG)
Interdisciplinary (IDY)
Marine Resource Assessment (MRA)*
Physical Oceanography (POG)

*Students in the Marine Resource Assessment Concentration (MRA)are required to take three courses from the following list (totaling nine credit hours) as part of their concentration requirements:


Population Dynamics
Fish Biology
Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems
Applied Multivariate Statistics




Electives are taken within each concentration area (see above).



There will be an Integrated Marine Science Exam (IMSE) administered early each Fall semester. The exam aims to judge a student's ability, upon successful completion of the four core classes (B- or better), to integrate the concepts covered in these classes. All students will take the same exam, at the same time, and questions will be determined by a committee to be appointed by the Dean. All Ph.D. students are expected to take this exam no later than the beginning of their third year (to allow for students who take 2 years to finish the core classes because of other course requirements or if they do not start in the fall term). M.S. students who anticipate continuing in the program to obtain their Ph.D. are encouraged to take this exam, which will fulfill this requirement as long as they enter the PhD program within 7 years of successfully completing the exam. The IMSE is a written exam, followed by optional oral exam if the student does not perform satisfactorily on the written exam. If the student fails the exam, he/she has a second chance to pass the exam in the following year. If a student fails the exam twice, he/she may not proceed in the Ph.D. program.

After passing the IMSE, students are expected to form their dissertation committee, have their research proposal approved by the committee, and to take and pass a Ph.D. Candidacy Exam (PCE) administered by the dissertation committee. The qualifying exam is meant to test the students' in-depth knowledge in their area of concentration and/or dissertation research. The PCE must consist of a 2-4 hour oral exam, with an optional written exam (which could be prior to or after the oral exam) at the discretion of the student's major advisor. The student is expected to take and pass the PCE no later than the start of their fourth year. A student has two chances to pass the PCE in order to become a Ph.D. candidate and must do so prior to beginning their fifth year. Students failing the first time must take the exam again within one year of the first try. If a student fails the exam twice, he/she may not proceed in the Ph.D. program.





Dissertation: Doctoral (minimum)


  • A minimum of 16 credits of OCE 7980 (Dissertation credit hours). Following admission to candidacy, the student must enroll in OCE 7980 when engaged in research, data collection, or writing activities relevant to the dissertation. The student is required to accumulate a minimum of 6 credits during each previous 12 month period (previous 3 terms, e.g., Fall, Spring, Summer) until the degree is granted.
  • A written dissertation
  • A successful dissertation defense examination


Other coursework as required by the dissertation advisory committee.






College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


Graduate Course Information

Use the list below to lookup graduate courses related to this program in the USF Course Inventory:

OCB6050, OCC6050, OCG6051, OCP6050, OCE7980,