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Marine Science

Björn Kjerfve, Ph.D., Director

C. Marjorie Aelion, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1988
Ronald Benner, Ph.D., University of Georgia, 1984
G. Thomas Chandler, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1986
Arthur D. Cohen, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1968
Bruce C. Coull, Ph.D., Lehigh University, 1968, Carolina Distinguished Professor
Robert J. Feller, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1977
Madilyn M. Fletcher, Ph.D., University College of North Wales, 1974
Thomas J. Hilbish, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1984
Christopher G. St. C. Kendall, Ph.D., Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, 1966
Björn Kjerfve, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1973
James T. Morris, Ph.D., Yale University, 1979
Stephen E. Stancyk, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1974
Robert Thunell, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, 1978, Carolina Distinguished Professor
Douglas F. Williams, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, 1976
Sarah A. Woodin, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1972
Richard G. Zingmark, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1969

Associate Professors
Randall E. Cross, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1994
Alan W. Decho, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1987
Miguel A. Goñi, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1992
Charles R. Lovell, Ph.D., Purdue University, 1984
Evan Paleologos, University of Arizona, 1994
Joseph M. Quattro, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1991
Timothy J. Shaw, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1988
Richard M. Showman, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1979
Garriet W. Smith, Ph.D., Clemson University, 1981
Richard J. Vogt, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1984
David S. Wethey, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1979

Assistant Professors
Claudia Benitez-Nelson, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1998
Renae Brodie, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1999
Brian Helmuth, Ph.D., University of Washinton, 1997
Venkat Lakshmi, Ph.D., Princeton University, 1995
Dwayne E. Porter, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1995
Marcel J.M. Reichert, Ph.D., University of Groningen, 2002
Richard Styles, Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1998
Raymond Torres, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1997
George Voulgaris, Ph.D., University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K., 1992

Research Professors
Dennis M. Allen, Ph.D., Lehigh University, 1978
Willard S. Moore, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1969

Research Associate Professors
Alan J. Lewitus, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1990


The Marine Science Program offers programs of study leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Programs leading to both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees provide training in a variety of areas within the scope of the marine sciences, including, but not limited to, research in four principal areas:

  • marine biology/biological oceanography
  • marine chemistry/chemical oceanography
  • marine geology/geological oceanography
  • physical oceanography/atmospheric dynamics.

Other specializations can be developed with the help of the student's advisor, advisory committee, and the marine science Graduate Studies Committee. Both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are sufficiently flexible to accommodate individual programs encompassing more than one area, and such projects are strongly encouraged.


To qualify for admission to graduate work in this program, the applicant must have received a bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college or university and meet admission requirements set by The Graduate School. Applicants should have acquired competence in one of the fields of basic science. However, more important than any fixed entrance requirements, the candidate’s academic record and other credentials must indicate the potential to progress satisfactorily in graduate studies. Deficiencies in prerequisite subjects must be made up before a student may proceed with graduate work. Because this is an interdisciplinary program, graduate students are expected to take courses in other departments. A number of appropriate courses exist that enable students to develop competence in a particular area of emphasis in marine science.

Degree Requirements

General requirements for degrees in marine science are the same as those established by The Graduate School. The program of study and other specific degree requirements are planned in consultation with the student, the graduate student’s advisory committee, the graduate studies committee, and the program director.

The following courses are required for students in the Marine Science Program unless they are specifically exempted:

MSCI 545 Geological Oceanography {=GEOL 545}
MSCI 750 Advanced Biological Oceanography {=BIOL 750}
MSCI 781 Physical Oceanography {=GEOL 781}
MSCI 782 Chemical Oceanography {=GEOL 782}

A number of courses exist in various departments and colleges that enable students to specialize in a particular area of emphasis in marine science (marine biology/biological oceanography, marine chemistry/chemical oceanography, marine geology/geological oceanography, physical oceanography/atmospheric dynamics).

The following are examples of courses acceptable for major credit.

BIOL 534 Animal Behavior (3)
BIOL 534L Animal Behavior Lab (1)
BIOL 543 Comparative Physiology (3)
BIOL 543L Comparative Physiology Lab (1)
BIOL 570 Principles of Ecology (3)
BIOL 570L Principles of Ecology Lab (1)
BIOL 643 Advanced Microbiology (3)
BIOL 651 Limnology (4)
BIOL 722 Aquatic Bacteriology (3)
BIOL 722L Aquatic Bacteriology Lab (1)
BIOL 727 Marine Phytoplankton (3)
BIOL 728 Advanced Phycology
BIOL 729 The Biology of Fish (3)
BIOL 730 The Biology of Fish Lab (3)
BIOL 731 Advanced Invertebrate Zoology I (3)
BIOL 755 Quantitative Ecology (3)
BIOL 759 Physiology Ecology (3)
BIOL 760 Electron Microscopy (3)
BIOL 760L Electron Microscopy Lab (1)
CHEM 511 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (3)
CHEM 541 Physical Chemistry (3)
CHEM 541L Physical Chemistry Lab (1)
CHEM 542 Physical Chemistry (3)
CHEM 542L Physical Chemistry Lab (1)
CHEM 729 Special Topics (Pesticide Residue Analysis) (3)
CHEM 741 Chemical Thermodynamics (3)
EMCH 501 Engineering Analysis I (3)
EMCH 502 Engineering Analysis II (3)
EMCH 741 Viscous and Turbulent Flow (3)
EMCH 751 Advanced Heat Transfer (3)
EMCH 794 Thermodynamics (3)
ECIV 751 Water and Wastewater Treatment Theory I (3)
ECIV 752 Water and Wastewater Treatment Theory II (3)
ECIV 755 Industrial Wastewater Treatment (3)
ECIV 765 Water Resources Engineering (3)
GEOG 510 Systematic Geography (3)
GEOG 531 Quantitative Methods in Geographic Research (3)
GEOG 541 Advanced Cartography (3)
GEOG 543 Computer Mapping (3)
GEOG 545 Meteorology (4)
GEOG 546 Applied Climatology (4)
GEOG 551 Principles of Remote Sensing (3)
GEOG 554 Spatial Programming (3)
GEOG 555 Analytical Cartography (3)
GEOG 563 Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3)
GEOG 751 Digital Techniques of Remote Sensing (3)
GEOG 763 Geographical Information Systems (3)
GEOL 508 Palynology (3)
GEOL 516 Sedimentology (4)
GEOL 518 Surface to Subsurface Stratigraphy (3)
GEOL 520 Isotope Geology and Geochronology (3)
GEOL 536 Geophysics (4)
GEOL 546 Marine Geophysics (3)
GEOL 570 Environmental Hydrogeology (3)
GEOL 713 Environment Aspects of Paleontology (3)
GEOL 722 Aqueous Geochemistry (3)
GEOL 723 Clay Mineralogy (3)
GEOL 750 Basin Analysis Seminar (3)
GEOL 751 Carbonate Petrology (3)
GEOL 756 Deltaic Sedimentation (3)
LAWS 731 Environmental Law (3)
LAWS 733 Environmental Law Seminar (3)
MATH 520 Ordinary Differential Equations (3)
MATH 521 Boundary Value Problems and Partial Differential Equations (3)
MATH 526 Numerical Linear Algebra (4)
MATH 527 Numerical Analysis {=CSCE 561} (3)
MATH 544 Linear Algebra (3)
MATH 723 Advanced Differential Equations (3)
MATH 724 Numerical Differential Equations (3)
MATH 726 Numerical Analysis I {=CSCE 760} (3)
MATH 727 Numerical Analysis II {=CSCE 761} (3)
PHYS 503 Mechanics (4)
PHYS 506 Thermal Physics (4)
POLI 760 American Government and Politics (3)
POLI 774 The Public Policy Process (3)
POLI 777 Policy Evaluation (3)
STAT 510 Introduction to Applied Probability (3)
STAT 515 Statistical Methods I (3)
STAT 516 Statistical Methods II (3)
STAT 518 Nonparametric Statistical Methods (3)
STAT 519 Sampling (3)
STAT 700 Applied Statistics I (3)
STAT 701 Applied Statistics II (3)

Course Descriptions (MSCI)

  • 501 -- Principles of Geomorphology. {=GEOL 501} (3) (Prereq: GEOL 101 and 102) The process of earth denudation with emphasis on chemistry of weathering, stream and erosion hydraulics, quantitative analysis of land form evolution.
  • 505 -- Senior Seminar. (1) (Prereq: consent of instructor)
  • 510 -- Invertebrate Zoology. (=BIOL 510) (5) (Prereq: BIOL 301 or MSCI 311) Phylogenetic and comparative aspects of anatomy, physiology, reproduction, and embryology of the invertebrates. Three lecture and two three-hour laboratory periods per week.
  • 511 -- Advanced Paleontology. {=GEOL 511} (3) (Prereq: GEOL 311) Systematic, ecologic, biogeographic, and evolutionary aspects of paleontology. Lectures, practical exercises, occasional field trips.
  • 515 -- Marine Micropaleontology. {=GEOL 515} (4) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Marine microfossils: distribution, ecology, paleoecology, and biostratigraphy; use of microfossils in marine sediments to study oceanographic history. Three lectures and two laboratory hours per week.
  • 521 -- Introduction to Geochemistry. {=GEOL 521} (3) Investigation of low temperature chemical reactions controlling the geochemistry of the earth's surface. Emphasis on CO2, carbonates, oxidation reduction, thermodynamics, isotopes, biogeochemistry.
  • 524 -- Environmental Radioisotope Geochemistry. {=GEOL 524} (3) (Prereq: CHEM 111, CHEM 112, MATH 141) Introduction to radioactivity and the use of radionuclides to study environmental processes, including age-dating and biogeochemical cycling in aquatic systems. Two lectures per week.
  • 525 -- Marine Plants. {=BIOL 525} (4) (Prereq: BIOL 301 or MSCI 311) Diversity, distribution, physiology, ecology, evolution, and economic importance of marine algal, seagrass, and mangrove communities. Three lectures and three laboratory hours per week. Scheduled field trips are required.
  • 536 -- Ichthyology. {=BIOL 536} (4) (Prereq: BIOL 301 or MSCI 311 or consent of instructor) Phylogeny, morphology, behavior, and ecology of fishes. Three lecture and three laboratory hours plus three field trips to be arranged.
  • 537 -- Aquaculture. {=BIOL 537} (3) (Prereq: BIOL 301 or MSCI 311) Introduction to the practical and scientific aspects of the commercial culture of freshwater and marine organisms. Three lecture hours per week. One all-day field trip required.
  • 538 -- Behavior of Marine Organisms. (4) (Prereq: consent of instructor) The identification of behavioral adaptations of estuarine and marine organisms: their ecology, physiology, development, and evolutionary history; field observations.
  • 545 -- Geological Oceanography. {=GEOL 545} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor required for undergraduates only) A comprehensive study of the origin and development of the major structural features of the ocean basins and the continental margins. Discussion of the techniques used in obtaining geologic data and the interpretation of sedimentary processes, vulcanism, and the stratigraphy of the ocean basins.
  • 550 -- Sedimentary Simulations and Sequence Stratigraphy. {=GEOL 550} (4) (Prereq: GEOL 301 or consent of instructor) Problems of sequence stratigraphy resolved with graphic computer simulations. Sedimentary fill of basins by carbonates and/or clastics tracked as a function of rate of sediment accumulation, tectonic behavior and sea level. Includes laboratory.
  • 552 -- Population Genetics. {=BIOL 552} (3) (Prereq: BIOL 301, MSCI 311, and BIOL 303) An introduction to the principles of population genetics, with emphasis on the origin, maintenance, and significance of genetic variation in natural populations.
  • 553 -- Marine Sediments. {=GEOL 553} (3) (Prereq: GEOL 516 or consent of instructor) Marine sedimentary environments; physical/biological factors which control the formation and distribution of modern marine sediments.
  • 557 -- Coastal Processes. {=GEOL 557} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Physical and geological processes controlling the formation and evolution of beach, barrier, and nearshore environments, including discussion of coastal management issues. Field trip(s) to coastal environments.
  • 566 -- Ecosystem Analysis. (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) The formulation and simulation of compartment models of marine and terrestrial ecosystems with complex nutrient cycling, food chains, and energy flow. Analog and digital simulation techniques. Ecosystem stability and sensitivity. Organization, structure, and diversity of an ecosystem.
  • 568 -- Introduction to Micrometeorology. {=GEOL 568} (3) (Prereq: PHYS 201 and MATH 141, or consent of instructor) Small-scale processes in the atmospheric boundary layers, including energy budget, radiation, soil heat transfer, humidity, viscous flows, turbulence, momentum and heat exchanges, evaporation, and marine atmospheric boundary layer.
  • 575 -- Marine Ecology. {=BIOL 575} (3) (Prereq: CHEM 111 and BIOL 301 or MSCI 311) Structure, dynamics, and interactions between populations and communities in marine ecosystems. Three lecture hours per week. Attendance at designated departmental seminars is required.
  • 575L -- Marine Ecology Laboratory. {=BIOL 575L} (1) (Prereq or coreq: MSCI 575) Laboratory and field exercises in coastal environments. Three hours per week plus field trips.
  • 577 -- Ecology of Coral Reefs. {=BIOL 577} (4) (Prereq: BIOL 301 or MSCI 311 or consent of instructor) Structure, productivity, and biodiversity of coral reefs, emphasizing their sensitivity, stability, and sustainability. Taught as an extended field experience with daily lectures and guided research activities.
  • 578 -- Physiological and Pollution Ecology of Marine Organisms. (3) (Prereq: MSCI 311 or equivalent) Functional adaptation of marine plants and animals to ecological stresses including pollution. Three lecture hours per week.
  • 581 -- Estuarine Oceanography. {=GEOL 581} (3) (Prereq: MSCI 312 or consent of instructor) Estuarine kinematics and dynamics; classification of estuaries; estuarine circulation and mixing.
  • 582 -- Marine Hydrodynamics. {=GEOL 582} (3) (Prereq: differential equations, PHYS 201 or 211, or consent of instructor) Basic principles of fluid statics and dynamics. Conservation of mass, momentum, and energy; viscosity, vorticity, and boundary layers with examples from the marine environment. Applications to and analysis of ocean currents and waves.
  • 583 -- Geology and Geochemistry of Salt Marshes. {=GEOL 583} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Geological and geochemical processes in salt marshes. Methods of geological research in marshes including instrumental techniques, sampling design, and data analysis. Two lectures per week plus four weekends of project oriented fieldwork and/or equivalent lab work.
  • 585 -- Coastal Tropical Oceanography. (4) (Prereq: MSCI 312 or consent of instructor) Descriptive oceanography of mangrove and coral reef coasts with emphasis on physical processes. Taught as an extended field experience with daily lectures and guided research activities.
  • 599 -- Topics in Marine Science. (1-3) Current developments in marine science selected to meet faculty and student interests. Course content varies and will be announced by suffix and title in schedule of courses.
  • 624 -- Aquatic Chemistry. {=CHEM 624} (3) (Prereq/coreq: CHEM 321, MATH 142, or consent of instructor) Study of the chemical reactions and processes affecting the distribution of chemical species in natural systems. Three lecture hours per week.
  • 650 -- Biological Oceanography. {=BIOL 650} (3) (Prereq: MSCI 575 or MSCI 311 or permission of instructor) Processes controlling productivity in the sea, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions, benthicpelagic coupling, the deep-sea environment, and a critical assessment of oceanographic methods. Three lecture hours per week.
  • 716 -- Eustasy and Global Variations in Sequence Stratigraphy. {=GEOL 716} (3) Relationship of sequence stratigraphy to sea level variations, tectonics and sedimentation. Construction and analyses of paleogeographic maps, regional cross-sections, and chronostratigraphic charts.
  • 717 -- Organic Geochemistry. {=GEOL 711} (3) (Prereq: GEOL/MSCI 521) Sources, transport, and fate of organic matter in natural environments including soils, riverine, estuarine, coastal and open ocean sediments and waters.
  • 750 -- Advanced Biological Oceanography. {=BIOL 750} (3) (Prereq: BIOL/MSCI 450 or consent of instructor) Three lecture hours per week.
  • 752 -- Marine Biogeochemistry. {=BIOL 752} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Biological, geological, and physical processes that influence the cyling of major bioactive elements (C, O, N, P, S) in marine waters and sediments.
  • 754 -- Oceanographic Techniques. (1)
  • 758 -- Special Topics in Marine Science. (1-3) (Prereq: permission of the instructor)
  • 767 -- Ecological Modeling and Environmental Planning. {=ENHS 767; = BIOL 768} (4) (Prereq: MATH 121 or equivalent, ecology, ENHS 660 or permission of instructor) Concepts in systems of models and computer simulations in examining environmental interactions, predicting environmental impact, and facilitating the process of environmental planning. Lab practice in analog and digital simulation and data interpretation.
  • 769 -- Reproductive Ecology. {=BIOL 769} (3) (Prereq: BIOL 570 or consent of instructor) Theoretical aspects and examples of the variety of reproductive and life history patterns found in animals and plants as adaptations to various environmental constraints. Three lecture hours per week.
  • 777 -- Current Topics in Marine Ecology for Teachers. (3) Primarily for teachers. Marine science materials with emphasis on coastal environments. Field exercises.
  • 778 -- Current Topics in Marine Ecology for Teachers. (3) Primarily for teachers. Marine science materials with emphasis on coastal environments. Field exercises.
  • 781 -- Physical Oceanography. {=GEOL 781} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Geographic and hydrodynamic aspects of oceanography, with emphasis on estuaries. Physical properties of sea water and theories and methods involved in ocean currents, air-sea interaction, waves, and tides.
  • 782 -- Chemical Oceanography. {=GEOL 782} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Chemical characteristics of sea water, distribution of properties, and chemical processes in the oceans, with emphasis on estuaries.
  • 783 -- Oceanographic Time Series Analysis. {=GEOL 783} (3) (Prereq: consent of the instructor) Techniques in the analysis of oceanographic data sequences, including filtering techniques, fast Fourier transformers, and empirical orthogonal functions.
  • 784 -- Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. {=GEOL 784} (3) (Prereq: MATH 241 or ENGR 360 or GEOL/MSCI 582 or GEOL/MSCI 781) Equations governing the large-scale dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean, rotational influence, shallow water equations, vorticity, quasi-geostrophic dynamics, Rossby waves, energy and enstrophy, and geostrophic turbulence.
  • 785 -- Atmospheric Dynamics. {=GEOL 785} (3) (Prereq: GEOL/MSCI 781) Elementary applications of the basic equations, scale analysis, planetary boundary layer, atmospheric oscillations, synoptic and mesoscale systems, hydrodynamic instability, cyclogenesis, frontogenesis, energy cycle, momentum budget, and tropical motion systems.
  • 790 -- Directed Individual Studies in Marine Science. (1-6) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Directed research topics to be individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty.
  • 795 -- Issues in Coastal Environmental Health. {=ENHS 795} (3) Problems associated with coastal population growth and development. Emphasis is on the working group approach to ameliorating impacts on ecosystem and human health.
  • 798 -- Research in Marine Science. (1-9) Practicum designed to give M.S. and Ph.D. students in-depth experience with research techniques prior to preparation of theses and dissertations. (Pass/Fail grading)
  • 799 -- Thesis Preparation. (1-9)
  • 899 -- Dissertation Preparation. (1-12)

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