Ocean Engineering, Ph.D.

The University of Rhode Island was the first institution in the nation to establish M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ocean engineering.

Graduate ocean engineering students can choose from a diverse group of courses in widely different ocean related subjects as a result of the broad and interdisciplinary background and research interests of the faculty. Opportunities exist for students to work with an individual faculty member or small groups of faculty members from other engineering departments and the Graduate School of Oceanography.

High quality education and strong research have been the hallmark of the program since its inception in 1966. Large and small corporations, consulting firms and government research laboratories all employ our graduates. They work across a broad spectrum of subfields in positions that bring them around the globe.

Areas of Study

  • Acoustics: study of sound and vibration in the ocean and seabed, and the associated analysis of both deterministic and random data.
  • Geomechanics: experimental and modeling studies to understand and predict properties and behavior of the seabed.
  • Hydrodynamics: interaction of bodies with fluid flow in the ocean and nearshore environments.
  • Ocean Instrumentation: development and use of new and improved instruments for monitoring ocean processes, and the subsequent analysis of the data.
  • Offshore Energy: development of new technologies that provide renewable energy.
  • Offshore Structures: study of nearshore piers, breakwaters, groins, piles, and sewer outfalls as well as common offshore structures such as petroleum drilling and operating platforms.
  • Water Wave Mechanics: linear and non-linear problems that focus on wave dynamics in both the deep ocean and nearshore.

Program Goals

  • Our students gain expertise in hydrodynamics, underwater acoustics, underwater robotics and instrumentation, offshore structures, ocean renewable energy, or marine geotechnical engineering.
  • Our students conduct research that is nationally and internationally recognized.
  • Our students are effective communicators (both written and orally) of technical subjects within ocean engineering.
  • The ocean engineering department recruits and retains top graduate students both nationally and internationally.

Admission requirements

M.S. degree in engineering or equivalent; exceptional students with a Bachelor of Science in engineering will also be considered. All students will be required to complete courses equivalent to those for the M.S. degree in ocean engineering if not included in their master’s degree.

Program requirements

A total of 42 credits beyond the M.S. degree (or 72 credits beyond the B.S. degree), composed of at least 18 credits of course work and 24 credits of dissertation research. Courses must include one in advanced applied mathematics, one in engineering or oceanography, and a minimum of two in ocean engineering. EGR 515 counts towards the minimum of two courses in ocean engineering requirement. Qualifying, written, and oral comprehensive examinations are required for all doctoral students. OCE 605 and 606 are required for all full-time students.

Learn more about the application process and apply today.

For specific questions, please contact our graduate director, Dr. Stephen Licht, at slicht@uri.edu.