Admission

Ready to come aboard?

Scroll down for more information, including deadlines, application processes, criteria for successful applications, and potential funding opportunities.

We encourage you to check out our program requirements and get in touch with faculty whose research aligns with your own interests. We look forward to reviewing your application.

 

Application Target Dates

While we consider applications on an ongoing basis, we strongly encourage students to submit applications by:

Fall Semester Spring Semester
15 January 15 June

 

Overview of Admissions Process

  • URI-GSO has a rolling admission with an encouraged deadline of January 15th to be eligible for URI internal fellowships.
  • Admission decisions are on a rolling basis, with the first review starting on January 15th. Typically decisions of admission, denial, and waitlist occur by mid-February.
  • We strongly encourage prospective students to contact potential faculty advisors early (late summer/early fall) to discuss availability of positions in their lab, funding, each other’s mentoring/learning styles, and fit within our program. The advisor-advisee relationship is one of the most important aspects of a successful graduate experience. Students will not be accepted into the URI-GSO Graduate Program without a faculty sponsor (a current GSO faculty who agrees to advise the applicant).
  • No GREs required, though recent TOEFL scores, or equivalent, are required for students whose first language is not English.
  • Applications are open to review by all URI-GSO faculty, with an emphasis on evaluation from disciplinary groups (Biological, Physical, Chemical, and Geological Oceanography). Admission decisions are made by the Student Admission and Review Committee using the Admission Rubric below coupled with feedback from all URI-GSO faculty who evaluated applications. Emphasis is put on potential advisor approval.
  • URI policy is that acceptance into the program is separate from funding decisions. Applicants need to be in good communication with potential advisors on funding options. We highly recommend that applicants wait to accept admission offers until funding is secured and the potential advisor gives the ok to accept.
  • While we appreciate notification of admission decisions as soon as possible, students are not required to accept financial offers until April 15th, pursuant to the April 15 Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools (nearly all universities in the U. S. are part of this agreement).

Admissions Rubric

Applications are evaluated holistically based on demonstrated experience and/or potential outlined in the Rubric below, as illustrated through the applicant’s Personal Statement, CV, Academic transcripts, and Letters of Recommendation.

Category General Criteria Basis for Ranking
Academic Preparation Coursework; Academic honors or recognition Grades; Depth of coursework; Honors. Emphasis on natural science and quantitative coursework
Research Research experiences and potential; Technical skills; Motivation Extent of research experiences; Depth of skills; Evidence of independence/creativity; Letters of recommendation
Fit with Program Alignment with institutional and individual faculty research; Evidence or potential for community engagement; Support of institution Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion goals Alignment with faculty (emphasis on potential advisor), Values fit with GSO’s strengths and goals; Experience or potential contribution to JEDI
Non-Cognitive Competencies Curiosity, Initiative, and Drive; Orientation towards achievement; Conscientiousness; Teamwork and Collaboration; Perseverance; Realistic self appraisal Demonstration of excellence, leadership, initiative; Evidence of working independently and collaboratively with diverse groups; Self assessment of strengths/areas for improvement; Evaluation of previous challenges and efforts to overcome them

Tips for Personal Statement

The personal statement should reflect on: 1) experiences and potential in academics, research, community building, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, 2) fit with URI-GSO graduate program and potential advisor(s) (why are you applying to this program, how will this program help your graduate and long-term career goals?), and 3) address any areas of past challenges (e.g., poor grades) and steps taken to learn and grow. The essay should clearly illustrate your depth of skill, demonstration of excellence, creativity, leadership, initiative, perseverance, and ability to work independently and collaboratively.

Tips for writers of Letters of Recommendation

The best letter writers have significant knowledge of the applicant, including time as a major advisor, supervisor, or mentor, especially in research-related activities. Successful letters of recommendation highlight experiences and potential in one or more of these categories: academics, research, community building, and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Together, letters of recommendation should clearly illustrate the candidate’s depth of skill, demonstration of excellence, creativity, leadership, initiative, perseverance, and ability to work independently and collaboratively.

Brief overview of degree programs

There are multiple graduate programs in Oceanography offered through URI-GSO.

  • Doctorate (Ph.D.) focused on biological, chemical, geological, or physical oceanography
    • Typically 5-6 years to complete
    • Annual stipend (~$37,000 for Level 1 full time appointment), health benefits and tuition covered
    • Involves course work, comprehensive exam, research credits, thesis proposal defense, research cruise (minimum 5 days at sea), and final thesis defense
  • Masters of Science (M.S.) focused on biological, chemical, geological, or physical oceanography
    • Typically 2-2.5 years to complete
    • Annual stipend (~$37,000 for Level 1 full time appointment), health benefits, and tuition covered
    • Involves course work, research credits, thesis proposal defense, research cruise (minimum 5 days at sea) and final thesis defense
  • Joint Ph.D. in Oceanography and Masters of Marine Affairs
    • Typically 6 years to complete
    • The program in Marine Affairs focuses on ocean/coastal management, policy, and law, and the joint degree program prepares scientists with policy knowledge and skills needed in many contemporary professional positions, both inside and outside of government
    • Students who successfully complete the M.M.A. degree may transfer up to six credits from that program into the oceanography Ph.D.
  • Masters of Oceanography (M.O.) in program tracks of fisheries, coastal systems, ocean data and technology, or general oceanography
    • Can be completed in one calendar year as a full time student
    • Does not cover stipend, healthcare, or tuition
    • Students complete 30 graduate-level credits and an internship or capstone project but do not complete a master’s thesis.
    • This program is geared towards professionals in non-research fields (e.g., maritime companies in consulting, construction, shipping, resource and energy development, port management, the uniformed marine services – Navy, Coast Guard, and NOAA Corps, government agencies, and environmental organizations) who would benefit from graduate oceanography education but do not intend to conduct oceanographic research
    • The 5th-Year MO program is available to URI undergraduates who wish to begin earning credits toward an M.O. while they work on their bachelor’s degree.
  • Online Masters of Oceanography
    • Typically 2 years to complete in 7-week asynchronous sessions that can be completed while working full time.
    • Students complete 30 graduate-level credits
    • This program is geared towards professionals in non-research fields (e.g., maritime companies in consulting, construction, shipping, resource and energy development, port management, the uniformed marine services – Navy, Coast Guard, and NOAA Corps – government agencies and environmental organizations) who would benefit from graduate oceanography education but do not intend to conduct oceanographic research
  • Blue MBA
    • Typically 2 years to complete
    • Dual-degree program that merges the Master of Business Administration (MBA) with the Master of Oceanography (MO)

Funding Options at URI-GSO

    • Acceptance into URI-GSO Graduate Programs in Oceanography is separate from funding support. It is imperative that prospective students maintain open communication with prospective advisors about funding plans.
    • Funding is often one of the biggest barriers to graduate school. We get far more excellent applications than we have funds to support. We highly recommend contacting potential advisors early (e.g., late summer, early fall of the year you plan to apply) to discuss funding options, explore fellowships etc.
    • Examples of typical funding options
      • Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA):
        • Students on GRAs are funded through research grants obtained by the major advisor and come with expectations of conducting graduate research related to the funded work.
      • Teaching Assistantships (TA):
        • Students funded on TAs are paid by the University to assist in delivering course work.
        • TA-ing one course provides stipend, tuition, and health benefits for one semester, plus half of the following summer, TA-ing two courses in a year covers the full year (including summer) of stipend, tuition, and health benefits.
        • While TA-ing is an option in the URI-GSO graduate program, our program has limited TA allotments and we do not expect, nor could we facilitate, students TA-ing their way through their graduate program. TAs are typically reserved for current students and not typically available as funding for incoming students.
      • Fellowships: Students are highly encouraged to apply for graduate fellowships. To do so, prospective students should contact potential advisors early (e.g., late summer, early fall of the year you plan to apply) to discuss potential fellowship options and application procedures
        • Internal URI Fellowships: URI has several highly competitive internal fellowships. Major advisors nominate prospective students using the prospective student’s application material. These URI graduate fellowships cover two years of stipend, tuition, and health benefits.
          • Presidential Doctoral Fellowship
            • Domestic and international students eligible
            • In recognition of achievements and promise as researchers and scholars
          • Dean’s Diversity Fellowship
            • Domestic students from minoritized backgrounds eligible
              • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in higher education (Hispanic or Latino, Black or African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander)
              • First-generation college students (neither parent has a college degree)
              • Individuals of a gender identity underrepresented in the student’s intended field of study
              • Veterans
              • Individuals managing a disability
            • In recognition of achievements and promise as researchers and scholars
          • External Fellowships: There are a number of potential external fellowships. These fellowships usually require developing a personal essay, a research proposal, multiple letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a CV. These fellowships typically provide multiple years of graduate stipend and tuition support and are highly competitive. For example:

For More Information

Admissions Advisor

Academic Affairs/Dean's Office

401.874.6246mclark@uri.edu