About GSO

What is GSO?

Interest in the marine sciences and oceanography at the University of Rhode Island dates back to the mid-1930s when the Narragansett Marine Laboratory was established. With significant reorganization and considerable expansion, the initial marine program became the University’s Graduate School of Oceanography in 1961.

In 1971, the University was designated one of the original group of national Sea Grant Colleges. The Sea Grant College Program, which emphasizes applied marine studies and public service, involves departments and faculty members throughout the University.

In 1989, the Graduate School of Oceanography was named a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center of Excellence in coastal marine studies. Recently, the National Research Council ranked the Graduate School of Oceanography’s Ph.D. program as one of the best in the country and fifth among oceanographic institutions.

More information at https://web.uri.edu/gso/

Narragansett Bay Campus

The Graduate School of Oceanography is located at the Narragansett Bay Campus, six miles east of the URI’s main campus in Kingston. As a center for marine studies, the Bay Campus is ideally situated on the shore of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The R/V Endeavor uses the Bay Campus as its home port and base of operations.

In addition to the Graduate School of Oceanography, the Narragansett Bay Campus is also home to:


Rhode Island Weather

Rhode Island’s proximity to Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean plays an important part in determining the climate. During the period from early June to late August, when the SURFO program occurs, the weather is very pleasant and comfortable. In the winter, the temperatures are modified considerably and many major snowfalls often change to rain before reaching the area. Late summer and early fall occasionally bring hurricane watches to the area.

For June and July:

  • Temperature range: 55 – 100 F during the SURFO Program; average ~75 F.
  • Rainfall: ~3″ of rain each month throughout the year.
  • Winds: generally less than 10 kts, but often with stronger, cooler sea breezes in the afternoon.
  • Water temperature range: ~63 F in June to ~75 F in mid-August.
Swimmers at the beach.
SURFO students swimming at the East beach.

Local Points of Interest

Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay are very popular destinations for summer tourists. Numerous beaches, Newport, Providence, and Block Island are just a few of the attractions that draw people to the region. Other information about points of interest can be found at:

GSO is also conveniently located to many other points of interest (estimated travel time by car):

  • Newport, RI (15 minutes)
  • Providence, RI (30 minutes)
  • Cape Cod (1.5 hours)
  • Boston (1.5 hours)
  • New York City (3-4 hours)

Transportation Centers near GSO:

  • Amtrak Train Station (15 minutes)
  • Wickford Junction MBTA Station (15 minutes)
  • Providence, T.F. Green Airport (20 minutes)
  • Providence Bus Station (30 minutes)

Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA) buses serve the Narragansett Bay Campus vicinity.  Currently, Route 64 buses stop on campus and a Route 14 bus stop is ¾ mi. away. RIPTA statewide maps and schedules are available at https://www.ripta.com/schedules/.  Ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber are available.  Zipcars are available at URI’s main campus (https://www.zipcar.com/universities/the-university-of-rhode-island) and in Newport.