Student Life

Students walking in the GSO quadrangle. Photo: Alex DeCiccio.

Tips for Navigating GSO

GSO’s student, faculty, and staff community is friendly and responsive. If you find yourself with a question or in need of something, most students, faculty, and staff will be willing to help.

Below are some tips to get you started in your adventures here.

About Academics

You will no doubt get to meet our Admissions Advisor, Meredith Clark (401.874.6246) here at GSO sometime within your first few weeks as a new student. She is a great resource on how to get started with your education here. Her office is located adjacent to the Dean’s Office in the Ocean Science and Exploration Center Building.

Core Courses

GSO offers four core courses required for most students (see your specific program of study for your course requirements). The four core courses are biological, physical, geological and chemical oceanography, and are usually taken in that order in the first two semesters at GSO. These courses are offered once per semester, but not all other course are. All GSO and URI classes can be found on eCampus.

Student Seminar

All students must register for Seminar in Oceanography (OCG 695) every semester. In this course, students present their research once per year beginning with their second year. The goal of seminar is to 1) share your work with the GSO community to gain feedback and comments on your research, and 2) to develop your public speaking skills. Student Seminar is unique to GSO, and helps prepare graduates for conferences and lectures later in their careers. The Student Seminar schedule is posted here.

Student ID

You can obtain your student ID in the Memorial Union building on the main URI Kingston campus.

Email and Technology

Students are automatically assigned email accounts upon admission. Bob Sand,  (401.874.6266) handles IT issues at the Bay campus. His office is in the Computer Center at the bottom level of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center Building here at GSO.

Food and Beverage

The Nautilus Galley, operated by the local Roch’s Fresh Foods, is located on the bottom floor of the Ocean Science and Exploration Center Building building. Roch’s offers a menu of lunch and snack items from 11am until 2pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Tips on Moving to and Living in Rhode Island

Now that you are a part of GSO’s exciting community, you need housing!

Finding a Place to Live

Bridge in the Sun
The Newport Bridge, visible from the Bay Campus, glows in the afternoon sun.

There are several useful resources for locating housing near GSO.

Keep in mind that it is easier to find an academic rental in Rhode Island due to the heavy summer tourist season. Yearly rentals are available, but require a little more searching. The Office of Commuter Housing often has listings for both shared and vacant properties (mostly academic year), and allows you to search for potential roommates.

Southern Rhode Island is known locally as South County. This includes the area surrounding GSO. Also in Rhode Island, there are often villages within other towns (i.e. Kingston and Wakefield are actually part of the town of South Kingstown. Wickford is a village within North Kingstown). It may seem confusing at first, but soon enough you will be able to navigate through our part of the state pretty easily.

The towns closest to the GSO (within 15 minutes of the Narragansett Bay Campus) are:

  • Narragansett (including GSO, Narragansett Pier, Bonnet Shores, Point Judith – Scarborough Beach, Galilee, Great Island, and Harbor Island)
  • South Kingstown (including Wakefield, Peacedale, Kingston (URI main campus location), and West Kingston)
  • North Kingstown (including Wickford, Quonset, and Saunderstown, just north of GSO)
  • Jamestown (across the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge – Rt. 138 East from the GSO)

A little farther away (20-30 minutes from the Bay Campus):

  • To the North (taking Rt.4/I 95): West Warwick, Warwick, East Greenwich
  • To the East (taking RI-138 crossing Jamestown): Newport and Middletown (these towns are located on Aquidneck Island; there is a $4 toll each way across the Newport Bridge unless you purchase a Rhode Island EZ Pass.
  • To the South and Southwest (via Route 1): Matunuck, East Matunuck/Jerusalem – Snug Harbor, and Charlestown

Over 30 minutes away, you can find:

  • To the North: Providence and surrounding area (E. Providence, N. Providence, Smithfield, Pawtucket), Cranston, Johnston, Bristol, Attleboro area (Massachusetts)
  • To the Southwest: Westerly, Misquamicut/Watch Hill, Richmond


The “South County” area (Charlestown, Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, Hopinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Westerly, and West Greenwich) offers a variety of lodging options.


The South County Tourism Council maintains a listing of hotels, motels, and inns and B&Bs in areas within close proximity to the Narragansett Bay Campus.


Go to for information on state parks in the area that also have campgrounds. You can find state beaches here too.


Chowder & Marching

Boat Burning
The annual Boat Burning, a GSO tradition.

Chowder & Marching (C&M) is a student organization Society at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). Chowder & Marching provides a framework which enhances communication among GSO students, faculty, and administration. The Society identifies and addresses GSO student issues. Academics and funding are high priority issues as well as course offerings, student seminars, curriculum, and assistantships.

The Society also assists with job hunting skills and organizing career forums, and provides information to the student community. The Society works to improve the social environment of the Bay Campus by sponsoring and organizing traditional GSO activities such as the annual Boat Burning, movie nights, sports, and special events (chili cook-off, Halloween party, chowder cook-off, etc.).  The primary source of revenue for C&M is donations at C&M events.

Chowder & Marching maintains a webpage at

You can find Chowder & Marching on Facebook at

You can also contact C&M at


GSO’s Bay Blades and the Niskin Cup

Narragansett Bay Blades Hockey Team - logo and group photo

Since 1981, oceanographers from University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) have faced off in ice hockey matches for a coveted trophy: the Niskin Cup.

Each year, GSO’s Bay Blades and WHOI’s High Stickers play in a home-and-home series, with one game held at URI and the other in Woods Hole. Teams are comprised of students, alumni, faculty, researchers, and staff from the respective entities. Each year’s winner claims bragging rights and the Niskin Cup, a plaque with historical records of each game equipped with a still-functioning Niskin Bottle. The Bottle was donated by its inventor, Shale Niskin, after hearing about the hockey rivalry and the novel method used to identify non-oceanographer “ringer” players. To prove their oceanographic pedigree, players were required to correctly set and trigger the Niskin Bottle.

Games are traditionally held consecutive Saturdays between March and April. Stay tuned for information on this years’ games, and we hope to see you out there rooting for GSO’s Bay Blades!

Check out Niskin Cup photos here!

Think Big We Do

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