The program is designed to provide much flexibility in order to allow students to tailor the program to their individual career objectives. The program of study shall be defined by the student with the approval of the student’s dissertation advisor, the home unit coordinator and the chair of the OSE Graduate Committee. Each student will put together an Essential Knowledge List (EKL) that will articulate the core topics and minimum course requirement for the OSE Ph.D. degree. See the Leadership page to identify the current chair and home unit coordinators.
1. OSE Essential Knowledge List (EKL)
Students enrolled in the OSE program are expected to be trained and knowledgeable in a set of interdisciplinary core ocean science and engineering areas. This training is available through the courses provided in the different schools participating in the program. Students will select one core topic in each of the three participating schools:
|School of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE)
|TOPIC: Coastal & Ocean Mechanics
|TOPIC: Environmental Biotechnology
|School of Biological Sciences (BIO)
|TOPIC: Marine Ecology & Conservation
|TOPIC: Biological & Microbial Oceanography
|School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS)
|TOPIC: Physical and Chemical Oceanography
|TOPIC: Ocean & Climate
The knowledge required for each of these core topics, along with the list of course work, is articulated in the OSE Essential Knowledge List (EKL), which will provide the common foundation for the Comprehensive Exam for all Ph.D. students enrolled in the program. Depending on student background, the program of study may require taking additional courses to be knowledgeable in the core OSE topics. An EKL containing the selection of core topics must be completed and approved by the OSE Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) by the end of the first semester.
In addition to the core topics, the EKL will be expanded to include topics that are relevant to the research area of the student. The expanded EKL must be completed by the end of the second semesters and approved by the Ph.D. Advising Committee (ACom) assigned to the student.
2. Core Courses Requirements
The Ph.D. degree in OSE requires a minimum of 32 semester hours of coursework to cover the core topics articulated in the essential knowledge list (EKL). Students will select a total of 4 core courses from the available list under the core topic (see Course Information) and the OSE seminar for a total of 14 semester hours. The remaining 18 semester hours are distributed between electives (9) and the minor (9). A detail explanation of the core course work and requirements can be found in the Course Information section. Students can request to modify one of the classes associated with the core topics pending approval by their PhD Advising Committee. The requirement of at least one course from each School cannot be altered.
3. Program of Study Approval
The student must file a proposed program of study indicating which courses will be used to fulfill the degree requirements by the end of the second year in the program. The student’s dissertation advisor, the home unit coordinator, and the OSE program director must approve the proposed program of study. A full timeline of the program is available here.
4. Ph.D. Advising Committee
Student and advisor prepare together a set of core expertise anticipated to be important in the student preparation for his Ph.D. research. Based on the core expertise the student will select a 4 member Ph.D. Advising Committee. These include the primary advisor, secondary advisor or mentor if assigned, and 2 more faculty from the OSE group. At least one, preferably two faculty in the committee are outside the primary school.
5. Comprehensive Examination
This examination is designed to ensure the student has achieved sufficient knowledge in core topics of ocean science and engineering as defined by the OSE Essential Knowledge List (EKL). The exam must be attempted by the end of the second year of enrollment in the OSE doctoral program. The exam will be administered by the Ph.D. advising committee and consists of two components.
Written Exam: This written exam encompasses all core areas of Ocean Science and Engineering as defined in the OSE EKL. The EKL will be expanded to include knowledge specific to the candidate’s research. Examinations will cover each of the core topics regardless of home school.
Oral Exam: The written exam will be followed within three weeks by an oral one where the candidate will be further tested on his/her in depth knowledge of the EKL material. The oral examination will include a 15 min presentation of the student’s research progress and goals followed by an open discussion with the examining committee. The goal of this last component is for the Ph.D. advising committee to provide feedbacks on the material to be included in the Thesis Proposal.
6. Thesis Proposal
No later than 6 months after the comprehensive exam, the student will present a Thesis Proposal to the ACom. The Thesis Proposal will follow NSF format requirements: no more than 15 single spaced pages, inclusive of all figures, exclusive of references. The student provides the written proposal together with the Final EKL and the Program of Study to the ACom at least two weeks prior to the proposal presentation. The student will deliver a 30 minute presentation on the proposal’s content. The presentation will be open to the general public and will then be followed by a closed-door discussion with the ACom. The committee will evaluate the quality of the proposal and provide feedback to the student.
7. Doctoral Dissertation
The doctoral dissertation (thesis) forms a central component of the OSE PhD program. The student must demonstrate the ability to perform independent research in collaboration with a faculty advisor that can be defended to a committee of faculty. Therefore, it is expected that all students will publish a minimum of one paper based on their thesis research and that such paper will be at least submitted and reviewed with a positive outcome before their public presentation and defense.
PhD students must make a public presentation and defense of their thesis. The thesis defense consists of a public seminar followed by an oral examination by the student’s ACom, which will serve as the Final Examination Committee. In accordance with university guidelines, the final defense must be administered by a committee of five faculty members, composed of the student’s advisor, three members of the academic faculty of OSE program, and one additional member (who may be external to the OSE program). The thesis defense must be publically announced at least two weeks in advance.