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Academic Programs

Biological oceanogaphers study the ecology of the oceans. Their goal is to obtain a predictive understanding of the activities and distributions of marine organisms, from phytoplankton to apex predators. Current research in the EOAS department focuses on a variety of organisms from microbial communities to large marine mega-fauna at tropical to polar oceans and from the land-ocean interface to deep-ocean. Our research is often interdisciplinary, and uses a variety of approaches, including field observations, laboratory experiments, spatial analysis and theoretical models. The currency of investigations may be the numbers of individuals of various species, the concentration of a nutrient, or the distribution of a gene.

The program allows students to participate in research both in the laboratory and in the field. Many students get to participate in oceanographic cruises and some have the chance to work in the laboratories of our colleagues around the world. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of many of the questions biological oceanographers investigate, we often collaborate with chemical, geological, and physical oceanographers.

Frequently, we collaborate with colleagues at other institutions in this country (e.g. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the University of Washington) and abroad (e.g. Ifremer, France; the University of Southampton, U.K.; Max Plank Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany).

Our students also present the results of their research at professional meetings, for example, Ocean Sciences and the Benthic Ecology meetings.

Research Highlights:

(click on the professor's name to take you to their individual research page.)

Dr. Baco-Taylor

  • ecology, evolution, population genetics, and conservation of benthic marine invertebrates
  • ecology and evolution of chemosynthetic ecosystem fauna, especially those on deep-sea whale falls
  • ecology and island biogeography of seamount fauna, focusing on dep-sea corals

Dr. Huettel

  • ecology of shelf sedimentary environments
  • coastal zone production and consumption processes

Dr. Fuentes

  • marine conservation
  • conservation planning, natural resource management
  • anthropogenic and climate change impacts on marine mega-fauna, especially marine turtles

Dr. Kranz

  • phytoplankton ecology
  • antarctic and tropical oceanic primary production
  • photosynthesis
  • nutrient acquisition by phytoplankton
  • N2 Fixation by cynobacteria

Dr. MacDonald

  • deep ocean extreme communities

Dr. Mason

  • marine microbial ecology

Dr. Stukel

  • the biological pump
  • plankton trophic dynamics
  • the balance of new and export production
  • Th-234 flux
  • biogeochemical modeling





Masters & Ph.D. Oceanography Graduate Program General Guidelines


Graduate Application Info

How to Apply

The application process at FSU is completely online. See the checklist below for required application materials and a link to the online application.

The department admits new students year round, though most of the faculty tend to admit students in spring to begin the following fall.

Department application deadlines for Meteorology are:

  • For Fall admission - January 15th
  • For Spring admission - November 1st


Department application deadlines for Geology are:

  • For Fall admission - January 15th
  • For Spring admission - October 1st

Department application deadlines for all other EOAS programs are:

  • For Fall admission - February 15th
  • For Spring admission - September 15th


University deadlines may differ. Please refer to the FSU Graduate Admissions office for university deadlines. You are advised to submit your application and supporting materials at least three months in advance of the semester you wish to enter. You may apply later than these department guidelines, but there are less likely to be openings available.

For further information about the university admissions process, visit the FSU Office of Admissions. For general information on funding opportunities, news, and events, degree programs, fee waivers, as well as University contact information, visit the Graduate School website. If you have questions about the Oceanography or Aquatic Environmental Science programs, contact the Academic Coordinator.

If you’re interested in specific courses, use the Course Lookup Form to search the Catalog of future, current, and past courses.

Use the following checklist to ensure you have correctly completed the application process: View/Print an Adobe version of this checklist



US or International On-Line Application
(opens in a separate window)
  • Read the instructions for this form carefully
  • Fill out the form completely
  • The online application system will as you for information that his needed both by our department and by the university, including your Statement of Interest
_____ Statement of Interest
  • State your reasons for choosing our department/area and your academic goals
  • You may wish to include information about your academic background and experience
  • This is part of the online application
_____ $30 Application Fee
  • A check or money order should be made payable to The Florida State University
  • This fee is not optional
  • The Office of Graduate Admissions will not process your application without it
  • The Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Science department has no mechanism by which we can request a waiver or pay the fee for you
_____ Official Test Results
  • As soon as possible, request that your GRE (and TOEFL if international) scores be sent to the university
  • FSU’s code is 5219
  • The Oceanography area’s code is 0508
  • The Geology area’s code is 0504
  • The Meteorology area’s code is 0507
  • International applicants must send TOEFL scores
  • These two requirements cannot be waived, postponed, or dismissed
  • The Office of Admissions will not process your application without them

Two Official Transcripts
  • These documents are requried from every university, college or school you have attended
  • The Office of Graduate Admissions will not accept copies


Three Letters of Recommendation
  • There is no specific form for these letters
  • University letterhead is acceptable
  • They may be mailed through the FSU application system or may be mailed directly to the EOAS Department/Oceanography area



It is in your best interest to complete your application as early in the admission season as possible.
Incomplete folders are not considered.


In addition, after reviewing the list of faculty inlcuded in our departmental brochure, you may directly contact the faculty member(s) whose research interests most closely parallel your own. The department does not admit students without a faculty sponsor.