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Oceanography Graduate Degree

  • Graduate student research on turtle ecology and conservation on seagrass surveys in the Bahamas

  • Deployment of a sediment trap on-board the RV Roger Revelle

  • Sampling the Yukon River at peak of spring discharge

  • Setup to cultivate phytoplankton under different light conditions

  • Collecting geochemical data on a cruise with GEOTRACES

  • Mentoring graduate students in physical oceanography

  • Experimental setup to measure net community productivity on-board the RV Roger Revelle

  • Biogeochemical studies in the Amazon River Basin

  • PhD Student spotlight: Bryan Keller Article HERE

Click Here
to Apply

Application Deadline:

Fall – January 15th
Spring – October 1st

***The university has waived the GRE for MS applicants until further notice. PhD applicants may apply for waiver consideration.***


Any degree seeking student with at least a B.S. or B.A. degree in a basic science may apply to enter the Master’s program. Most successful applicants without a Master’s degree in oceanography or a closely allied field are accepted into the Master’s degree program. However, such applicants, as well as applicants with Master’s degrees in oceanography or a related field, may also apply directly to the Ph.D. program. Admission to the M.S. or Ph.D. program is granted upon a favorable majority vote of the faculty and upon agreement of a faculty member to act as a major professor.

The candidate for the Ph.D. degree is required to take at least 18 semester hours in areas related to the student’s specialty in addition to the general M.S. requirements. The content of these 18 hours will be determined by the student, their advisor and the student’s supervisory committee. These requirements apply to students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.S. degree in a related field as well as students with an M.S. in Oceanography. Also, all students must take 24 semester hours of dissertation (OCE6980).

If a student is working toward the Ph.D. degree without completing the M.S. degree, the M.S. minimum course requirement of 33 semester hours must be fulfilled as well as the Ph.D. requirements.

Students completing the Florida State University M.S. degree may be readmitted to the Ph.D. program upon a favorable majority vote of the faculty. Each Ph.D. student must be continuously enrolled for at least 24 hours in any 12 month period. (See FSU catalog under Residence for Doctoral Degree, for details.)

Biological Oceanography
Biological oceanogaphers study life in 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 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 and abroad. Our students also present the results of their research at professional meetings all around the globe.

Chemical Oceanography
Chemical oceanographers study the mechanisms that control the distribution of elements and compounds in the atmosphere, ocean, coastal waterways, and sediments on the sea floor.

Physical Oceanography
Physical Oceanography is focused on the interaction between oceans and atmosphere and how that interaction influences and shapes our world.

Professors guide students in their study of wave motions, tides, currents, salinity and temperature of the oceans and how those properties influence weather and climate. Other avenues of study involve the transmission of light and sound through water and the ocean’s interactions with its boundaries at the seafloor and the coast. Physical oceanography requires a basic understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics (the study of fluid motion on a rotating sphere), classical physics, and applied mathematics.

**Prior to submitting an application it is strongly encouraged to contact faculty members with related research interests.**

FSU Office of Graduate Admissions
The Graduate School
Graduate Funding Opportunities
Click here for more information on working and studying at FSU
Click here for more information on living in Tallahassee

Oceanography degree requirements – Current Graduate Handbook

Application Inquries

Application Checklist
Advisor: Jimmy Pastrano
(EOAS 3008C)
Phone: (850) 644-7443

University deadlines may differ. Please refer to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions 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.

PhD Student spotlight: Bryan Keller

Bryan Keller is a PhD student at FSU-EOAS Oceanography and recently got awarded to be a 2020 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow!
Starting in early February, he will be working in the Office of International Affairs for NOAA Fisheries in Washington DC.
Bryan is conducting research around sharks at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory (FSUCML) and has been working along with his advisor Dr. Dean Grubbs who is the Associate Director of research operations at the Marine Lab.


Tracking a nurse shark

Tracking a nurse shark – photo credits: Bryan Keller

Working at Bimini sharklab, studying the social behavior of lemon sharks - photo credits Bryan Keller

Working at Bimini sharklab, studying the social behavior of lemon sharks – photo credits Bryan Keller

Bryan and his advisor, Dr. Dean Grubbs

Bryan and his advisor, Dr. Dean Grubbs


Bryan’s research for his PhD focuses on the spatial ecology of bonnethead sharks.

His work is related to studying the migrations of the bonnethead shark and how sea surface temperature affects their movement patterns, where bonnetheads give birth and how bonnetheads navigate using the earth’s magnetic field.

He is seeking to assess the role of magnetic-based navigation in the seasonal migrations of coastal sharks.
Specifically, the aim of his project is to determine if bonnethead sharks use the earth’s magnetic field as a compass during migration. His research his bases off of a similar study which demonstrated that sea turtles navigate with a “geomagnetic compass”.

In one of the FSUCML’s greenhouse, Bryan built a “magneto-cube” that allows him to finely adjust the perceived geomagnetic field.
Based upon the sharks behavioral responses to different fields, he can determine if they are orienting with geomagnetic cues.


Bryan's "magneto-cube"


Bryan will graduate in May 2020. Before then, he will enter a new chapter of his professional career working with NOAA Fisheries / International affairs. How exciting!!

“I think EOAS is a wonderful department, as it really gives students a unique sense of freedom while completing a graduate degree. For current/future students, my advice would be to develop a comprehensive plan, detailing a course schedule, funding opportunities, and a research outline. While this plan will certainly change, it should help with overall accountability and graduating on time! “ – Bryan Keller

More info:
Bryan 2020 John Knauss Marine Policy Fellow
NOAA Fisheries – International affairs