For five decades, studies of the ocean and marine environments have been a central focus of research and teaching at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). Located on the water's edge at the University’s Narragansett Bay Campus, GSO is an internationally respected oceanographic institution with a longstanding seagoing tradition. Founded in 1936 as the URI Narragansett Marine Laboratory, and reorganized as the Graduate School of Oceanography in 1961, GSO is the state's center for marine studies and cutting-edge research and outreach. GSO was founded as an institution without rigid boundaries between oceanographic sub-disciplines of biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography as well as archaeological oceanography and atmospheric chemistry. The result is a collegial school - an ideal setting for students, faculty and staff to collaboratively address the science questions and challenges of today.
GSO played a major role in creating the National Sea Grant Program and pioneered the integration of research, policy development, and stakeholder involvement in coastal management programs for implementation at local, state, national, and international scales. GSO also carries on a tradition of active public service and outreach programming.
The GSO Dean serves as chief operating officer of the University's Narragansett Bay Campus, comprising more than 200 acres of prime real estate overlooking the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The campus, which was a U.S. Army coastal defense site during the Spanish-American War as well as World Wars I and II, has been the home of the Graduate School of Oceanography since its founding.