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Academics

GSO is one of the largest and most widely known graduate schools of oceanography in the U.S.  More than 80 students are currently enrolled - two-thirds in doctoral programs and one-third in master's programs. GSO students can earn Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the classical areas of oceanography - biological, chemical, geological, and physical - as well as interdisciplinary and related areas such as archaeological oceanography and atmospheric chemistry. A non-thesis Master of Oceanography and a "Blue MBA" in conjunction with URI's College of Business Administration are also offered.

GSO has graduated more than 800 students since its inception 50 years ago.  They are working in academia, industry, government, and environmental organizations in the U.S. and abroad; and engaged in research, teaching, and policy-making. GSO graduates live all over the world - in 42 states and countries.

GSO is strengthened by institutional cooperation at multiple organizational levels. At the University level, our closest synergies are with the College of Engineering through the Department of Ocean Engineering (OE), which is co-located on the Narragansett Bay Campus and supported in part by GSO; and individual programs in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), which rely on many GSO-based facilities, including the Blount Aquaculture Facility. These synergies are expressed through a variety of inter-college, agency, and industrial partnerships.

URI offers Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in the Department of Ocean Engineering. This program specializes in the application of engineering principles and technology to solve problems in the ocean and coastal waters. One of only eight accredited ocean engineering programs in the U.S., the department has an enrollment of nearly 200 students. Specializations include ocean renewable energy from wind, waves, and tides; marine spatial planning, ocean robotics, ocean instrumentation and data analysis, underwater and sub-bottom acoustics, acoustic tomography, marine geomechanics and soil mechanics, marine hydrodynamics, coastal engineering and near-shore processes, marine environmental modeling, ocean drilling, ROVs and AUVs (remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles), and coastal and offshore structures. Ocean engineering courses are supplemented by offerings in mathematics, computer science, other engineering departments (Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, Mechanical and Applied Mechanics), and GSO. Graduate enrollment is open to students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, or other technical disciplines.

The College of the Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), with 97 faculty and over 1,600 students, has undergraduate and graduate programs in biological sciences, geosciences, resource economics, and marine and coastal policy and management.  With specific teaching and research programs - for example, in marine biology, fisheries, aquaculture, ecology, sedimentation, and geology - faculty and students from GSO and CELS participate in a broad range of interdisciplinary activities including research projects, coursework, and seminar programs.  Graduate and undergraduate students participate in courses taught by faculty from both GSO and CELS, with opportunities for even greater interdisciplinary programs in the future. As the two largest research groups on campus, GSO and CELS collaborate to provide the major research infrastructure and intellectual capacity for the marine, environmental, and life sciences at URI.