Joint Program Interdisciplinary Statement
MIT/WHOI Joint Program Students have courses of study and research that are tailored to each student's scholarly interests.
The MIT/WHOI Joint Program's goal is for each student to achieve their full intellectual potential in their chosen area of study and research, either within the more traditional disciplines of ocean sciences and engineering or within interdisciplinary studies incorporating two or more disciplines.
To guide students in this endeavor the MIT/WHOI Joint Program faculty has established five focal areas: biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, physical oceanography and applied ocean physics and engineering. The Joint Committee associated with each focal area provides guidance as to the course of study for incoming students who have strong interests in that focal area.
Many applicants have interests, academic background, and experience that are appropriate for one of these focal areas and they will be admitted to pursue their degree in that area. It is also likely that some incoming students will have, or develop, interests that span two or more of these focal areas. These students will be admitted to the focal area that is most appropriate for their preparation and stated interests. This ensures that the student has a well defined 'home' within the Joint Program.
During the first semester in the Joint Program, as early as practical, each student should assemble and meet with an academic advisory committee to discuss their research interests and formulate a tentative individual course of study. The structure of the advisory committee will be defined by the student's primary Joint Committee, but typically the advisory committee will consist of at least the student's primary research advisor (who may or may not be from the 'home' focal area) and a faculty member from the other institution.
For those students whose research interests significantly overlap two or more Joint Committee focal areas this advisory committee should, at the request of the student and the principal advisor, include faculty from the related focal area(s) at one or both institutions. The individual course of study will lead to a general examination with a format and scope that are both generally consistent with the requirements of the primary focal area's Joint Committee and flexible enough to recognize the individualized aspects of the course of study. The course of study must be approved by the primary Joint Committee, preferably by the end of the first year. The format of the exam also must be determined by the primary Joint Committee, and will be set no later than early in the semester before the exam. It is expected that the advisory committee will guide the student up to and through the general exam, after which the oversight will move to the student's Ph.D. thesis committee, whose membership must be approved by the home Joint Committee. The home Joint Committee will be responsible for monitoring the student's academic progress through the thesis defense.
Version 8. revised (5/14/04)
Examples of Interdisciplinary Academic Studies
Applied Ocean Science and Engineering - Civil Engineering
Physical-biological interactions track
This is the course syllabus followed by a recent PhD graduate who studied the ways in which the ocean's physical environment, especially the flow environment, affects the distribution of marine organisms. This syllabus thus includes a significant fluid mechanics component along with biological oceanography and applied mathematics.
|Term||Course Number||Course Name|
|Fall||1.67||Sediment Transport and Coastal Processes|
Introduction to Coastal Engineering
|12.800||Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean|
|12.801||Steady Circulation of the Oceans|
|12.862||Coastal Physical Oceanography|
|18.085||Mathematical Methods for Engineers I|
|Spring||1.77||Water Quality Control|
|18.086||Mathematical Methods for Engineers II|
|Spring||12.864||Inference from Data and Models|
This PhD student studied the use of acoustic methods as a means to sample marine ecosystems. This course curriclum thus includes components from acoustics/underwater sound, along with mathematical methods and marine ecology.
|Term||Course Number||Course Name|
|18.03||Ordinary Differential Equations|
|12.808||Observational Physical Oceanography|
|Spring||6.041||Probabilistic Systems Analysis|
|18.075||Advanced Calculus for Engineers|
|Fall||12.710||Marine Geology and Geophysics|
|2.066 (formerly 13.851)||Fundamentals and Applications of Underwater Sound|
|12.961||Special Problems in Physical Oceanography|
|Spring||7.440||Introduction to Mathematical Ecology|
|7.431||Coral Reef Fish Ecology|
|Fall||7.434||Time Series Analysis|
|2.691 (formerly 13.871)||Wave Scattering by Rough Surfaces and Randomly Inhomogeneous Media|
|Fall||11.952||Science, Politics, and Environmental Policy|
|Spring||12.961||Modeling the Biology and Physics of the Oceans|