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Program Description and Organization

Program Description

The MIT-WHOI Joint Program provides a high quality education leading to an internationally-recognized doctoral degree awarded by both institutions. The Joint Program is organized within five disciplines (described below), each administered by a Joint Committee consisting of MIT and WHOI faculty members.

The Joint Program offers a master’s degree program for U.S. Naval Officers, and more than 85 officers have received this degree dating back to the first award in 1970. With the exception of the U.S. Naval Officers program, students are not admitted to the Joint Program for a Master’s degree. However, a Master’s degree can be awarded in all programs on the way to a doctoral degree or as a terminal degree.

The Joint Program is an ocean science program in the broadest sense. Student research projects extend beyond ocean science into earth science, hydrology, glaciology, marine conservation, and environmental chemistry, to name a few. Coursework in marine policy is not mandated by any of the Joint Committees, although there are opportunities to take policy courses at MIT and Harvard. In addition, WHOI has a Marine Policy Center, and its faculty lead informal seminars on marine policy as well as serve on thesis committees.

Joint Program students have access to courses, programs and resources at one of the top oceanographic research institutions in the world (WHOI), one of the top research universities in the world (MIT), and they have the opportunity to take courses at Harvard. In addition to seminars and lectures by visiting scientists from all over the world, students can expand their intellectual horizons by taking courses or participating in programs well outside their main area of focus.

The Joint Program is committed to providing five years of tuition and stipend support to every student who is admitted, assuming satisfactory progress in the program. The Joint Program also has funds to help students attend scientific meetings, conferences, and special courses and to support student research. The Joint Program provides transportation options between the two campuses as well as housing at MIT and at WHOI for qualified students.

Organization: JP Structure and Interdisciplinary Research

JP Disciplines and Departmental Structure: Each Joint Program student is associated with one primary discipline and is a member of one MIT Department and one WHOI Department. This structure allows each student to have a "home base" but also provides flexibility to support interdisciplinary research (described below)

JP DisciplineMIT DepartmentWHOI Department
Applied Ocean Science and Engineering (AOSE)Aeronautics and Astronautics (Aero-Astro), Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), OR Mechanical Engineering (MechE)
Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering (AOP&E)
Biological Oceanography (BO)Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS); Biology; OR Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)Biology
Chemical Oceanography (CO)Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS); OR Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (MC&G)
Marine Geology and Geophysics (MG&G)Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS); OR Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)Geology and Geophysics (G&G)
Physical Oceanography (PO)Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS)Physical Oceanography (PO)

Interdisciplinary Research: Many students conduct interdisciplinary research; common interdisciplinary themes include climate science and coastal processes. The Joint Program leadership works to support and accommodate students with interdisciplinary interests (see interdisciplinary statement and thesis examples). Thesis committees frequently include faculty members from multiple disciplines, such as biologists and engineers, chemists and geologists, or physical oceanographers and biologists .