Skip to content

Applied Ocean Science and Engineering

Applied Ocean Science & Engineering is a discipline that combines basic research on a wide range of oceanic processes with applied research and engineering design of systems for the exploration, measurement, mapping, prediction, and beneficial use of the oceans.

From theory to application

In the Joint Program, knowledge acquired in the classroom can be immediately applied to seagoing research on oceanic processes and engineering. For example, AOSE students:

  • Take courses on information theory and apply that theory to quantify the information content of whale sounds.
  • Attend lectures on the control of dynamic systems while applying advanced control concepts to the navigation and maneuvering of autonomous underwater vehicles.
  • Take theoretical courses on oceanic processes while participating in field programs designed to quantify ocean variables that have never before been measured.

Breadth of opportunity

The educational opportunities in AOSE in the Joint Program are unparalleled in breadth and depth. Four MIT departments—Civil Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Aeronautics and Astronautics—join the WHOI department of Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering in the Joint Program discipline of AOSE.

The diverse faculty in these departments provide a wide range of course offerings in several disciplines as well as a correspondingly wide range of research opportunities for graduate students. For example, Joint Program research on acoustics ranges from using sound for the quantification of the smallest scales of oceanic salinity variations to understanding the bewildering physics of sound transmission across the Pacific. Research on physical-biological interactions ranges from elucidating the mechanics of squid propulsion to understanding the processes that lead to the harmful algal blooms ("red tides") that affect human health. Research on signal processing ranges from obtaining holographic images of marine microorganisms to developing technologies for obtaining quantitative images of undersea archaeological sites.

Looking forward

Finally, graduate education in AOSE in the Joint Program opens doors. Graduates of this program have pursued a variety of ocean-related careers in academia, industry, and government. In addition, because of the rigor and generality of the educational program and the intellectual training obtained from the research experience, graduates of this program have successfully pursued a variety of non-ocean-related careers.