Skip to content

Program Requirements

The program is overseen by the Joint Committee for Biological Oceanography, which consists of staff members and faculty from WHOI and MIT departments.

To complete a degree in Biological Oceanography, students:

  1. Fulfill core requirements.
  2. Take a general examination at the end of the second year.
  3. Follow an individually designed program leading to an area of specialization.
  4. Prepare a thesis proposal and demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the subject area before the third year.
  5. Submit a dissertation of significant original theoretical or experimental research.
  6. Conduct a public oral defense of the thesis.

Students typically complete the doctoral degree in approximately five years. They are strongly encouraged to enter the program during the summer preceding the first academic year to gain early exposure to the research programs at WHOI.

Through the period of graduate study, each student is required to become familiar with the principal areas of oceanography, in addition to demonstrating a thorough knowledge of at least one area of specialization.

Each student formulates, with the assistance of academic advisors (drawn from both institutions), a program of study involving core courses, more advanced subjects specific to the student's research interest, seminars, and research activities.