College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

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  • Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Major

    Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

    Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences is an interdisciplinary graduate major that first introduces students to the elements of the Earth system and the processes of mass and energy flow among them through a set of core/breadth courses. Students then pursue focused graduate course work and research in the following concentration areas, directed by their program committee.

    For more information see:

    For guidelines on how to apply, see Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program Application Instructions.

    Atmospheric Sciences Concentration

    The field of atmospheric science is inherently interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, math, and computational methods. Increasingly, atmospheric science has been expanding to include studies of the effect of the climate on humans (e.g., health) and vice versa. Scientists can focus on field work, satellite data analysis, modeling, or lab work, though many atmospheric scientists use a variety of methods to understand the atmosphere, and they study processes ranging from global to microscale. Atmospheric scientists also study the relationships between the atmosphere and other climate system components (oceans, sea ice, vegetation, etc.).

    See Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program.

    Geophysics Concentration

    Geophysics is concerned with physical processes within and on Earth, especially the internal physical constitution of the planet, and seismic, gravitational, geothermal, geoelectrical, geomagnetic phenomena and their relation to geological processes. The geophysics concentration offers graduate work toward MA, MS and PhD degrees. Candidates should have an undergraduate degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, geology, or geophysics. Mathematics through differential equations is required and mathematical physics is desirable. Graduate Record Exam scores are required of all applicants. Opportunities for research exist on a wide range of geophysical problems in marine and continental regimes, emphasizing experimental, applied, and theoretical aspects.

    See this course plan sheet for differences between the OEAS Geophysics concentration and Geology degree.

    Oceanography Concentration

    Oceanography, the application of the sciences to the study of the oceans, is an interdisciplinary environmental science concerned with all processes: biological, chemical, geological, and physical, as well as the interactions between the ocean. The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences graduate major offers MA, MS and PhD degrees with a concentration in oceanography.

    For all areas in oceanography, applicants should have a strong quantitative background and an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of science or engineering and one year each of chemistry, physics, and calculus. Prior background in oceanography is not essential.

    In geological oceanography (marine geology), a broad range of geological processes that influence the ocean is studied. Fields of interest include plate tectonics and the structure of the ocean basins, igneous petrology and geochemistry, paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, and coastal sedimentary processes. Candidates show strength in one or more of these fields: earth science, chemistry, physics, biology or mathematics.

    See this course plan sheet for differences between the OEAS Geological Oceanography concentration and the Geology degree.

    Physical oceanography research covers the physical processes in the sea, exchange of energy and momentum at the air-sea interface, and the transmission and absorption of energy in the sea (e.g., light, heat, and sound). Circulation, tides, waves, heat content, and density distributions are some of the other phenomena of particular interest. Candidates should have an undergraduate major in physics, mathematics, or engineering.

    See Physical Oceanography Graduate Program.

    See Guidelines for Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry Graduate Student Applicants.

    Program Coordinator: Robert Allan