Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres

The Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres discipline contains two core subprograms, Physical Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences.

Physical Oceanography is the study of the physics of the ocean. It includes the study of physical processes acting across the ocean boundaries at the sea floor, coast, and sea surface, and of the ocean's role in the Earth's climate system. Ocean physical processes span a wide range of space and time scales, from turbulence at scales of millimeters and seconds to global circulations at scales of thousands of kilometers and centuries or longer.

The Atmospheric Sciences group focuses on ocean-atmosphere interaction, climate variability and change, and atmospheric boundary layer processes. Advances in understanding and simulating atmospheric boundary layer processes directly support applications to geographically localized studies of climate and weather, which is of particular value to agriculture, forestry, and the economic development of the Pacific Northwest. Major research initiatives in the area of climate variability and change require expertise in observing and modeling of physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. Critical to all of the areas is the expansion of modeling and observing capabilities in atmospheric meso-scale, boundary layer, and cloud processes.


Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres



The academic program in Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres at Oregon State offers Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences with concentrations in Atmospheric Sciences and Oceanography. The program is currently seeking students with an undergraduate degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, chemistry, atmospheric science, or related fields with strength in mathematics. Applicants should have completed one year of physics with calculus, one year of chemistry, and courses in vector calculus and differential equations. Courses in probability and statistics are also desirable. An interdisciplinary doctorate is available. Most students accepted for study receive Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) covering tuition and living expenses. Numerous GRA openings are available each year and are best investigated by first contacting individual faculty members whose research aligns with your interests. See the following pages for more information:

Research Institutes, Centers, Groups, and Data