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Degrees Offered: Ph.D., M.Sc.



S. Allen, R. Andersen, R. Francois, M. Maldonado, E. Pakhomov, R. Pawlowicz, C. Suttle, P. Tortell.

Professors Emeritus

W. Hsieh.

Associate Professors

S. Crowe, K. Orians, S. Waterman.

Assistant Professor

B. Hunt.

Program Overview

Oceanographers investigate both fundamental and applied problems relating to the physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and geology of the sea, often working across traditional academic disciplines. Research carried out both independently and in collaboration with federal government laboratories occurs in many different oceanographic regimes, including coastal BC fjords, the inland sea of the Strait of Georgia, open ocean regions of the Subarctic Pacific, and many other locations, including the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. The types of problems that can be studied include fundamental questions about the flow of stratified fluids at scales ranging from tens of meters to thousands of kilometers, applied research in estuaries, coastal, and deep-ocean processes, general ocean circulation and climate change issues, marine chemistry, geochemistry, and biogeochemistry, natural product chemistry, marine viruses, fisheries oceanography, plankton ecology and physiology, and primary production of the sea. The Department is well equipped to carry out research in the field (using either its own boat or larger vessels in the oceanographic fleet), at the laboratory bench, and in the numerical heart of a computer. Most problems involve aspects of all three.

Students in Oceanography may select courses, depending on their interest, from the following areas of specialization:

  • biological oceanography
  • marine chemistry and geochemistry
  • physical oceanography and atmospheric sciences

Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge by taking courses outside their area of specialization. Courses related to Oceanography are also offered in the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Geography, Physics and Astronomy, and Zoology.

Oceanography students normally begin their studies in September but may sometimes arrange to start their thesis/dissertation work in the summer before their first Winter Session. A student wishing to do graduate work in Oceanography should first discuss the proposed program with appropriate faculty in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program normally possess a master's degree in an area of science or applied science, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Transfer from the master's to the Ph.D. program is permitted under Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. program consists of appropriate coursework chosen in consultation with the student's committee. All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research dissertation meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

Master of Science

Admission Requirements

Students admitted to the M.Sc. degree program normally possess a bachelor's degree in an area of science or applied science, and must meet the general admission requirements for master's degree programs set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Program Requirements

The M.Sc. program consists of 12 credits of thesis and 18 credits of coursework, or 30 credits of coursework and an essay (EOSC 548, 3 credits).

Contact Information

Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
2020-2077 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604.822.2713
Fax: 604.822.6088

The University of British Columbia

Student Services
Vancouver Campus
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Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1

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