Skip to main content

Graduate Program

The Department of Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences and Marine Sciences

Geological Sciences

The graduate program in Geological Sciences hosts a vibrant and diverse community of students who conduct research on a variety of topics in field settings worldwide. Specialties include petrology, isotope geochemistry, aqueous and environmental geochemistry, geomorphology, global hydrology, flood hazard modeling, remote sensing, volcanology, and coastal systems modeling. We offer both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Geological Sciences, and typically between 25 and 35 graduate students are enrolled in the program.

For more information, please see our Graduate Student Handbook or application procedures 

Marine Sciences

The Graduate Program in Marine Sciences provides teaching and research in estuarine, coastal and oceanographic sciences, leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Sciences. Master’s students typically enter the graduate program with a B.S. degree in a basic science or engineering (e.g., physics, chemistry, geology, biology, oceanography, marine sciences, meteorology, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, electrical or mechanical engineering).

Our students specialize in one of the following areas: marine biology/ecology, marine microbiology, marine chemistry, biogeochemistry, marine geology, and physical oceanography. Students whose advisor is located at IMS have the opportunity to move to Morehead City, NC, to work on their research after their first year on campus in Chapel Hill, NC. On average, 35% of entering MASC students move from Chapel Hill to Morehead City after 2 semesters of coursework to focus on research with their major advisor at IMS. Strong and on-going research collaborations between MASC and IMS faculty have further ensured that UNC Marine Sciences students are able to enjoy the advantages of a top tier research university campus and a first rate coastal research institute campus.

Degree requirements include:

  • Introductory courses in Physical Oceanography, Marine Geology, Biological Oceanography and Chemical Oceanography.
  • An interdisciplinary seminar
  • A research seminar
  • A period of study or research at a marine station or on an oceanographic cruise
  • A thesis or dissertation based on original research

Thirty semester hours of coursework are required for the Master’s Degree; no specific coursework requirement is set for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. A faculty committee, chaired by the student’s advisor, oversees his/her degree program.

For information about the degree requirements and typical timeline, please see the Marine Sciences Graduate Student Handbook. For information about applying to the program, please see Application Information