Graduate Program

Geological Sciences

Faculty of the Department of Geological Sciences oversee a vibrant and diverse graduate research program. Our graduate students conduct research on a variety of topics in field settings worldwide. We offer both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, and typically between 25 and 35 graduate students are enrolled in the program.

For more information, please see our application procedures.

Marine Sciences

The Graduate Program in Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 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). Each student entering the program who does not already have an appropriate M.S. degree is admitted as an M.S. student. Occasionally a student who holds a Master’s degree in a field of study that is somewhat remote from marine sciences will be admitted into the program as an M.S. student. Entering students that have earned a M.S. in Marine Sciences or a closely related field will be enrolled directly into the Ph.D. program. 

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.

Our graduate students, many of whom are recipients of NSF, EPA-STAR, DOD, and other prestigious and highly competitive external fellowships, are integral members of research teams and generally go on to successful careers in environmental sciences. Despite our brief history as a curriculum/department, more than 30 of the graduate and undergraduate students and post-docs that have been part of our research program presently hold faculty positions at universities and institutions, including several who are distinguished professors, department chairs, and institute directors. In recent years we have invested even more heavily in recruiting to attract a diverse and high-quality student body.

We increasingly recruit and involve outstanding undergraduates in our research programs. Our involvement in undergraduate education has also dramatically increased. We carry our research activities into the classroom at the undergraduate as well as the graduate level through a multitude of introductory, advanced, and small enrollment seminar courses. We believe one of our great strengths is that we hold our graduate and undergraduate students to a very high standard and that we involve them as active members of research teams.

For more information, please see our application procedures.