Prospective Graduate Students

Prospective Graduate Students

Rosette Launch

Welcome to the School of Oceanography


The goal of the graduate program at the University of Washington, School of Oceanography is to enable your professional growth through courses and independent research. We accomplish this by providing opportunities for you to design scientific programs, to experience sea-going oceanography, to develop a teaching portfolio in order to be well-prepared for careers in teaching, research, and/or administration in academia, government, and the private sector. With few exceptions, all students are admitted into the Ph.D. program. We have a long history of admitting members of the Coast Guard and Navy into a two-year Masters program. Most students will defend an M.S. as part of their progress to the Ph.D.

Within the school, there are 28 academic faculty members and an additional 40 affiliate or adjunct faculty that can advise the research of graduate students. We have 50 graduate students and 100 undergraduates within the school. The faculty and their laboratories are primarily located in five buildings on campus and at the nearby NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. We are located on the southern and western parts of UW – just a 10-min walk from the center of this large research university. The School also operates two research vessels, the global class R/V Thomas G. Thompson and the regionally focused R/V Rachel Carson, that are both docked adjacent to the Marine Sciences Building.

Although our department is organized by academic options reflecting the basic sciences (i.e. Biological Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Marine Geology and Geophysics, and Physical Oceanography), many of the research programs are interdisciplinary with particular focus on climate change, coastal processes, and extreme environments. Programs associated with the school include a certificate in Program on Climate Change, two Data Science Options, as well as a dual-title PhD degree in Astrobiology.

The school provides opportunities for interested students to develop a teaching portfolio. All graduate students are required to serve two quarters as a teaching assistant for either one of our undergraduate courses or first-year graduate courses, and some graduate students choose to serve as TAs multiple times. 

More information can be found by exploring the pages on the right.  If you have additional questions, you can contact Michelle Townsend, our Graduate Program Advisor, at