Oceanography, Ph.D.

Oceanography, Ph.D.

The Ph.D. in Oceanography

Oceanography PhD

NASA scientists, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and highly decorated military generals have chosen Florida Tech for their education. Graduate students looking at oceanography doctoral programs should also consider everything that Florida Tech has to offer, including the many distinguished accolades it has received for its excellence in science and engineering education.


The PhD in oceanography program at Florida Tech offers students five areas of specialization:

  • Biological Oceanography—Training with an emphasis on biological aspects including phytoplankton, zooplankton, coral reefs, harmful algal blooms, invasive species, and estuarine restoration.
  • Chemical Oceanography—Studying pollutants to help reverse human damage to oceans, as well as marine and environmental chemistry, including bioremediation and elements integral for biological processes.
  • Coastal Zone Management—Protecting and managing shorelines through research on local and global cause-and-effect relationships of human activities in the development and use of environmental resources in the coastal zone.
  • Geological Oceanography—Discovering the unknown topography of the deepest depths of the ocean through hands-on research on erosion control and coastal margins, marine particle composition, and sea floor acoustics.
  • Physical Oceanography—Using advanced mathematics and engineering for quantitative analysis in research topics such as sea level, waves, currents, salinity, heat storage, and density.

World-Class Faculty That Mentors Students

PhD in oceanography students enjoy a collaborative learning experience at Florida Tech, where professors mentor them in a tight-knit research-based environment. Students develop expertise across a variety of disciplines, making them more attractive to employers. Rigorous courses, excellent laboratories, and valuable field experiences combine to create subject matter experts.

Research Opportunities

When doctoral students choose Florida Tech for a PhD in oceanography over other programs, vast research opportunities are one reason why. Nurturing research projects in their chosen field, students are given many resources (laboratories, internships, and collaborative research experiences) to expand their understanding of oceanography issues. Florida Tech offers a high quality of challenging curriculum and research experiences that students might expect to find at much larger universities in a smaller, more intimate environment.

High-Tech Facilities

In terms of resources, Florida Tech provides a unique array of specialized facilities that other universities might not offer to PhD in oceanography students.

  • The university’s state-of-the-art facilities in the F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center and Instrumentation Center and the F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building include cutting-edge laboratories and research equipment.
  • The Harris Center for Science and Engineering includes a temperature-controlled greenhouse, small mammal and reptile facilities, recirculating systems, and electron microscope suite.
  • The Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center and the oceanfront Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (VBML) work on advancing marine research, education, and outreach. VBML serves as a beachfront field station for the university in support of research and marine sciences teaching.

Superb Location For Oceanography Majors

While some students earning a PhD in oceanography live and work near campus, Florida Tech also attracts students from around the world. The university’s location on Florida’s Space Coast puts it near rich marine environments such as the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon. The lagoon is the most diverse estuary in North America, and miles of Florida coastline provides students with internships and potential employment with many local, state, and national agencies, marine environmental consulting firms, public aquaria, mariculture companies, and private marine research organizations. Additionally, Florida Tech is in the middle of one of the largest high-tech workforces in the United States.


Florida Tech offers a flexible environment for working professionals to attain a PhD in oceanography. According to the US Labor Bureau, oceanography careers (as part of geoscientists) are projected to grow by 16% through 2020.

Jobs will involve such expertise in the study and analysis of ocean currents, water temperature changes, salinity, and ecosystem changes. A PhD in oceanography enhances salary potential and specifically prepares graduates for fulfilling careers in academia or industry.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and NASA have all hired graduates from Florida Tech.