Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences is an interdisciplinary graduate major that first introduces students to the elements of the Earth system and the processes of mass and energy flow among them through a set of core courses. Students then pursue focused graduate course work and research in the following concentration areas, directed by their program committee.
The field of atmospheric science is inherently interdisciplinary, requiring knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, math, and computational methods. Increasingly, atmospheric science has been expanding to include studies of the effect of the climate on humans (e.g., health) and vice versa. Scientists can focus on field work, satellite data analysis, modeling, or lab work, though many atmospheric scientists use a variety of methods to understand the atmosphere, and they study processes ranging from global to microscale. Atmospheric scientists also study the relationships between the atmosphere and other climate system components (oceans, sea ice, vegetation, etc.).
Geophysics is concerned with physical processes within and on Earth, especially the internal physical constitution of the planet, and seismic, gravitational, geothermal, geoelectrical, geomagnetic phenomena and their relation to geological processes. The geophysics concentration offers graduate work toward MA, MS and PhD degrees. Candidates should have an undergraduate degree in physics, mathematics, engineering, geology, or geophysics. Mathematics through differential equations is required and mathematical physics is desirable. Graduate Record Exam scores are required of all applicants. Opportunities for research exist on a wide range of geophysical problems in marine and continental regimes, emphasizing experimental, applied, and theoretical aspects.
Oceanography, the application of the sciences to the study of the oceans, is an interdisciplinary environmental science concerned with all processes: biological, chemical, geological, and physical, as well as the interactions between the ocean. The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences graduate major offers MA, MS and PhD degrees with a concentration in oceanography.
In geological oceanography (marine geology), a broad range of geological processes that influence the ocean is studied. Fields of interest include plate tectonics and the structure of the ocean basins, igneous petrology and geochemistry, paleoceanography and paleoclimatology, and coastal sedimentary processes. Candidates show strength in one or more of these fields: earth science, chemistry, physics, biology or mathematics.
Physical oceanography research covers the physical processes in the sea, exchange of energy and momentum at the air-sea interface, and the transmission and absorption of energy in the sea (e.g., light, heat, and sound). Circulation, tides, waves, heat content, and density distributions are some of the other phenomena of particular interest. Candidates should have an undergraduate major in physics, mathematics, or engineering.