A sustainable blue economy requires information to support decisions that enable the maritime industries while maintaining safety and protecting the environment.

Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences offers a compact 15 month Masters program in Operational Oceanography. We provide students hands-on training that will prepare them for jobs spanning the maritime industry, offshore energy sector, local/state/federal agencies, and non-profits. In addition to coursework, students will get real-world experience in the operations center of a U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)-certified ocean observatory.

Rutgers DMCS Students will:

  • Deploy cutting edge technologies including ocean moorings, high frequency radar, underwater autonomous vehicles, buoyancy gliders, surface drifters, and autonomous surface vehicles
  • Learn about numerical forecast models
  • Master state-of-the-art software and data analysis methods for marine data
  • Take on and solve real world ocean observing challenges in collaboration with industry, government, and academic partners
  • Write a thesis and submit an abstract to the Marine Technology Society OCEANS meeting

Today’s students in marine science will be challenged over their professional lifetimes with powering a blue economy to serve a growing global population that is increasingly concentrated at the world’s coastlines. The next generation will be required to do this while the climate is changing, sea level is rising, the ocean is acidifying, and extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and severity.

An on-going revolution in ocean Big Data, from models and observations, provides an enormous opportunity for ocean data-literate students to harness information to benefit marine industry, policy, and society.

In an effort to build capacity to meet these needs, Rutgers University has begun a new Masters track in Operational Oceanography. The program aims to meet the workforce needs of the emerging blue economy through hands-on training in cutting edge ocean technology. The program focuses on practical training in the collection, analysis, and communication of ocean observing system data. Through a combination of course work and research students will gain the knowledge and experience necessary for jobs spanning the maritime industry, offshore energy sector, local-state-federal agencies, and ocean-focused non-profits. The compact 15-month program is built around hands-on experience with the operations of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)-certified ocean observatory at Rutgers. Our expectation is that upon completion of the program students will have knowledge and experience with the full life cycle of ocean data and with cutting-edge ocean technologies. Students will have the ability to bring these skills to bear on real-life problems related to maritime safety, conservation, and industry, and to meet global challenges.

Coursework is expected to begin with an introductory summer course (3-credits) covering common ocean data analysis software used daily in the field. The program will continue through two semesters of coursework and research, culminating with a thesis submission and defense in the second summer. Each semester will include three (3-credit) courses which will cover a wide range of ocean observing technologies and will include both lecture and hands-on laboratory components. Students will also participate in independent research (3-credits) during each semester building towards a thesis submitted during the second summer.

Coursework is expected to begin with an introductory summer course (3-credits) covering common ocean data analysis software used daily in the field. The program will continue through two semesters of coursework and research, culminating with a thesis submission and defense in the second summer. Each semester will include three (3-credit) courses which will cover a wide range of ocean observing technologies and will include both lecture and hands-on laboratory components. Students will also participate in independent research (3-credits) during each semester building towards a thesis submitted during the second summer.

Summer Session III:
16:712:509 INTEGRATED OCEAN OBSERVING – SOFTWARE BOOTCAMP
The aim of the course is to introduce some widely used software tools and teach basic coding practices. The goal is to help students jump start research by acquiring the skills to work efficiently with their data. Topics to be covered include: Jupyter notebooks/lab, the Unix shell: interacting with your computer programmatically and reproducibly, Python programming (including common geoscience libraries: numpy, matplotlib, pandas, xarray, cartopy …), version control (git), accessing public earth science datasets. The course will assume no prior coding experience and is aimed at beginners. The course will aim to build a solid programming foundation to accelerate your data analysis. The course will culminate in a project of each student’s choosing. Ideally this will be a task that directly builds on/complements your research.

Fall Semester:
16:712:505 Integrated Ocean Observing 1:
The course exposes students to a wide range of operational data streams anchoring ocean forecasting with hands on training using Eulerian tools and time series approaches.

16:712:507 Field Laboratory Methods 1:
This field course provides hands-on training in the field. The focus will be on providing a range of practical skills for the remote sensing and fixed point ocean data systems.

16:712:510 Operational Ocean Modeling/Visualization 1:
Course provides an overview of the major modeling and numerical tools with a focus on using operational modeling systems, running the models, and using model outputs as a synthesis tool.

Spring Semester:
16:712:506 Integrated Ocean Observing 2:
The course exposes students to a wide range of operational data streams anchoring ocean forecasting with hands on training using Lagrangian tools and time series approaches.

16:712:508 Field Laboratory Methods 2:
This field course provides hands-on training in the field. The focus will be on providing a range of practical skills for using mobile autonomous systems.

16:712:511 Operational Ocean Modeling/Visualization 2:
Course uses the major modeling and numerical tools that will be used to inter-compare regional and global models outputs as well as comparing the model/data comparisons.

A baccalaureate degree in marine science or related field. Students will have taken (or will take) Physical Oceanography  (16:712:501) and Biological Oceanography (16:712:520 or 522), or equivalent, and thus will need to meet the prerequisites for those courses, which may be found here: https://marine.rutgers.edu/main/grad-course-listing

The deadline for application for the next cohort is January 1. The program begins in Summer Session III each year.

To apply, visit:  http://gradstudy.rutgers.edu/ . This program is a track within the Oceanography (MS) degree in the School of Graduate Studies – please use that application form. However, note that the GRE is NOT REQUIRED for this track.

Application requirements include: a Personal Statement, official undergraduate transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.

For more information about the Masters of Operational Oceanography, please contact Nicholas Beaird.