Masters of Operational Oceanography

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 Integrated Ocean Observing. 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
  • Program Description
  • Coursework
The program will focus on practical training in the collection, analysis, and communication of ocean observing system data. Through a combination of course work and research you 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 you will have knowledge and experience with the full life cycle of ocean data and with cutting-edge ocean technologies. You will have the ability to bring these skills to bear on real-life problems related to maritime safety, conservation, and industry.

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:
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.

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

Ocean Data Explorations

Looking for ways to connect your undergraduates in introductory courses with authentic ocean data? RUCOOL provides a range of free, interactive Data Explorations using authentic, raw data that is relevant to various concepts you are already teaching in introductory courses. The Data Explorations are quick (15-20 minute) interactions with data so that you can easily integrate them into your current classroom teaching while increasing your students understanding of the concept.

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Raritan Initiative

The Rutgers Raritan River Consortium (R3C) is a collaborative of faculty, staff and students from across the Rutgers New Brunswick-Piscataway campuses focused on enhancing the student experience, promoting and facilitating interdisciplinary research on Raritan issues, facilitating access to the Raritan, and providing open access to data about the Raritan and its resources. You can find information about the Consortium and the other Rutgers Raritan River Initiatives on our website at