URI launches new master’s degree program in oceanography

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – Jan. 15, 2016 – The University of Rhode Island has launched a new master of oceanography degree program aimed at creating career development opportunities for those working in such industries as fisheries, environmental management, shipping, port operations, energy, military and other job sectors.

“We designed the program to align it with the needs of employers,” said Bruce Corliss, dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “We’re also working to make it logistically feasible for prospective students to enroll and complete the degree requirements while still working full- or part-time.”

The new degree program differs from the traditional master of science degree in oceanography in that it does not require a thesis and its class requirements are somewhat flexible so students can design a course of study that suits the specific needs of their employer or career objectives.

Students may select courses from one of three specific tracks – fisheries, coastal systems, or ocean technology and data – from a range of URI’s academic programs including oceanography, marine affairs, ocean engineering, computer science and geosciences. Students can also participate in an internship or complete a capstone project that may relate to their employer’s activities. Internships may be arranged at such companies as Exxon Mobil, Raytheon, Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Undersea Warfare Center and others.

“We’re also designing the program to make it especially useful for those in the uniformed services,” said Corliss. “So we’re building relationships with the Coast Guard, Navy and the NOAA Corps to encourage their officers to enroll.”

Corliss said that undergraduate students enrolled at URI will also have the opportunity to enroll in some of the courses during their senior year. “In this way they can jumpstart work on a graduate degree and minimize their tuition costs by accelerating the process of earning an advanced degree,” he said.

The new program was developed in consultation with numerous employers throughout southern New England. A workforce development workshop conducted at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus in November and attended by representatives of more than 30 area employers provided insight into how the program may benefit their employees.

Corliss encourages other local businesses to reach out to him to discuss how this and other URI oceanography programs may meet the educational needs of their workers.

Click here for more information about the program or contact the GSO Academic Affairs Office, 401-872-6246 or mclark@uri.edu.

URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography in Narragansett. Photo by Don Bosquet.