Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The student must complete a minimum of 36 credits, with at least 24 credits of course work and 12 credits of dissertation research. Twelve credits of course work must be at the 600 level or above. Coursework completed to fulfill a Master's degree can be applied towards this requirement, up to a maximum of 16 credits. Required course work includes

  1. one seminar course (MEES608 or equivalent) is required for each year in residence (on average);
  2. one approved Statistics course (600 level or higher);
  3. one graduate course representing significant interdisciplinary breadth, outside the student's specialization;
  4. one course or seminar in management, ethics or philosophy of science.
Initial Advisory Meeting

A five member Research Advisory Committee is to be formed during the first semester and meets with the student to discuss the student's progress (mainly coursework, but also basic research interests). This committee will follow the student throughout their tenure in the program.  A report of this meeting must be filed with the MEES Program Office by the end of the student's second semester (Form can be found here). 

Annual Committee Report

Every year that the student is in residence, committee meetings are to be held in order for the committee to review academic and research progress.  Reports of these meetings are due annually to the MEES Program by September 30th.  Annual Committee Report Forms can be found here. 

Comprehensive Examination

The Research Advisory Committee is responsible for administering the comprehensive examination. Since this examination must be successfully completed before the dissertation proposal can be defended, it is in the student's best interests to take the Comprehensive Examination as early as possible in the Program. However, the exam must be taken by the end of the student's sixth semester. This examination is intended to determine whether the student demonstrates sufficient evidence of scholastic and intellectual ability in major and related academic areas. The examination will not be a defense of the research proposal.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

The Proposal Defense is an oral examination on the research proposal administered by the Research Advisory Committee. At least 2 weeks prior to the examination, the student must supply the committee members with a formal research proposal in which the following is detailed: background information, research progress to date (if any), specific objectives, and experimental design of the proposed research.

Advance to Candidacy

In addition to the course requirements below, students must successfully complete both the Comprehensive Examinations and the Defense of the Dissertation Proposal. Once the student applies and is approved to advance, they must nominate a dissertation committee.


In addition to completing at least 12 credits of MEES899, a candidate for the Ph.D. degree will present a public seminar on the dissertation research during the academic year in which the degree will be awarded. Students expecting degrees at the end of the summer must be scheduled for presentation before the end of May. The student and Advisor will be responsible for initiating arrangements through the MEES Office for the date and advertisement of advertisement of the seminar. The seminar will be open to faculty, students, and other interested parties. The final oral defense of the dissertation is conducted by the Dissertation Examining Committee. 

More information can be found on the MEES program website.

Course Title Credits
Core Requirements
Coursework must include the following:24
Seminar in Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences
One approved statistics course
One graduate course outside of the chosen specialization
One course or seminar in Environmental Management
Dissertation Reseach Requirement
MEES899Doctoral Dissertation Research12
Total Credits36