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Description of Program

Alabama's coastaline is small, but the drainage system into Mobile Bay provides nutrients to one of the nation's richest estuarine environments and adjacent Gulf of Mexico waters. As a result, south Alabama is heavily dependent on a productive well managed coastal region for its continued economic growth and prosperity. The University of South Alabama, cognizant of this natural asset, has developed a graduate program in the marine sciences that is both applied and theoretical. Both, the Master's and the Ph.D. degrees are offered, with emphasis in biological, chemical, physical, and geological oceanography. There is also a strong component of marine and coastal resource management. The program is administered through the Department of Marine Sciences. Degrees are multidisciplinary, required coursework in diverse areas of marine sciences, and are strongly research oriented. However, research is focused, problem oriented, and often with a strong field component.

The program is administered from the main campus in Mobile, but most students and faculty are in residence at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, located about 35 miles south of Mobile. Within a short distance of these locations are diverse habitats, including the Mobile Delta, Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, numerous barrier islands, and open Gulf habitats, including the De Soto Canyon. Thus there are countless opportunities to pursue marine research in these varied habitats, as well as experimental research in any of the several well equipped laboratories in the Sea Lab or on the main campus.

Financial Aid

Fellowships are available annually on a competitive basis. In addition, there are variable number of assistantships that are associated with externally funded grants and other fellowships. The current stipend for master of science fellowships is $17,000-$18,000 for doctoral fellowships is $20,000-$21,000 per year plus remission of tuition and out-of-state fees.


Applications for Fall admission and fellowships support are due by February 1. Enrollment normally begins in the fall semester however spring admissions will be considered on a case by case situation. The admission committee makes initial recommendation by April 1 for fall semester enrollment.

Minimum requirements for consideration for admission are a baccalaureate degree in a discipline related to marine sciences (e.g. biology, chemistry, geology, physics), a GPA of 3.0 (4.0 point system) and GRE General Test score of 300 (verbal and quantitative combined).

For students with an M.S. degree in a discipline related to marine sciences, a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.25 is required for admission to the Ph.D. program. International students must submit an official score of at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

For more information on admission to the University of South Alabama you can visit the Office of Admission website and Apply Here.

Application Materials

You will need to fill an Application for Admission to the Graduate School at the University of South Alabama and an Application for a Graduate Fellowship. Please complete and return these along with the application fee to the Office of Admissions (address on the application form). You are also responsible for having official transcripts from all institutions previously attended, official GRE test scores, three letters of recommendation, and a narrative statement indicating research interests and profession goals, sent to the Office of Admissions.

Students applying to the program are encouraged to contact faculty members conducting research in the areas of interest expressed in the narrative statement since a faculty member must sponsor a student in order for him/her to be accepted into the program. It is your responsibility to obtain a mentor.

Students whose faculty mentor or perspective faculty mentor is in residence at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab should also complete a DISL Fellowship application.

Further Inquiries

Department of Marine Sciences
Life Sciences Building, Room 25
University of South Alabama
Mobile, AL, 36688-0002
Telephone: (251)-460-7136
Fax: (251) 460-7357




University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 460-6101
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Last date changed: March 11, 2015 11:02 AM