Scripps Graduate Degree Program

Doctoral Degrees

The Department of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers graduate instruction leading to a Ph.D. degree in Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Earth Sciences. The Doctor of Philosophy degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a research-oriented degree, which requires individual study and specialization within Oceanography, Marine Biology, or Earth Sciences. A student's work normally will be concentrated in one of eight curricular programs within the department.

These programs are applied ocean science, biological oceanography, climate sciences, geosciences, geophysics, marine biology, marine chemistry and geochemistry, and physical oceanography. The interdisciplinary nature of research in marine and earth sciences is emphasized: students are encouraged to take courses in several programs and departments, and to select research problems of interdisciplinary character.

Candidates are recommended for the doctorate in recognition of having mastered in depth the subject matter of their discipline and having demonstrated the ability to make original contributions to knowledge in their field of study. More generally, the degree constitutes an affidavit of critical aptitude in scholarship, imaginative enterprise in research, and proficiency in communication, including practice in teaching.

Earthquake Science and Applied Geophysics Joint Doctoral Program with SDSU

A joint graduate group from the Geophysics Program of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Geological Sciences at San Diego State University (SDSU) offers a Joint Doctoral Program in Geophysics. The complementary specialties and ongoing, vigorous collaborations between the two groups result in two focus areas: earthquake science and applied geophysics. Integrating geophysics at UCSD and SDSU will provide outstanding opportunities for students to develop the skills needed to address important local, regional, and global societal problems where geophysics can contribute to the solutions. Strong capabilities will be in:

  1. earthquake-hazard investigations (incorporating tools such as observational and computational seismology, airborne and satellite-based geodesy and remote sensing, and earthquake geology), and
  2. energy, resource, and environmental exploration methods (mainly land and marine seismology and electromagnetics).

Graduates of the program will be prepared to begin rewarding geophysics careers and assume leadership roles as university faculty, government scientists, and industry researchers. Joint UCSD and SDSU committees will administer and monitor the admission, advising, evaluation, graduation, and all other academic processes related to the joint doctoral program. Students will spend at least one academic year of residency at each campus. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Geophysics will be awarded upon completion of the program in the names of The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UCSD and The Trustees of the California State University on behalf of SDSU. Prospective applicants will apply through SDSU. More information can be found at the San Diego State University website,

Concurrent Ph.D./M.B.A. Program

The Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers a concurrent degree program allowing interested Ph.D. students to complete an M.B.A. at the Rady School of Management. Students who are admitted to Scripps may, with the consent of their academic advisor, apply to Rady, through the usual admissions process, to begin the M.B.A. program no earlier than after the completion of their departmental exam, and no later than the fall quarter following their advancement to candidacy, in line with specific plans developed with their Scripps faculty advisors. An extensive independent study, jointly supervised by Scripps and Rady faculty, enables the student to develop linkages between Scripps and Rady studies. Interested students are encouraged to consult early with Rady M.B.A. Admissions and with their Scripps academic advisors.