Master of Science (MS)

M.S. Program

The Department of Scripps Institution of Oceanography offers instruction leading to Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in oceanography, marine biology, and earth sciences.

The M.S. degree is for those who have an interest in studying a specific area of marine science.  This self-supporting program consists of at least 36 units, culminating in a master's thesis.  The 36 total units includes 24 units of coursework and 12 units of independent research.  Students typically complete the program in one-and-a-half to two years and should expect to fund themselves through the duration of their program.  Information on UCSD Graduate Student Fees can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Students interested in the M.S. degree should identify potential research topics and potential advisors prior to submitting the application.  Not all Scripps faculty members are available to advise M.S. students, so make sure to discuss the options with a potential advisor before applying.  We have compiled a list of previous research projects here  to illustrate the types of projects completed in previous years.  Please note that potential research projects and advisors are not limited to those on the list; any Scripps faculty member can advise an M.S. student.

The Scripps M.S. program is organized into three separate academic programs: the Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Program; Geosciences of the Earth, Oceans, and Planets; and the Ocean Biosciences Program.  Each  program is responsible for all graduate educational activities in its area, including teaching, advising, and examining. 

A graduate student's work normally will be concentrated in one of several curricular groups under one of the academic programs:

Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Curricular Groups:

Geosciences of the Earth, Oceans, and Planets Curricular Groups:

Ocean Biosciences Curricular Groups:

Admission requirements for the M.S. program are the same as those for the Ph.D. program.


The Fall 2020 application will open on September 9.  The deadline is December 16.  The application site is

Scripps does not admit in the Winter and Spring quarters.

Exceptions for special circumstances will be considered by petition.