Why Choose Scripps?

Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a world leader in marine and earth science research and education.  With over 75 years of graduate and undergraduate education, Scripps offers marine and earth sciences programs internationally recognized for their excellence. Capitalizing on the research and technical expertise of over 500 faculty, researchers and other academics on campus, a degree from Scripps is like no other.

Investigators at Scripps bring in nearly $150 million of research funding each year.  They have access to a wide suite of state-of-the-art research facilities and are routinely recognized for their accomplishments, including 3 Nobel Prize winners, 2 National Academy of Engineering members, and 18 National Academy of Science members.

Study at Scripps affords you access to unique and unparalleled opportunities:

  • Cutting edge research with first-rate faculty
  • Access to research vessels and the ability to conduct fieldwork from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and all the places in between
  • Promotion of excellence through research and travel grants provided by the Department
  • A network of illustrious alumni positioned throughout the globe

Scripps graduate degrees are organized into three academic programs: the Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Program (COAP); the Geosciences of the Earth, Oceans and Planets Program (GEO); and the Ocean Biosciences Program (OBP). Below are testimonials from current graduate students in each of the programs.  While everyone has their own reason for choosing Scripps, faculty excellence and research opportunities are nearly universal reasons provided.

Jeff Campana - Applied Ocean Sciences (AOS)

Why did you choose Scripps?

As an undergraduate student at UCSD, I was involved in a team project that designed, built and raced human-powered submarines. This project raised my awareness of the oceanographic engineering world and led me to pursue a graduate degree in the field. The labs I visited at SIO made it obvious to me that Scripps was the place I wanted to study.

What is your research focus with the Applied Ocean Science group (AOS)?

My focus is on the use of X-Band nautical radar to study currents from both shore and ship-based operations. I would like to continue to work in a laboratory setting and eventually end up in the classroom as a professor.

Ryan Scott - Climate Sciences (CS)

Why did you choose Scripps?

Aside from its superb location, I chose Scripps due to the opportunity presented to me to pursue my desire to understand and conduct research on the interrelationship between atmospheric dynamics and cloud processes, as well as ocean-atmosphere interactions and geophysical fluid dynamics.

What is your research focus with the Climate Sciences group (CS)?

My research entails studying the physical processes and characteristics of stratiform cloud layers—namely, cloud microphysics and cloud-radiation interactions—during intrusions of marine air over Antarctica.

Julia Fiedler - Physical Oceanography (PO)

Why did you choose Scripps?

In my home state of Hawaii, people have a profound connection to to the ocean.  I recognized that students and researchers had this same bond when I first visited Scripps; they are engaged in the ocean both physically and intellectually.  The community at Scripps fosters a close-knit, friendly and supportive environment.  Also, my office is on the beach, so that's pretty nice.

What is your research focus with the Physical Oceanography group (PO)?

I am studying the physics of infragravity waves and wave run up on beaches in the physical oceanography department with Bob Guza, a well-respected professor of beach and surf zone processes. I plan to remain in academia after I receive my PhD.

A woman in the desert.

Dara Goldberg - Geophysics (GP)

Why did you choose Scripps?

The wide range of research expertise—both within the geophysics curricular group and the wider Scripps community—affords exciting opportunities for collaboration. The first-year course curriculum provides geophysics students with a broad educational background to excel in scientific research.

What is your research focus with the Geophysics group (GP)?

My research focus is earthquake and tsunami early warning using a combination of seismic and geodetic (GPS) instruments. I study seismically active regions around the world to develop algorithms to improve our understanding of earthquake risk, and hopefully help minimize injury and loss of life resulting from natural hazards.

Shannon Klotsko - Geosciences (GS)

Why did you choose Scripps?

Scripps is well known for being the best oceanography school in the country and has great scientists. My advisor was one of the main reasons for coming to school here. Plus, San Diego is awesome and I love the beach.

What is your research focus with the Geosciences group (GS)?

My focus is on using seismic instrumentation (CHIRP) and sonars (multibeam, sidescan) to map the seafloor and subsurface of the seafloor. This allows us to learn about the processes that shape continental margins. This approach is applied to many topics including tectonics, paleoclimate, and biohabitats. I would like to continue doing research after I finish my degree by either working for a university or the federal government.

Brandon Stephens - Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (MCG)

Why did you choose Scripps?

I feel fortunate to be at one of the top oceanographic institutions in the world. While having beautiful San Diego in the backdrop is a nice perk, I came here to work with top researchers focused on globally important topics like that of climate change and carbon cycling.

What is your research focus with the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry group (MCG)?

My research focuses on demonstrating the interconnection between biological and physical processes mediating organic carbon fixation and subsequent distribution throughout the aquatic biosphere. Organic carbon stocks derived from primary production are often decoupled from the longer-term storage pools, and so my work has been dedicated to highlighting the distributions of such organic carbon pools within the Southern California Bight region between recent ENSO cycles.

Jenni Brandon - Biological Oceanography (BO)

Why did you choose Scripps?

I knew I wanted to study marine debris, and there were so few places studying it. Scripps had a lab actively studying it, and resources and funds to help me along. So many other programs would have required me to raise all my own funding or start their marine debris program from scratch. Besides that, Scripps is gorgeous, and the other students are really warm and friendly.

What is your research focus with the Biological Oceanography group (BO)?

I study marine debris and plastic pollution, specifically in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. I study micro debris (the smallest pieces) and I look at how they age and degrade, and how they enter the food web and potentially bioaccumulate.

A man stands by the ocean.

Joshua Stewart - Marine Biology (MB)

Why did you choose Scripps?

Scripps is widely recognized as a leader in marine research, and the institution brings together experts from a wide variety of fields ranging from physical oceanography to microbiology. I knew that I would have to take a multidisciplinary approach to answer the research questions I wanted to focus on for my dissertation, so Scripps was at the top of my list. As a student I've been fortunate to receive training and education in diverse topics related to marine science, helping me better develop my research and providing me with a deep background to understand the patterns I'm observing. At the same time, I can get feedback and advice from experts on just about any aspect of my work. Scripps has been a dynamic and stimulating academic environment for me. I'm glad I landed here! 

What is your research focus with the Marine Biology group (MB)?

I study the population dynamics and spatial ecology of manta and mobula (collectively “mobulid”) rays. Mobulids are being impacted globally by targeted fisheries and incidental capture in large-scale industrial fisheries, and the available data suggest that their populations are declining. However, our understanding of this group of species is surprisingly limited, with very little published data on their basic biology and ecology, and few studies available on population trends. My dissertation work is focused on generating the information necessary to improve global management of these species. This has included identifying movement patterns and stocks of oceanic manta rays, population sizes and trends of oceanic mantas, and the foraging ecology and habitat use of several mobulids. Through my work with the Manta Trust, a non-profit that I helped found in 2011, we've been able to translate many of the findings so far into direct management action around the world.