The program has a diverse faculty representing the major oceanographic disciplines: physical, biological, and chemical oceanography, geology and geophysics, and engineering. The faculty are all members of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, established in 1989 to foster interdisciplinary research and coordinate Rutgers' marine and coastal programs.
The M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in physical oceanography, biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, and marine geology. Preference in admission is given to candidates seeking a Ph.D. Applicants are required to demonstrate a commitment to interdisciplinary studies, including study of the physical and dynamical behavior of ocean systems. Applicants to the physical oceanography sequence are expected to hold an undergraduate degree in mathematics, physical science, or engineering. They also must have completed two years of calculus (through differential equations) and one year each of physics and chemistry. Applicants in biological oceanography are expected to hold an undergraduate degree in one of the biological sciences and have successfully completed courses (one year each) in calculus, physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry. Applicants in chemical oceanography are expected to hold an undergraduate degree in chemistry and have successfully completed courses (one year each) in calculus, physics, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.
The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 72 credits of work beyond the bachelor's degree, including a minimum of 42 credits of Ph.D. thesis research. Qualifying examinations for the doctorate include written and oral components. A typical program of course work includes graduate-level courses within the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and related courses offered by other graduate programs, such as ecology and evolution, environmental sciences, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and atmospheric sciences.
Research opportunities are available in a range of marine and coastal topics, including applied genetics and evolution, biogeochemistry, bottom boundary-layer studies, coastal processes, community ecology, ecosystem-level studies, larval transport and recruitment, marine genetics, nutrient cycling, observing systems and operational oceanography, ocean modeling, physical oceanography, population biology, remote sensing, systematics, fish biology, and fisheries oceanography.
A state-of-the-art research building on the Cook College campus includes a seawater flume, morphometrics, molecular biology, remote-sensing, and ocean modeling laboratories. Institute faculty and students have access to novel ocean observing system facilities including a satellite receiving station, a regional set of high-frequency coastal radars, and a growing fleet of gliders and autonomous vehicles. The institute's resources also include a network of small, medium, and large computer platforms with approximately 250 PC and AppleMac Systems, 40 UNIX-based workstations, one 7-node parallel computing cluster, three multiprocessor parallel computing platforms, over 4-terabytes of local disk storage and on site web/mail hosting.
In addition to the central campus in New Brunswick/Piscataway, research opportunities are provided at three field stations. The Rutgers University Marine Field Station, located at the northern entrance to Great Bay, is the site of a large tract of pristine marsh and a major estuary that retains most of its natural characteristics. An extensive program of long-term oceanographic and ecosystem research is underway at the station. An extensive program of long-term oceanographic and ecosystem research is under way at the stations. A long-term ecosystem observing system is being established on the mid-Atlantic Bight continental shelf in conjunction with New York Bight National Undersea Research Center. One of these sites (LEO-15) is connected to the Marine Field Station by electric/fiber optic cable, providing power and two-way communications with a variety of in situ sensors.
The Rutgers University Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, located on Delaware Bay, has small boats and docking facilities. Research areas include microbiology, histopathology, shell structure, shellfish physiology, shellfish pathophysiology, analytical chemistry, cytogenetics, and biochemistry/physiology. Rutgers University Pineland Research Station, in Lebanon State Forest, is located near New Lisbon in the Pinelands National Reserve. It provides ready access to a diversity of upland and wetland habitats.