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Master's in Physical Ocean Science and Engineering

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Entry level Bachelor

Students in the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering (POSE) Program apply basic physical principals in their research in coastal physical oceanography, ocean acoustics, nearshore processes, environmental fluid dynamics, estuarine dynamics, and ocean engineering. Two degree plans are offered. The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Studies are offered through the College Earth, Ocean, & Environment. The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Ocean Engineering are offered through a cross-disciplinary program operated jointly by the CEOE and the College of Engineering. (See the Ocean Engineering section in the College of Engineering for specific degree).

This multidisciplinary academic program provides students with broad knowledge in physical oceanography as well as opportunities to focus on desired areas of expertise. The program is particularly appropriate for students with physics, mathematics, or engineering backgrounds.

Structural components
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

Application Procedures and Requirements for Admission

Application Deadline: The University permits each program to establish its application deadline. Applicants should refer to the information given in the academic department segment of this catalog and/or check with the department to which they are applying for specific application deadlines and for other specific admission requirements. Applicants can reference the general Applicant Deadlines web page at: The University deadlines for application to a graduate degree program if not specified otherwise by a program is July 1 for fall semester, December 1 for spring semester, and April 1 for summer session.

On-line applications are required and may be accessed at All applicant related documents should be uploaded into the online graduate application. Completion of the on-line graduate application includes the following:

  1. A $75 nonrefundable application fee submitted with the application. Credit card payment is accepted. Checks must be made payable to the University of Delaware. Applications received without the application fee will not be processed. Foreign students must use a check drawn on a U.S. bank or an International Postal Money Order. See established application fee waiver categories at
  2. Applicants must list and upload unofficial transcripts of all post-high school academic work from all institutions attended. For institutions outside of the United States that issue transcripts in a foreign language, a course-by-course English translation must be uploaded along with the original language document. Refer to for additional information. The Office of Graduate and Professional Education verifies all transcript related documents. If any document is found to have been altered or falsified, the University reserves the right of expulsion.
  3. Applicants must submit a Personal Statement or answer specific questions or essays as part of the application; a Resume; also, some programs require Supplemental Information Forms. Refer to for more information about these forms.
  4. Most applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, but some programs require fewer. Please check the program’s web page.
  5. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) admission test scores are required by most departments and some departments also require subject test scores. Applicants for the Master of Business Administration or the Master of Science in Accounting program must submit their Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores. Applicants should refer to the information given in the academic department segment of this catalog for specific admission test score requirements in each department. Applicants should request Education Testing Services (ETS) to report official test scores directly to the University of Delaware. The University of Delaware’s institutional code for ETS is 5811. Applicants are encouraged to upload student copies of tests scores with the application. Applicants may self-report scores within the application.
  6. International student applicants must demonstrate a satisfactory level of proficiency in the English language if English is not the first language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is offered by the Educational Testing Service in test centers throughout the world. The University requires an official paper-based TOEFL score of at least 550 or at least 79 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) for an applicant to be considered for admission. The University expects a minimum score of 18 on the Internet-based Speaking Test. TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be validated or considered official. Some programs will accept the IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, that is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. A band score of 6.5 is expected by the University.
    • International students applying for a teaching assistantship must report a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 600 or at least 100 iBT with a speaking score of 20. TOEFL scores more than two years old cannot be validated and cannot be considered official. In addition, international students who are awarded teaching assistantships must attend a month-long training program held in late July and through the third week of August at the University of Delaware’s English Language Institute. Eligibility of the international student to be appointed as a teaching assistant is determined by the student’s TSE/SPEAK and UDIA (University of Delaware Instructional Assessment) scores at the conclusion of this session. The UDIA, a teaching test, supplements the TSE/SPEAK by assessing overall language, cultural, questioning, and basic teaching skills as the ITA (International Teaching Assistant) teaches to a group of students in their subject area. Students who do not achieve the appropriate scores may find that their funding in the department is terminated.
    • International students must be offered admission to the University and provide evidence of adequate financial resources before a student visa will be issued. The University has been authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. The University has more than 1000 international graduate students enrolled from more than 96 countries. International students are required to purchase the University-sponsored insurance plan or its equivalent.
  7. Application procedures for senior citizens are the same as for other applicants. The admission application fee and tuition fees will be waived for senior citizen students 60 years of age and older who meet the Delaware residency requirement when admitted to a graduate program. Senior citizens who desire to enroll in graduate courses but who do not seek a degree should contact Professional and Continuing Studies or the Academy of Lifelong Learning for registration information.
  8. It is a Delaware State Board of Health regulation and a University of Delaware mandate that all graduate students with a birth date after January 1, 1957, be immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Also, students may be required to provide evidence of PPD (Mantoux) Tuberculosis Screening Test within six months prior to beginning classes. Students are required to show proof of vaccination against meningococcal disease unless granted a waiver. Students should refer to and complete the Student Health Service Immunization Documentation form upon admission.

Grant opportunities

Application Procedures for Fellowships and Assistantships

Of the approximately 2,700 full-time graduate students, nearly 2,000 receive financial awards. Fellowships, tuition scholarships, assistantships, and internships are awarded on the basis of merit. Application for fellowship or assistantship awards is a part of the admission application form. U.S. applicants are strongly encouraged to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Applicants should apply by February 1st in most programs to be considered for financial awards. In some fields, funding from the University may be fully committed by March 15. Awarded financial aid is granted to full-time degree students with regular status who are in good academic standing. The award is valid for the term designated. Information on fellowships and assistantships may be obtained from the department to which the student is applying.

The application deadline for need-based financial assistance (FAFSA) is March 1. Refer to the Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships for details about the various kinds of financial assistance available through various lending agencies.

Learning outcomes

This multidisciplinary academic program is designed to give students a strong foundation in physical oceanography as well as opportunities to focus on their desired area of expertise and acquire state-of-the-art observing and modeling skills, while working closely with our Physical Ocean Science and Engineering (POSE) faculty.

Find details on degree options and requirements below.

Students in the POSE Program apply basic physical principles in their research in coastal physical oceanography, ocean acoustics, nearshore processes, environmental fluid dynamics, estuarine dynamics, high-latitude ocean dynamics, ocean instrumentation and engineering, boundary layer turbulence and air-sea interaction.

The program is particularly appropriate for students with physics, mathematics, or engineering backgrounds. The POSE program is committed to supplying exciting research opportunities, excellent facilities and a stimulating educational environment for students.

Students in the program pursue a master’s degree or a doctorate in marine studies with a concentration in POSE.


Requirements for Admission

The minimum requirements for admission to a graduate program for a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in Ocean Engineering are as follows: a Bachelor of Science in engineering, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (out of a possible 4.0), GRE scores (verbal and quantitative combined) of at least 308, and a TOEFL score (for international students) of at least 600 on the paper based TOEFL; 250 on computer based TOEFL; 100 on IBET TOEFL. The POSE graduate committee may increase these minimum requirements.

Students with bachelor’s degrees and exceptional academic backgrounds may be admitted directly into the PhD program. Students admitted into the MS program may petition to move into the PhD program before completing the MS

Students considering doctoral study must have completed all previous graduate studies with at least a 3.5 grade point average and have clearly demonstrated a capacity for independent work. If a MS thesis or other comprehensive work was written at another institution, a copy of the thesis will be provided to the advisor when the student enrolls at University of Delaware.

Students will be assigned an advisor upon admission to the Ocean Engineering program and will be enrolled in the academic unit that is the home of the advisor (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering or the POSE program in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment).

ISCED Categories

Physical and chemical oceanography