Graduate Program Admissions

We recruit graduate students from our region, across our nation and around the world. We are committed to maintaining a diverse and highly qualified graduate student population and enabling their success. Our program is a mentored one in which students work closely with their faculty advisors as apprentices. This is demanding of our faculty members’ time, but upon graduation our students are fully prepared for a successful entry into our field. For questions regarding the application process, please visit our FAQ page or email

Who is Welcome at CMS?

We welcome anyone who has a passion for the oceans and for science, who values different perspectives, and who cherishes the opportunity to think critically and promote dialogue about the knowledge we create and disseminate. Regardless of what you look like, what you believe, or where you come from, we want to include you in our college if this description fits you.

Important Deadlines

Fall Admissions Priority Deadline: January 10th

Fall Admissions Final Deadline: January 15th

Spring Admissions Final Deadline: October 1st  

International Student Fall Admissions Deadline: January 2nd

International Student Spring Admissions Deadline: June 1st

How to Apply

The following materials must be received by the final deadline in order for the application to be considered complete. For the best opportunity to receive funding from the College, please apply by the Priority Deadline.

Submit Online Application

Complete the Online Application ( There is a $30.00 application fee required. The fee must be paid before your application can be seen by the Admissions Committee. A fee waiver may be requested if you qualify by being part of one of the programs listed on the fee waiver request form ( ). Please email the waiver form directly to, if you qualify. Please note that the College of Marine Science is part of USF Tampa and not part of USF St. Petersburg even though we are located in St. Petersburg. You must select the Tampa campus for apply for our degree programs.

Research Interest Essay

Use this linked MS Word template to create your essay and upload it in the “Essay” section of the Admissions Application.

Resume or CV

Upload your most current resume or CV in the “Resume” section of the Admissions Application


Unofficial transcripts from all institutions of higher learning that you attended must be uploaded in your Admissions Application. Once you have been admitted to the College, you will need to send your final, official transcripts to the Office of Admissions before registering for classes. If you have attended USF as a degree-seeking student, you do not have to submit your USF transcript.

Mail all transcripts to:

Office of Admissions

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, SVC 1036

Tampa, FL 33620, USA 

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to provide three letters of recommendation as part of the admissions application. The applicant will be asked to enter in the contact information of each recommender as part of the Admissions Application. Each recommender will receive an email with a link to the recommendation upload site. At this site, the recommender can then type in the recommendation letter or attached a .doc or .pdf file. Alternatively, recommendation letters can also be emailed directly to The letters should address the “Admissions Committee.” It is preferred to have letters printed on university or company letterhead in .pdf format, attached and email from a professional email address if applicable.

Graduate Record Exam Scores (GRE-verbal/quantitative)

The GRE is a standardized test that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills that are not related to any specific field of study. Contact ETS at to find a testing location and have your scores sent electronically from ETS to USF. The institution code for USF is 5828. The competitive minimum scores are as follows:

Verbal = 153 and Quantitative = 148. For the MRA concentration the minimum preferred scores are Verbal = 156 and Quantitative = 155.

TOEFL exam scores (For non-native English speakers)

Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States mist also submit TOEFL scores earned within two years of the desired term of entry. A minimum total score of 79 in the internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 550 on the paper-based test are required. Applications submitted with TOEFL scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied with no exceptions. Contact ETS at to find a testing location and have your scores sent electronically from ETS to USF. The institution code for USF is 5828. The TOEFL requirement may be waived if the applicant meets one of the following conditions:

  • Has scored 153 or higher on the GRE verbal test
  • Has earned a college degree at a U.S. institution of higher learning
  • Has earned a college degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English (must be noted on the transcript)
  • Has scored a 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

International Applicants                 

Upload the Financial Support Requirements Form to the online application. This form is available on the Admissions Application. You may also visit the USF Graduate Admissions website for more helpful information for international applicants. All international transcripts must be in English; it is the applicant’s responsibility to have foreign transcripts translated and evaluated before submitting them as part of their graduate application. Please visit the Foreign Transcript Evaluations Services Listing of evaluators.

Visiting the College of Marine Science                      

Please contact to schedule a visit to the College of Marine Science. General admissions advising can take place as well as a tour of the College and the adjacent USF St. Petersburg campus. Please note that the tours do not include visits to the laboratories or meetings with individual faculty members. These meetings should be set-up by directly contacting the faculty member of interest.

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