Frequently Asked Questions

Question:   Are there pre-requisite requirements for applying to a degree program at CMS?

Answer:   Students who have earned an undergraduate degree in biology, geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering are likely to have a good foundation for our graduate program, although there are other undergraduate majors might be suitable.

In summary our prerequisite courses are:

  • 2 semesters each of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, and Calculus
  • 15-18 credit hours of upper level coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, or Physics
  • 2 semesters of Statistics preferred for the MRA concentration

All students considering applying to a graduate program in Marine Science/Oceanography should take the following general courses as an undergraduate:

Courses Examples (+Semester Credits)
2 Semesters of Biology Fundamentals of Biology (3 cr) and
  Fundamentals of Botany (3 cr) or
  Fundamentals of Zoology (3 cr)
2 Semesters of Chemistry General Chemistry I + Lab (3 + 1 cr)
  General Chemistry II + Lab (3 + 1 cr)
2 Semesters of Physics General Physics I + Lab (3 + 1 cr)
  General Physics II + Lab (3 + 1 cr)
2 Semesters of Geology Physical Geology (3 cr)
  Earth History
2 Semesters of Calculus Elementary Calculus I (3 cr)
  Elementary Calculus II (3 cr)

In addition to the general courses, students should take 15-18 credit hours of the following specialization courses in one of the basic sciences list below:

Biology Chemistry Geology Physics
       
Genetics Cell Biology Intro Inorg Chem Elem Invert Paleontol Modern Physics
Principle of Ecology Animal Anal Chem Struct Geol Intermediate Physics Lab
Physiology Organic Chemistry Organ Chem I Depos Syst Advanced Physics Lab
Fund of Botany Org Chem ILab Marine Geol Mechanics I & II
Mycology Marine Org Chem II Lab Mineralogy Electricity & Magnetism I & II
Botany Intro to Micro Elem Phys Chem I Sedimentol Quantum Mechanics
App & Envir Micro Elem Phys Chem II Geochemistry Physics Seminar
Comp Vert Anatomy Intro Biochem Strat/Pet Geol Undergraduate Research
Invert Zoology Intro Biochem Lab Surficial Geol Calculus III
Mar Animal Ecol Meth Chem Inves Economic Geol Differential Equations
Icthyology Biomolecules Petrology  
Biol of the Echin Adv Inorg Chem Anal Tech Geol  
  Radiochem Geomorphology  
  Instrum Analytics Geophysics  

Question:   What if I am missing a pre-requisite requirement?

Answer:   To be competitive as an applicant and being capable to handle the course work, it is important to have your prerequisites in place. However, students who lack certain prerequisites should discuss their background with their potential major professor in order to determine suitability for the program and how to best address any shortfalls for the program.

Question:   What concentrations and areas of research are available for the MS and PhD programs?

Answer:   Our program offers coursework in five concentrations: (Can we make these links to the concentration pages?) Biological Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Geological Oceanography, Physical Oceanography, and Marine Resource Assessment. In addition to these traditional research areas, increasing numbers of interdisciplinary projects are rapidly evolving.

To learn more about research in these areas please visit the following link:

https://www.marine.usf.edu/research

Question:   How many applications do you receive, and what are the acceptance rates?

Answer:   Typically we receive over 100 applications and make formal offers to approximately 30 students in an academic year (i.e., a 30% acceptance rate). This rate depends on annual funding opportunities and lab space availability.

Question:   Are there minimum requirements to apply?

Answer:    To be the most competitive, the following should requirements should be met:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university (preferable majors include biology, chemistry, geology, physics, or math). Master's degree in one of the above sciences is highly preferable for Ph.D. applicants.
  • Have earned a "B" (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) average or better in all work attempted while registered as an upper division student working for a baccalaureate degree. (Having these scores does not guarantee admission to our program.)
  • Have completed all of the coursework listed on the Undergraduate Preparation
  • Have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within 5 years preceding application.
    • Minimum scores generally considered acceptable by the college are:
      • Current minimum preferred scores:Old scale: Verbal=500, Quantitative=600
      • Revised scale: Verbal=153, Quantitative=148
    • MRA concentration minimum preferred scores:
      • Old scale: Verbal=550 and Quantitative=700
      • Revised scale: Verbal=156, Quantitative=155
    • Have the commitment of a Marine Science faculty member to serve as advisor during the student's graduate studies [this will be determined after your complete application is received and reviewed by the admissions committee and your potential advisor(s)].

Question:   What are the most important factors in selecting students for acceptance to CMS?

Answer:   Although there are preferred minimum GPA and GRE scores that hold considerable weight in decision making, the Admissions Committee and CMS Faculty review each application holistically. This holistic review includes the student’s academic scores and record, as well as the student’s scientific interests, research experience, recommendation letters, and a well-developed and succinct research essay.

Question:   What is the USF code for the GRE or TOEFL scores?

Answer:   The ETS code for USF is 5828

Question:   Where should I mail my official transcript?

Answer:   Mail all transcripts to:

Office of Admissions

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, SVC 1036

Tampa, FL 33620, USA

Question:   Who should I ask to submit letters of recommendation?

Answer:   You should ask for letters from faculty or employers who can speak to your potential and ability to perform well as a graduate research student.

Question:   Is there a form for recommendation letters?

Answer:   No, there is no formal form for letters. However, CMS does require this template to be used for the research interest essay.

Question:   When are application decisions made?

Answer:   The admissions committee reviews all complete applications after the posted deadlines. Fall decisions are typically made during February through April. Spring application decisions are typically made in October and November. Denied applicants will receive notification by email directly from the Office of Graduate Studies. Accepted applicants will receive notification in the physical mail as well as email from the University and CMS.

Question:   Do I have to be accepted by a faculty advisor to be admitted to CMS?

Answer:   Yes. You must have a commitment of a Marine Science faculty member to serve as your major professor during your graduate studies.

Question:   How do I find a faculty advisor?

Answer:   Each student in our program must have one of our CMS faculty members serve as their major professor, advising them through their research-based thesis or dissertation. We encourage all prospective students to visit our faculty web pages and make direct contact with any of our faculty who may be doing research of particular interest to them. Please list all of the faculty members that you are interested in on your Research Interest Essay. All applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee after the deadline to determine admissibility and to match student's interests with available professors. Making direct contact (phone/email/skype) with faculty members of interest is encouraged. Ultimately, admission into our program depends not only upon the competiveness of a student’s application, but also upon the ability of an individual faculty member to serve as a major professor, which depends on their time, space and financial resources.

Question:   Do I have to be accepted by a faculty advisor to be admitted to CMS?

Answer:   Yes. You must have a commitment of a Marine Science faculty member to serve as advisor during your graduate studies [this will be determined after your complete application is received and reviewed by the admissions committee].

Question:    Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Answer:   We are here to help you. If you have any questions please contact us:

Email: marinescience@usf.edu

 

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