How To Apply to the Graduate Program

Applying to any graduate program is a big step and requires time and effort to make the best decision for your future. The first step is to accumulate as much information about a program and potential faculty (http://marinesciences.uconn.edu/research-how-to-apply) advisors as possible. We highly recommend you read about our faculty and contact members whose research closely align with your interests. Go to the library or ask potential advisors for copies of their recent research articles to see the types of work they are currently conducting. This is an important consideration, because by choosing an advisor you choose a research area.

  • Communicate with faculty by email or phone, let them know you are interested in their research and ask if they have room available for a new student.
  • Give them a short history of your education, research interests, and career goals. You may also wish to attach transcripts or a resume or CV in an email.
  • If possible, schedule a visit to the campus, talk to faculty and students about the graduate program, and tour the facilities. In cases where visits are impractical, Skype calls can be arranged.  Since we typically do not accept applicants who have not identified a potential advisor or a particular research interest, this phase is exceedingly important in the application process.

Department Application Deadlines

January 10 for fall semester entry and October 1 for spring semester entry (submission prior to these dates is strongly encouraged).

Application steps for graduate studies in Oceanography

Graduate School requirements must be met before applicants can be offered admission. Information about the requirements can be found on this page: http://grad.uconn.edu/admissions/To begin the application process, please visit: http://grad.uconn.edu/admissions/apply-to-uconn/.

Applicants are expected to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering field, or a bachelor’s degree and a background including at least one year of college-level physics, biology, and chemistry as well as math through calculus, with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the combined science courses. Admission is very competitive and successful applicants to Marine Sciences typically have GPAs considerably higher than the minimum, usually greater than 3.5 in the last four academic semesters.

Students are accepted to the program based on merit and available funding. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. The scores of accepted students over the last two years have averaged 157 for verbal reasoning, 155 for quantitative reasoning and 4.5 on the written portion. International applicants must have a minimum overall TOEFL score of 550 for the paper-based test or 79 for the internet-based test. Scores below these thresholds will be considered in the context of the overall application package.

In addition to all Graduate School required documents, the Department of Marine Sciences also requires a personal statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. A resume or CV is helpful, but optional.

Personal statement of purposeis a very important component of the application. The essay (2 pages) should clearly identify your interests, explain why you are pursuing a graduate degree, and why you feel UConn’s Oceanography field of study is best suited for pursuit of your career goals. Make certain you target your essay to appropriate faculty members with whom you are interested in working. Your essay should also highlight your motivation for doing graduate work, any relevant training or professional and research experiences you have had, and academic honors, scholarships, etc. The objective is to provide as complete a picture of you as an individual as possible, including and stressing information that goes beyond just numbers and scores. Detailed and well thought-out comments are much more valuable than vague generalizations.

Three letters of recommendation recommenders should be selected carefully. When possible, have at least one letter from someone who has seen you work in a field or laboratory research atmosphere (e.g., an advisor for an undergraduate research project). Individuals providing a letter of reference should provide candid evaluations of your scientific aptitude, training, motivation, teaching talent, and ability to express yourself orally and in technical writing.

Graduate Record Examination scoresare required for admission consideration to the Department of Marine Sciences. High GRE scores can compensate for modest grades. However, a poor result on the GRE does not necessarily jeopardize your chances if the rest of your file is strong. Individuals reviewing the file realize that everyone can ‘have a bad day’. Applicants with a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 315+ with a writing score of 4.5+ tend to be most competitive for department-supported teaching and research assistantships.