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Marine Science

College or University: University of Southern Mississippi

Type of degree: Ph.D.

Brief overview of program: The Department of Marine Science (DMS) offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in the fields of marine science and hydrographic science. The primary facilities of the DMS are located at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), approximately 75 miles south of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) main campus in Hattiesburg, MS. SSC is on the Mississippi-Louisiana border near the coast and is the site of a variety of federal, state and commercial research agencies. SSC is one of the nation’s largest rocket engine testing facilities and is also home to a variety of federal marine and environmental operations including the Naval Oceanographic Office, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program and Office of Pesticide Programs, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Data Buoy Center, National Coastal Data Development Center, and National Marine Fisheries Service. The proximity of DMS to these programs enriches the curriculum and research programs at DMS and has often provided employment opportunities for graduates. Students at DMS enjoy all the rights and privileges accorded to their counterparts on the main campus. This includes the use of libraries and computer centers, low-price admission to sporting and theater events, and other such common student services. The Department of Marine Science is part of USM's College of Science and Technology. The marine sciences are represented within the college by faculty and staff members from the Department of Marine Science; the Department of Coastal Sciences, located at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and J.L. Scott Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs; and the Department of Biological Sciences in Hattiesburg. DMS faculty also interact with other USM faculty in the College of Science and Technology on the main Hattiesburg campus.

Website: Click here for program website

Number of students enrolled in 2007: 12

For the students that enter the workforce, what are the most common occupations that they pursue with this degree or certificate? -Research positions with government or private agencies -Faculty positions in academic programs -Management and leadership positions in various government and private agencies

Description of Facilities: All DMS graduate courses are taught at USM's Stennis Space Center facilities. Additional information can be found at

Program Faculty: Dr. Vernon Asper (Geological oceanography; marine particle fluxes; marine technology) Dr. Charlotte Brunner (Geological oceanography; biostratigraphy; paleoceanography; taphonomy of foraminifers) Dr. Jerald Caruthers (Acoustical oceanography; acoustical scattering; ocean acoustic tomography) Dr. David Dodd (Coordinator of the Hydrographic Science Program; real-time kinematic global position systems; marine surveying and navigation) Dr. Laodong Guo (Marine chemistry; biogeochemical cycling of natural organic carbon and nutrients in aquatic systems; aquatic colloids/nanoparticles and their role in governing the fate/transport/bioavailability of chemical species; isotope geochemistry) Dr. Stephan D. Howden (Physical oceanography & hydrographic science; coastal circulation processes; remote sensing) Dr. Vladimir Kamenkovich (Physical oceanography; ocean circulation) Dr. Steven Lohrenz (Biological oceanography; marine bio-optics; remote sensing; carbon and nutrient cycling in marine ecosystems) Mr. Charles Meador (Hydrographic and nautical science; undergraduate education) Dr. Scott Milroy (Ecosystem modeling; dynamics of harmful algal blooms; undergraduate education) Dr. Dmitri Nechaev (Physical oceanography; data assimilation into numerical ocean models) Dr. Karen Orcutt (Biological Oceanography; phytoplankton molecular ecology, nanostructured probes, marine nitrogen fixation) Dr. Don Redalje (Biological oceanography; marine phytoplankton ecology; physiology; bio-optics; primary production; taxonomy) Dr. Alan Shiller (Aquatic biogeochemistry & chemical oceanography; trace elements in natural waters; marine and estuarine chemistry; geochemistry of rivers and weathering) Dr. David Wells (Hydrographic science; multibeam echo sounding; mapping and surveying, global positioning systems) Dr. Jerry Wiggert (Large scale ocean and ecosystem modeling; coupled physical-biological modeling; high performance computing) Dr. Kevin Yeager (Geological oceanography: sediment sourcing and transport dynamics in rivers, lakes, estuaries and the ocean; human impacts on surficial processes; fates and impacts of terrestrial and aquatic contaminants)

Student Support: Most marine science graduate students are supported on teaching or research assistantships and must be enrolled for 9 to 13 hours to be considered full-time students; assistantships include a full tuition waiver. Students not on an assistantship pay a tuition of $2,297* per semester. Non-resident full-time students pay an additional out-of-state tuition fee of $3,014* per semester; the non-resident fee is also waived for students on an assistantship. *The University reserves the right to increase or modify tuition charges without prior notice, but with approval of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

Program Point of Contact: Dr. Steven Lohrenz


Department: Marine Science

Institution address: The University of Southern Mississippi 1020 Balch Blvd.
                             Stennis Space Center,MS 39529

Phone: 228-688-3177


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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .