Marine and Environmental Sciences, PhD

The PhD in Marine and Environmental Sciences (MES) program provides students with advanced course work and training in the concentration areas of Marine Sciences, Geosciences, Sustainability Sciences, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, MES program completion requires 30 semester hours of graduate-level course work, of which 20 semester hours must carry a letter grade. All entering students must take a statistics course. This requirement may be waived for students who have taken a graduate level statistics course pending approval by the department's graduate committee. The remaining 10 semester hours must consist of two semesters of concentration seminars (one in the student's concentration and another of their choice), doctoral research, and approved graduate courses. Planned course work must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee.

Students must pass three examinations during the course of their graduate studies:

  1. An oral examination by the student’s dissertation committee consisting of an oral presentation.
  2. A proposal defense presented to the student's dissertation committee that explains the research areas that the student proposes to work in.
  3. A defense of the student's written dissertation consisting of a public seminar, public question-and-answer period, and private defense of their work to their dissertation committee. Dissertation committees consist of at least four Northeastern faculty and one external faculty member.

A cumulative GPA of 3.000 is required for graduation. All PhD students are required to have at least one first-authored publication submitted to or accepted in a peer-reviewed journal prior to their defense. The PhD will be awarded following submission of a dissertation, approved by the candidate’s dissertation committee, to the College of Science.

Bachelor's Degree Entrance

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Milestones

Annual review
Dissertation committee
Qualifying examination
Dissertation proposal
Candidacy
First-author publication
Dissertation defense

Core Requirements

Readings
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:2
Readings
Research
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:8
Research

Concentration

Complete one of the following concentrations:

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Seminars
EEMB 7102Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology2
Complete one of the following:2
EEMB Seminar in Marine Sciences
(TBA)
Seminar in Sustainability Sciences
Seminar in Geosciences
Statistics
Complete one of the following:4
Biostatistics
and Lab for ENVR 6500
Experimental Design Marine Ecology
and Lab for EEMB 5522
Alternative statistics course as approved by graduate committee
Concentration Specific Electives
Complete 12 semester hours from the following: 12
Environmental Planning
Ancient Marine Life
and Lab for ENVR 5242
Geographical Information Systems
Marine Science Policy and Ethics
Ecological Dynamics
and Lab for EEMB 5130
Biology of Corals
Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Marine Birds and Mammals
and Lab for EEMB 5508
Tropical Terrestrial Ecology
Oceanography
and Lab for EEMB 5516
Ocean and Coastal Processes
Coral Reef Ecology
Marine Conservation Biology
Physiological and Molecular Marine Ecology
Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Botany
and Lab for EEMB 5534
Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Substitutions may be made with approval of graduate committee.

Sustainability Sciences

Seminars
EEMB 7103Seminar in Sustainability Sciences2
Complete one of the following:2
EEMB Seminar in Marine Sciences
(TBA)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Seminar in Geosciences
Statistics
ENVR 6500
and ENVR 6501
Biostatistics
and Lab for ENVR 6500
4
Alternative statistics course as approved by graduate committee
Concentration Specific Electives
Complete 12 semester hours from the following: 12
Advanced Topics in Environmental Geology
Geology and Land-Use Planning
Geographical Information Systems
Marine Science Policy and Ethics
Ecological Dynamics
and Lab for EEMB 5130
Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Oceanography
and Lab for EEMB 5516
Ocean and Coastal Processes
Marine Conservation Biology
Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Analyzing Complex Digitized Data
Dynamic Modeling for Environmental Decision Making
Introduction to Computational Statistics
Information Design and Visual Analytics
Resilient Cities
Quantitative Techniques
Social Networks
Substitutions may be made with approval of graduate committee.

Geosciences

Seminars
EEMB 7104Seminar in Geosciences2
Complete one of the following:2
EEMB Seminar in Marine Sciences
(TBA)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Seminar in Sustainability Sciences
Statistics
Complete one of the following:4
Biostatistics
and Lab for ENVR 6500
Experimental Design Marine Ecology
and Lab for EEMB 5522
Alternative statistics course as approved by graduate committee
Concentration Specific Electives
Complete 12 semester hours from the following:12
Advanced Topics in Environmental Geology
Soil Science
Environmental Planning
Structural Geology
and Lab for ENVR 5230
Sedimentary Basin Analysis
and Lab for ENVR 5240
Ancient Marine Life
and Lab for ENVR 5242
Geology and Land-Use Planning
Geographical Information Systems
Glacial and Quaternary History
and Lab for ENVR 5270
Ocean and Coastal Processes
Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Substitutions may be made with approval of graduate committee.

Marine Sciences

Seminars
EEMB Seminar in Marine Sciences (TBA)2
Complete one of the following:2
Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Seminar in Sustainability Sciences
Seminar in Geosciences
Statistics
Complete one of the following:4
Biostatistics
and Lab for ENVR 6500
Experimental Design Marine Ecology
and Lab for EEMB 5522
Alternative statistics course as approved by graduate committee
Concentration Specific Electives
Complete 12 semester hours from the following:12
Ancient Marine Life
and Lab for ENVR 5242
Geographical Information Systems
Glacial and Quaternary History
and Lab for ENVR 5270
Marine Science Policy and Ethics
Ecological Dynamics
and Lab for EEMB 5130
Biology of Corals
Biology and Ecology of Fishes
Marine Birds and Mammals
and Lab for EEMB 5508
Oceanography
and Lab for EEMB 5516
Ocean and Coastal Processes
Coral Reef Ecology
Marine Conservation Biology
Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Botany
and Lab for EEMB 5534
Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Substitutions may be made with approval of graduate committee.

Dissertation

Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

30 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required