Georgia Tech launches Ph.D. in ocean science and engineering

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ocean Science and Engineering webpage screenshot

By Maureen Rouhi, College of Sciences

Georgia Tech now offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in ocean science and engineering.

The new program aims to train ocean scientists and engineers by combining basic and applied sciences with innovative ocean technologies. Students in the program will participate in interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of the physical, biological, chemical, and human dimensions of ocean systems.

A partnership of the College of Sciences and the College of Engineering, the program involves faculty from the Schools of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“The greatest challenges in research result from the growing complexity, interconnectedness, and linkages of phenomena, which cannot be addressed within traditional disciplinary boundaries. This applies especially to the ocean — the largest environmental resource on Earth,” said Annalisa Bracco, the program’s co-director and a professor in EAS. “Chemical, biological, and physical processes in ocean cannot be viewed in isolation.”

Kevin HaasDonald Webster
Kevin Haas, left, and Donald Webster are among the faculty members from across Georgia Tech who've collaboated to create a new Ph.D. program in ocean science and engineering. The program is accepting applications before Dec. 8, 2016, for its inaugural class.

What’s needed, she said, is an integrated approach to interpreting scientific data and developing effective solutions to immediate problems, such as loss of coral reefs, and their long-term consequences, such as loss of biodiversity.

“Georgia Tech is one of a very few institutions with the engineering and scientific prowess and the interdisciplinary culture to effectively address these critical challenges,” said program director and EAS Professor Emanuele Di Lorenzo.

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Kevin Haas said the program brings together for the first time the large number of researchers focused on ocean studies but scattered across Georgia Tech academic units.

“We will be able to take a more holistic approach,” he said, “through collaborations between scientists and engineers to address issues such as ecological impacts of global climate change and develop engineering solutions to adapt to or mitigate these impacts.”

Haas and Associate Chair Donald Webster serve on the program's leadership committee.

The ocean science and engineering program seeks students with interest and curiosity in the program’s themes: ocean technology, ocean sustainability, ocean and climate, marine living resources, and coastal ocean systems.

“Our goal is to develop a pipeline of in-demand ocean experts for industry, government, and academia,” Di Lorenzo said.

Graduate programs in ocean sciences and engineering are not new; however, Georgia Tech’s approach is unique in combining basic and applied research in one degree offering.

“We aim to find solutions to ocean-related problems by integrating science and engineering. This is a fundamental challenge that is not addressed by competing programs,” Di Lorenzo said.

The inaugural class of OSE students will enroll in fall 2017. Applications are due Dec. 8, 2016.


For more information, about the program contact:

Emanuele Di Lorenzo, edl@gatech.edu

Annalisa Bracco, abracco@gatech.edu

Hollie Meyer, hollie.meyer@eas.gatech.edu